These 2020 Memes Will Make Life Feel A Little Bit Better

Esquire Editors, Tom Nicholson
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From Esquire

Weird as everything is at the moment, not all parts of life have stopped functioning completely in 2020.

For one thing, sports commentators are still commentating, albeit on races across zebra crossings and bathroom plughole unblockings rather than actual sport. And, for another, everyone being stuck at home means the memes are coming thick and fast.

We've already had one absolute standout thread of them in the form of Wash Your Lyrics – which made good use of the WHO's hand scrubbing guidance – and while we've yet to see many others coalesce into proper trends, there's still been some absolutely stellar content around to puncture that bubble of worry we're all in. Top job everyone.

Here are our favourites so far, which we'll be updating on a very, very regular basis. We're spending a lot of time vacantly scrolling through Twitter at the moment.

At the start of lockdown, we were all presented with the opportunity to sculpt a perfect body, learn a new language and develop new skills. The far, far majority of us decided to grow a moustache instead. No regrets.

It’s also presented us with more opportunity to explore the streets and green spaces of our local areas and, most importantly, fail to take even one ‘gram-worthy photo of our partners.

That’s not to say there aren’t people who have put their time to good use. We’re in awe of this man’s ginormous squawking Kookaburra bird. We’re also deeply terrified of it.

Other people made even better use of the early days of lockdown, like Dominic Cummings. He closely followed the government’s advice to ‘Stay Home’ by driving 260 miles to Durham.

When news broke that he had supposedly decided to test out his eyesight by driving to a local castle with his wife and child in tow, Twitter was far from convinced.

Despite all the controversy, Prime Minister Boris Johnson is so far sticking by his pal in true Brent-ian style.

But as the world continues to panic, there’s always good news to be found in the animal kingdom.

We're knee-deep in the stage of lockdown where the only way to make sense of what we're meant to do and not meant to do is by watching a TikTok tribute to that Daft Hands YouTube video from the internet's Iron Age.

All this sunshine's got us in a slightly ruminative mood. Oh, to be talked through the mechanics of one of those industrial toasters with a huge conveyor belt on it before deciding to just have Rice Krispies.

Some days we just stare out of the window thinking about heading back to the Fanta refill taps again and again and again and again.

We declared that there were only two "My plans/2020" memes worth knowing about in our last meme update. That was, however, premature of us. Two more extremely worthy examples have emerged. Firstly: honk honk.

Secondly: "Not a Wembley Stadium fan but this is class [clap emoji] [clap emoji] [cry-laugh emoji]".

We've finally nailed down the reason why the last couple of months have felt less than real. It's because we're trapped in LA Noire.

Actually this captures the general sense of farce and uncertainty quite well.

This one, though... print it out and hang it in the Tate. Magnificent.

Things are getting properly Doctor Who now. Not good Doctor Who either – late Eighties, Colin Baker Doctor Who. Maybe even that Doctor Who episode where Peter Kay played a big green blob that absorbed people.

At least some parts of lockdown life are becoming less weird and more infected by the cantankerous spirit we're all more comfortable with.

Alex Norris's comics are absolutely purpose-built for the current doom-laden climate. Oh no.

And Stephen Collins' are very, very good too.

Actually, as a treat, let's have another one of Alex Norris's. It's Tuesday. No doubt you're also growing a bit weary of those identical adverts where "these unprecedented times" are invoked with people on fake Zoom calls and references to things being important "now more than ever".

And this one is less a meme than a gif that's going to come in extremely handy in three weeks' time, when any semblance of neighbourly solidarity's finally evaporated. Actually, probably already quite handy if you've had to shop four or five households around you for pratting about doing a conga on VE Day.

Turns out Daniel Craig's appearance on Saturday Night Live was extremely prescient.

There are only two iterations of the "My plans/2020" meme which you need to know about, and one of them is this.

This is the other one. Two absolute screamers.

Meggie Foster's dramatisations of politicians' press conferences and beefs have been one of the big, big bonuses of this godforsaken stretch of barren cultural wasteland. Her Priti Patel as a gin-chugging smart-arse with a cig permanently being waved somewhere near her mouth is a high point, and her Emily Thornberry-Caroline Flint stand-off isn't far off it.

Those second-hand beefs are the only beefs anyone should really have the energy for right now.

A big gathering of morons who feel coronavirus would be better fought with a bit of good old-fashioned British liberty in Hyde Park gave us a stone-cold classic at the weekend.

Haven't got a witticism for this one. Unnecessary.

It's important to have open and honest conversations with your parents about TikTok. It might sound like fun, but it can easily turn into a nightmare. Just say no.

The updated lockdown rules and a change of messaging from the UK government – but only the English bit of it, fans of clear communication will be glad to note – have been met with a bit of a mixed reception.

At least England's citizens can get out and about for endless jogs now.

