Keanu Reeves is an actor whose internet fame is almost unparalleled. From the now-classic photoshop jokes of Sad Keanu eating a sandwich on a park bench or putting on a bike helmet to the more recent memes stemming from his titular role as the guardian of the goodest boys in the John Wick saga and his Fortnite knockoff twin “John Wock,” the 54-year-old actor has proven to be a timeless Internet darling and a prolific subject of memes who just keeps on giving. And now, with the latest meme around Keanu’s role in the upcoming first-person role-playing game Cyberpunk 2077, we are about to witness the beginning of yet another new chapter in the actor’s illustrious meme rep sheet. In celebrating his living meme legacies, let’s take a stroll down the meme-ory lane of Keanu Reeves memes spanning over the last decade.
2009: Immortal Keanu / Vampire Keanu
Have you ever noticed how little Keanu Reeves has aged over the last three decades? On October 12th, 2009, The Panels on Pages user Gandicles launched Keanu Reeves’ meme career with some solid proof that the actor might be immortal (shown below).
2010: Sad Keanu & Sad Keanu in a Helmet
Alas, the gift of immortality is not without its burdens. In May 2010, celebrity gossip tabloid Splash News published a photograph of Keanu Reeves eating a sandwich alone on a park bench, which instantly became a photoshop parody sensation and turned the actor into a Millennial pop icon and one of the first meme celebrities to date. In July of the same year, another variation of Sad Keanu time, based on a photograph of Keanu putting on a bike helmet, with a bottle of juice in hands, enjoyed the spotlight.
2010: Happy Keanu & Tai Chi Keanu
Though hardly comparable to the popularity of Sad Keanu, other paparazzi photographs showing the actor’s chipper sides also turned up a couple of memes later that same year: The first, made in June 2010, captured the actor running with a camera and a happy smile on his face; the other one, made in October, caught Keanu Reeves in the middle of his Tai Chi practice.
2011: Conspiracy Keanu
As photoshop memes of Keanu continued to circulate and trend on Reddit’s /r/PhotoshopBattles and elsewhere at the turn of a new decade, the Advice Animals memes also began gaining a lot of traction. Cue Conspiracy Keanu, an image macro series based on a still image from the 1989 comedy film Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, which questions everything in search of the most dumbsmart truths possible.
2015 – 2018: Knock Knock & Buried Keanu
Fast forward to 2015. The Advice Animals memes have long since passed their peak. That year, erotic thriller film Knock Knock came out. The film became an instant hit among 4chan’s /tv/ shitposters, with quotes from the movie “It was free pizza!” and “Chocolate with sprinkles” flooding every other thread on the image board.
Some years later, another meme based on a still image of gagged and buried Keanu from the film would come back in aftershock.
2014 – 2019: John Wick Memes
In 2014, the first installment in the John Wick saga was released. In the following years, the film series brought Keanu Reeves back into the spotlight, both as an actor and a meme celebrity. First John Wick Reloading (to avenge all the doggos, duh) became a popular reaction image, then him shooting the baddies from a horse got memed. Finally John Wick abandoned guns altogether and started fighting the bad guys with pencils, toothpicks and other household items.
2018: John Wock (a.k.a Fortnite Man)
While Keanu Reeves had little to do with it, the John Wick-inspired Fortnite outfit The Reaper has been a staple of ironic shitposts since February 2018, going under such names as John Wock, Jon Wock, John Wok and the Fortnite Man. In May 2019, an actual John Wick-themed outfit was added to the game, adding even more fuel to that iFunny and /r/okbuddyretard fire.
2019: Lonely Keanu
It all really spiraled out of control after John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum came out on May 17th, 2019. The film was a resounding success, making related memes more popular than ever. Later that month, the actor admitted that “he was the lonely guy” and “didn’t have anyone in his life”. The entirety of Twitter promptly rallied to cheer up the actor.
2019: Keanu Walking in Slow Motion
On May 29th, 2019, Always Be My Maybe, a romantic comedy film starring the actor, hit the box office. Fueled by the previous day’s confessions of being a loner, Twitter went on to remix the heck out of the scene where Keanu Reeves’ character walks into the room, highlighting the natural charm of the actor by pairing it up with a variety of background music.
— keanu reeves walking to music (@keanuwtm) May 31, 2019
2019: Keanu Reeves Name Puns
On June 6th, 2019, Twitter user @imfrenchfried cracked a joke about Keanu Reeves’ name, similar to the field day Twitter had with Elon Musk’s name a few months prior. Keanu Reeves? Keanu Leaves. Keanu Wreaths. Conceives. Briefs. And so on.
2019: Cyberpunk 2077 Keanu Reeves
The final accord in this story (so far): Keanu Reeves’ totally unexpected appearance in the upcoming role-playing video game Cyberpunk 2077, revealed on June 9th, 2019. Not one, not two, but three meme formats have spawned from it within 24 hours – and who knows how many more there will be after the game reaches shelves in 2020.
2019 has been the year of Keanu, And we’re not even half way through.
2019: The Year of KEANU pic.twitter.com/Pv1mb1noD6
— Walt (@UberKryptonian) June 10, 2019