The Internet at the Speed of Thought

15 Real Life People Behind Your Favorite Internet Memes

at1:09 pm | By

Puts One Picture Online. Becomes Viral Meme.

Even if you don’t know what a meme is by name, you’ve seen the cleverly designed pictures with short phrases on them all around the internet, most likely on a daily basis.

Defined by Merriam-Webster as “an idea, behavior, or style that spreads from person to person within a culture,” memes are an internet phenomena that spread in popularity throughout the 2000s before rising to ubiquity in the past few years.

The gold standard of today’s pop culture, memes are everywhere, and we know the faces in them as well as our own friends. But how well do you know the stories behind these memes really?

internet memes ermahgerd

Source: Twitter @PelicanBomb

From Reddit to pure chance, start the slideshow below to learn some of the incredible true stories behind your favorite internet memes, and then SHARE the knowledge!


Success Kid

internet memes success kid 1

Source: Facebook/ Sam Griner

When proud mom Laney Griner uploaded a picture of her young son Sammy to Flickr back in 2007, she never expected her beach photoshoot to turn into a hugely popular meme.

Fame came with a price, however, as major companies like Xbox and Virgin Mobile UK soon wanted Sammy’s image for advertising campaigns. Mom Laney had to license the image to protect her son and their interests, and she was involved in at least one lawsuit against a company who used Sammy’s image unlawfully.

These days, Sammy is eight years old, and he recently used his internet fame on a GoFundMe to help raise money for a liver transplant for his dad Justin. Now that’s success.

Baby Godfather

internet memes baby godfather


Another baby to make internet fame, Baby Godfather – an image of a baby in a tuxedo usually paired with a threatening caption – is the son of Redditor timekeepsgoing, who first posted the image in 2012 and asked internet users to Photoshop the baby into scenes from The Godfather. Let’s just say it was an offer they couldn’t refuse.