Then again, maybe there's a limit.

Whatever you end up doing to keep moving, mind you stay two metres away from any other runners, walkers, plankers, Popstars: The Rivals winners and revolving door pop industrial complexes.

The announcement of the (very broad) route away from full lockdown included one particularly squint-inducing graph which suggested that North Norfolk's finest dee-jock had pivoted to political comms.

In fact, the entire backroom staff from The Day Today might have been signed up.

The hot-or-not thermometer which shows at which Covid defcon we're currently at felt quite familiar too, come to think of it.

You see, the good thing about history is that it never repeats itself.

At least there was some good news from the government during Johnson's address.

"I recuperate from respiratory diseases in a racing car. Do you recuperate from respiratory diseases in a racing car?"

"I recuperate from respiratory diseases in a big bed with my wife."

There is a lot – a whole lot – to unpack in this single screenshot. Principally: why does ex-Germany and Spurs marksman Jurgen Klinsmann conduct Zoom calls in front of a mural of Daffy Duck and Bugs Bunny playing golf? Is that a child's room? Is it his own Looney Tunes bunker? Is he sheltering at Warner Bros studios?

There's also been a colossal Twitter barney about the ethics of getting your cleaner to come round your house and potentially expose themselves to a serious disease in return for money. Don't get involved. This is the only tweet you need.

A reminder that as hard as the last eight weeks have been, we can all take comfort in the fact that we're not Olly Murs' girlfriend.

If you're not sure why Olly Murs is now public enemy number two, don't try to find out. His sub-American Pie: The Wedding prankery absolutely must be stamped out immediately. At least some people are giving the situation the respect it deserves.

If there was one thing we didn't really need to be reminded of, it's the absolute worst bit of Hereditary, when the son sits in the car, not wanting to turn around and see what's happened. You're welcome!

The news has gone a bit doolally too. Obviously we all love Captain Tom Moore – he's raised more than £30 million for charity, fair enough – but we might have gone a teensy, tiny bit overboard on his 100th birthday. He was made an honorary member of the England cricket team and got promoted to colonel, which was nice, but the Great British public's tributes to him were of varying quality. (Many happy returns, etc.)

Not sure what he's meant to do with that. At least we know who the people want to deliver swift justice on their behalf now.

The days seem to bleed into one now, but there at least distinct movements to that one day.

At least we've got this nation's greatest living artist, Bob Mortimer, to chronicle the day-to-what-day-is-it of this strange time.

And with Boris Johnson out of the woods, epidemiologists hope his blood plasma can be used to create a vaccine thanks to its unusually high levels of 'will to live'.

We're seeing a lot of the various celebrities' houses, and some have graced us with their off-duty wardrobes too.

Now the defining image of the last couple of weeks. All the Zoom quizzes in the world won't quench that thirst for just one small night out.

The closest we've got to a mad one so far is this absolutely excellent remix of the BBC News theme, which seamlessly works in the vocals from Dua Lipa's 'Hallucinate' off her new album. (Which is an absolutely colossal set of bangers, we don't mind telling you.)

Thanks to Greg James and his Radio 1 show, this whole thing spiralled into Dua Lipa herself getting wind of it, and then BBC News, and then, finally, the loop closing when both Greg and Ben being interviewed on BBC News by everyone's favourite broadcast curmudgeon Simon McCoy. Speaking of the Beeb's crack news squadron, this recent promo vid featuring their beset and brightest was ripe for a rejigging.

God bless you, Guy Goma, wherever you are. This next supercut from Tash Demetriou, who you've seen in Stath Lets Flats and What We Do In The Shadows, is the extremely heavily digested version of our big GoldenEye watchalong with Pierce Brosnan. You can still watch the whole thing here if you like, or get the digested version with the 13 best anecdotes here.

What an absolute gent Pierce Brosnan is. Sorry to dump you back down to Earth again now.

You, like us, were probably shocked to hear that French football in Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 won't be resuming this season, robbing Europe's most competitive league of a climax.

Now something silly. That's just silly, Dan!!

Now over to Charles and Camilla and their Michael Gove-esque clapping effort.

Very useful one to bookmark for sarcastic use in the group chat, that. Speaking of world leaders who only have power because of their parents, Kim Jong Un's apparently been feeling a bit peaky. We go live to our DPRK correspendent, Dril.

The TikTok trend for miming along to The Leader of the Free World's press conferences is the only way to expose yourself to his latest bizarre message. Just for clarity's sake: do not inject bleach into your lungs.

Then again, maybe we're overreacting.

No, if you're going to listen to anyone during this crisis, make it a cartoon rendering of Joe Pesci.

A little perspective please, everyone. But not from you, Ryanair.

Meanwhile, the clapping has bent this nation's collective brain.

