PUT ON A HAPPY FACE :: The Best Joker Memes on the Internet

PUT ON A HAPPY FACE :: The Best Joker Memes on the Internet

By Andy Andersen

October 30, 2019

A movie can’t just be a movie in 2019. It needs a familiar angle, if not a direct relation to existing intellectual property. It needs a backstory of gossip, casting what-if’s, and production updates that can be mined for clickbait well before and after its release. And if a movie plans on surviving in the minds of the mainstream past the hours of its initial press cycle, it needs the Internet to meme the shit out of it.

Director Todd Phillips’s standalone version of Joker, a pseudo-Scorsesean retelling of the iconic DC villain’s origins starring Joaquin Phoenix, has had all of that in spades. Not only is it a major financial success, now the highest-grossing R-rated movie of all time, it was also thriving as a meme several months before it came out in the U.S.

For all the controversy surrounding the film in the immediate aftermath of its festival run, leading up to its October wide release — sprung from mounting concerns that the movie would inspire “incel” copycats and promote toxic masculinity, and further fueled by a Vanity Fair interview in which Phillips said he left comedy because it’s impossible to be funny in today’s “woke” cultureJoker may go down in history as the year’s most memed piece of entertainment.

You can always trust the Internet to breathe strange new life into a movie, TV show, or other pieces of filmed entertainment by untethering a line or image from its original context and repurposing it for the shared lolz. Take Pulp Fiction, which may end up being remembered as the source of Confused Travolta as much as it is for being Quentin Tarantino’s magnum opus. Or Baz Lehrman’s The Great Gatsby, which despite its initial success at the box office, has had virtually no legacy outside the enduring Leo toasting meme.

With one unexpectedly crazy news cycle and only a month in theatres under its belt, Joker has inspired a wealth of meme-ification almost instantaneously. Perhaps the early buzz around Joaquin Phoenix’s performance, combined with a slew of instantly memeable leaked set photos is to blame. Maybe the collective subconscious wanted to immortalize the Joker moment unfettered from the initial controversy and media backlash. Or perhaps a sea of memes is just the inevitable outcome of any big entertainment news story in 2019. In any case, almost all of the major trending Joker memes have been great.

So here are the 10 best and most memorable Joker memes currently taking over the Internet.

For Those Who Didn’t Catch the Reference

Pour one out for the poor bastard who decided to alert everyone to what might be one of the Joker’s most overt references to a past Joker — Heath Ledger’s Joker, that is — ‘cause it started a chain of memes that just gets funnier and funnier the longer it goes on.

Here’s the original, an earnest attempt to tip us all off to what might have been a passing reference to the iconic and equally memeable Christopher Nolan/Ledger Joker:

... then this happened:

The Dance of Freedom. The Death Bells. The Rising of the Joker.

The two loudest camps to emerge from the immediate phenomenon of Joker takes are probably those who malign the film as a violent edge lord fantasy and those who have called it a dark modern masterpiece (If you ask me, neither of these camps are seeing the movie for what it is — a provocative, problematic, and possibly above-average comic book movie that also functions, however unintentionally, as a Trump-era exploitation film). One tweet from the latter camp, in which the user describes the film’s now-infamous stair dancing sequence as a “sublime” moment in “cinematic history,” has led to a string of parody memes that, for now, are still popping off like gangbusters.

Dancing Queen

Speaking of that stair dancing scene, the film’s provocative choice of soundtrack for the sequence — “Rock and Roll Part 2,” a jock jam by convicted pedophile Gary Glitter — also got some flack, as you might imagine. So somebody decided to make light of the situation by subbing “Rock and Roll Part 2” out for another song ... and another, and another. Results vary, but so far, the joke hasn’t gotten old.

Running Joker

One of the earliest memes to emerge from the Joker phenomenon, the Running Joker derived from an early set photo released to the public back in November 2018, depicting Joaquin Phoenix running in full Joker attire while shooting a chase scene for the movie. There was something about Phoenix’s now-universally acclaimed take on the character that seemed to warrant immortalization on the Internet literally as it was being created:


Boy, that goddamn scene of Joker dancing down some stairs was destined for memery from the beginning. Following the release of a few promotional photos for Joker back in July, Twitter user @wikiesqueletos posted an edited version of a dancing, comically small Joker, which led to a series of memes utilizing mini-joker to mock the small victories of a day in the life of a child or family pet:

I have achieved C O M E D Y from dankmemes

Its time for pizza from memes

Guess again, pupper

Posted by Thicc Like A Memeshake on Friday, October 11, 2019

That last one, which offers a variation on the meme by scaling an elongated or regular-sized Joker next to Mini-Joker, is part of its own subset of popular Mini-Joker memes:

Damn wholesome and nothing less from wholesomememes

View this post on Instagram

Doggos are best

A post shared by boo👻imaghost (@oimaghost) on

Thanks dad from dankmemes

Mini-Joker even managed to bring the equally popular Mini-Keanu into the mix:

He’s just a kid from dankmemes

My dad is always happier from dankmemes

Joker Dancing in Random Locations

As the A.V. Club recently pointed out, it’s kind of a relief that the world seems to have adopted Joker’s triumphant dance down the stairs as meme fodder rather than a celebration of a toxic ideology, the “fullest expression” of which being an entire Twitter account dedicated to photoshopping Phoenix’s dancing Joker into hilarious locations:

That last one kills me. He’s so small. 

Joker and Peter Parker Dancing

Alright, we’re almost done with the dancing memes, I swear. But you can’t talk about dancing Joker memes without talking about the miracle that is Joker and Peter Parker dancing. ‘Cause I guess one shitty, moody fucking white guy from a comic book just wasn’t enough, the meme gods saw fit to bring the insufferable emo-Peter Parker from Spider-Man 3 into the mix.

gRoVin’ from dankmemes

the image of them both dancing makes me happy from dankmemes

About time from dankmemes

Joker Gets Hit by a Car

The first meme to take advantage of the Joker scene where the titular character gets nailed by a taxi cab came from the /r/Animemes subreddit:

Truck-kun’s thirst will never be quenched from Animemes

It didn’t take long for the simple two-panel meme to cover less-niche subjects and permeate the Joker meme-iverse.

Reality is hard to accept. from memes

Feels yeet man from memes

we live in a society from dankmemes

Joker Laughing Like Seth Rogen (and Others)

Equal parts hilarious and shockingly uncanny, this meme takes an already unsettling clip of Joker faking an awkward-as-shit laugh and infuses it with the American treasure that is Seth Rogen’s stoner chuckle.

In its infinite pooled wisdom (or idiocy, take your pick), the Twittersphere has brought a whole series of famously whack laughs into the Joker-meme fray:

Joker Dancing for Cialis

Sorry, it’s another dancing one, but I couldn’t let this list go without raising awareness of this brilliantly executed work, which really speaks for itself. Enjoy!


Andy Andersen