Props to our German friends: things have calmed down enough that football is preparing to return on 9 May in geisterspieler – that's 'ghost games', behind closed doors. Time to order a Union Berlin scarf.

Not sure if this is strictly coronavirus content, given it relies on the conceit of someone breaking into a house while everyone's out and about, but we'll give it the benefit of the doubt on account of it being a) the product of lockdown boredom and b) very, very, very good.

Animal Crossing has turned up at just the right time. Unexpectedly, so did Hollywood's Most Chill Man™.

What a good egg. Even those of us who spend roughly as much time into the void as we ever did are finding some positives now.

Next, the painful clarity of realising exactly where you've heard Donald Trump's coronavirus briefings before: the smoking area at 2am, out of the mouth of someone who won't take "I think my mates have gone back in" for an answer.

Then again, getting back into the club – even if it were open – might not give you any more answers. Mr Worldwide himself shared these bars. Inspiring? Not really. Shitposting? Impossible to tell. Indicator that Pitbull thinks coronavirus is some kind of hoax? You decide.

That World Cup 2010 advert where Wazza had to go into hiding after a rubbish display wasn't just a portent for England's travails in South Africa.

After Captain Tom Moore's £20 million fundraising spree, it turns out the the over-90s are this country's great untapped resource.

Obviously you'll drive yourself mad if you're lolling around on Twitter all day, but good news! The gourmet hot takes are about oil now.

And some slightly suspect 5k times.

At least people are bringing together their neighbourhoods and enriching each other's lives with the power of house bangers.

Introverts have been waiting for something like this to happen for years. How do you know someone reckons they're an introvert? They'll tell you about it, repeatedly.

Feel like pure shit just want pints back x

Happier times, Bob. Happier times.

Actually, speaking of Bob, he's passed on a few messages from Train Guy. He's holed up in his isolation inspiration station, sorting out deals with business partner Geoff Linton, putting ideas in the thought fridge to snack on later. (Copyright Mark ROFLo.)

Let's have a quick check-in with nature. The fish returned to Venice's canals, the goats have taken Llandudno, and now some of the natural world's rarest phenomena are more visible than ever.

Have you ever seen the Northern Lights? Before you go to bed tonight, look outside. You might just be surprised.

You might want to reconsider the motivation behind your flatmate's sudden interest in sourdough. Just check the cupboards.

The ducks are going to come out of this on top, you mark our words. Listen to them cackling. They know they're the winners here.

We might not be able to whisper our conclusions about Tiger King into each other's ears for some time yet, but until that day there are ways we can find community.

Obviously, it is good news that Boris Johnson's out of hospital. Leaving aside all of his, you know, career and opinions, it's good that he's feeling better. Not least because we can now meme with impunity.

Take comfort in the fact that the amount of money you might have saved from not going to the pub, any restaurants or on holiday for the last month will be more than made up for during the years-long Rumspringa you'll launch yourself into at the first sign of freedom.

As if BBC weather presenter Owain Wyn Evans wasn't busy enough with the weather, he's had to double up on the outro. Some lovely Metronomy-esque fills in there.

Meanwhile this news channel in Cleveland, USA, is simultaneously providing an invaluable service and finally putting the weatherman to good use.

Suddenly every single advert cups your face in its hands and mentions These Strange Times. Then it talks about hoovers.

These are incredibly trying times for a lot of people, but at least we have A-list celebrities to inspire us. They always know what to do.

Still, Jeff Goldblum had the good sense to give Gal Gadot’s singalong a miss. Fair play.

Needless to say, the summer of homemade sourdough will stay with us for a long, long time. You weren’t there, man.

Esquire’s own Deputy Style Editor Finlay Renwick here, with a tweet that will hit a little too close to home (detached, Tudor, darling wine cellar) for many a London journo.

Many of us are stuck inside with a housemate 24/7 right now, and somehow every single one of them is The Worst Person In The World.

Pouring one out to all the fits that will go un-flexed in the months ahead.

Choose your fighter: quarantine edition (bonus points for being the only TikTok we’ve ever laughed at. The sound effects really are a nice touch)

No dogs were harmed in the making of this tweet (at least we think. We didn’t check or anything).

Then there’s this complete dereliction of duty.

This is just beautiful. Free of people, wild species are returning to their natural habitats.

Great advice for anyone with a boyfriend and a USB microphone hanging about in the drawer, from Derry Girls actor Nicola Coughlan.

This family is being forced to reckon with isolation together, and they're mostly spending the time introducing an older family member to whatever it is the kids are doing these days.

Last summer's three-quarter cargo shorts were the first symptoms of Covid-19, it turns out. Should have seen it coming.

At least it's good to know that faceless multinational corporations have our back, and want to let us know that they've got exactly the product to make all this bearable.

Everyone's got extremely into Zoom and Houseparty lately – and doing relentless quizzes on it, which you could probably do with our tips on hosting – despite some murmurings about security and privacy. But where did those murmurs burble from? Only one person can crack a case this big.

Meanwhile, it's not just mere mortals who are having to adapt to the Friday night Zoom pub experience.

Now that the sheer novelty of being able to swap your Zoom background's fading, it's an arms race to get the best one.

Then again, this one's a strong contender.

In fact, there's a whole thread full of them here. Have a dig for yourself, obviously, but for us the standouts have to be the "This is fine" dog's flame-filled room and the final room in the spaceship from the finale of 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Or you could make an absolutely excellent GIF.

Meanwhile, British celeb Twitter and Instagram has been more than keeping its end up.

Rita mate, do you want to just back up a couple of ste–

Imagine popping to the shop to do your once-weekly shop and find that your local Spar's being managed by Matt Damon.

Maybe Damon could spend some time getting to know his white goods.

Some communities are taking this enforced isolation quite well.

Others less so.

Just as fish have returned to the canals of Venice, so the goats of the Great Orme, a country park on a headland that juts out from Llandudno on the North Wales coast, have returned to take back what's rightfully theirs. They want Llandudno, and they're taking it one delicious privet hedge at a time.

The goats arrived on Friday, and immediately set about destroying human civilisation.

So the police came around and broke it up, and the goats went back up the Great Orme. BUT THEN.

Emboldened by their success and showing complete disrespect to the North Wales constabulary, the goats returned. They started roaming the streets in gangs, as if daring the people of Llandudno to step outside their homes and defend their shrubbery.

That was on Saturday. Sunday was quiet in Llandudno. Maybe the goats had had their fun. Maybe Llandudno was coming out of the other end of its goat ordeal – a little bruised, a little shaken, but stronger for it. But then came Monday.

They're controlling the hedge racket in this town now. Capiche?

And Tuesday.

It's over now. The Goats are running things in Llandudno. They will likely have taken much of North Wales by the end of the week. After that? Who knows. Presumably they'll start to subvert political processes at a grassroots level next, gain control of a few councils, and aim to get their first MPs in place by 2030. We could be looking at a goat Prime Minister by the mid-2040s.

Dear God. At least people in other areas of the country are taking the proper precautions.

Perhaps too proper, in some cases.

There will only be two types of man after this is all over: very hairy men, and very badly home-shaved men.

Now we turn, as we must, with the government's latest announcement of the extreme measures it's going to take to try and keep the country fed during this time of panic-buying and pasta-hoarding.

Number 10 has launched an all-out media bombardment to get the message out there.

If you missed the origins of The Great Wembley Lasagne Saga, catch up here.

(Some bonus content: the man behind the WhatsApp voice note that went mad is 29-year-old Londoner Billy McLean, who works in software sales. He chucked it into a group of 30 of his mates from football on Thursday last week, and it went off its head.

"It was just a one take. I sent it to the football group, my mum and the girl that I’m trying to date," he told the Guardian. "It went around the football group. Then I got people that I know forwarding it to me, not knowing it was me, or forwarding it to me asking if I’d heard it. Ex-girlfriends were coming out of the woodwork asking was it me."

The FA told the Guardian that it's aware of the WhatsApp message, and that it doesn't have any plans to turn Wembley into a giant lasagne pan at the moment.)

Elsewhere, conscientious citizens are taking their duties seriously.

And the lockdown enforcement got an appropriately nu-metal soundtrack.

Without any of the usual architecture of the week, things are going a bit sideways.

Though some habits die hard.

Ken Barlow is the superhero we all need right now.

Liam Gallagher's done his own singalong hand-washing vids, and grown a gigantic Gimli beard in the process.

If you won't listen to Liam, listen to several very demonstrative Italian mayors.

Peter Serafinowicz's doddery businessman Brian Butterfield has some tech advice too.

As that tweet said, Shakespeare wrote King Lear during a quarantine. We may have already seen our own equivalent.

The self-isolation madness comes for us all, whatever your species.

We always knew Partick Thistle's David Shrigley-designed mascot was an omen of something.

After the fish in Venice and deer in Japan's cities, London's ecosystem is rebalancing too.

This is a journey we can all sympathise with.

Like aural butter.

Because it's not drinking alone if you're not drinking alone.

Harsh, but fair.

You already know how much we love Bob Mortimer's train guy.

Next, angling the mirror in the bathroom.

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Still not as bad as 'Imagine', obviously.


"Don't come the fuck in, fuck the fuck off"

Courtesy of the Compuglobalhypermeganet Simpsons Facebook fan page:

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Jonesing for a bowl of ram-don about now.

While singing 'Happy Birthday', of course.

Even an Off-White face mask?

And, courtesy of the Do You Not Know Who Eric Hitchmough Is? Facebook group:

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As David Brent once said: "It's been a washout, hasn't it."

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