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All The Memes, Moments And Mess We Were Obsessed With In 2022

This is the list for those of us who are chronically online.

It’s nearly impossible to chronicle all of the best memes and most memorable moments of the year in one year-end list. (Every year I say I’m going to start a Google doc to track them, but who has the time?)

But it is fun to recall some of the funniest, most viral clips on the internet. It’s a huge undertaking, so this year I enlisted several people in the newsroom to add their favorites. Instead of sifting through the hundreds of TikTok videos that I loved this year, I decided to broaden this list to include gossipy moments, unforgettable performances and other big trends. Many of these entries simply give us joy, while others were some of the most talked about moments in pop culture.

This is not an exhaustive list, but I guarantee you will have forgotten so many of these epic moments. Enjoy. — Erin E. Evans

Ray J vs. Bobby Valentino, part 2

The Verzuz between Ray J, Bobby Valentino, Pleasure P and Sammie was a hot mess with lots of bad vocals, a few good runs and plenty of braggadocio. It even birthed one of my favorite memes of the year. But it was this clip of Bobby V. and Ray J that took me over the edge in laughter. They were trying to harmonize, and well, just watch for yourself. — Erin E. Evans

Adam Levine’s “that body of yours is absurd” meme

I love a clownish asshat moment just blown up for the world to make fun of — and people got so creative with it. — Raj Punjabi

Michelle Williams’ beautiful speech at the Gotham Awards

Long live Jen Lindley and Grams! — Evans

Speaking of Michelle Williams…

This cold open was the funniest moment on TV all year, solidifying why Sheryl Lee Ralph won that Emmy. — Evans

Brittney Griner’s release

We did not think it could happen in 2022, but guess who came through? Joe Biden a little, but Black women a lot. — Punjabi

‘Don’t Worry Darling’ drama

This mess around this film was talked about so much that we put together a comprehensive piece explaining the drama — and then decided we were too over it to keep updating. —Evans

Alex Toussaint #25 of Team Walton after winning the NBA All-Star Ruffles Celebrity Game MVP Trophy during the Ruffles NBA All-Star Celebrity Game on February 18, 2022, at Wolstein Center in Cleveland, Ohio.

Chris Schwegler/NBAE via Getty Images

For the third year in a row, Alex Toussaint was my top Peloton instructor. So when he won the MVP Award at the NBA celebrity All-Star Game, I was cheering like a personal friend had won. I met him this fall, and he’s just as charismatic as he is through my Peloton screen. After seeing his basketball skills, I desperately wanted him to be cast opposite Jack Harlow in the “White Men Can’t Jump” reboot. Apparently production has already wrapped on that, so here’s hoping a director or Hollywood casting agent is smart enough to snatch him up for a big TV/film debut in 2023. — Evans

The return of “Black Panther” also meant the return of fresh Winston Duke thirst. And people really let it loose this time. What them thighs do, fr fr? —Punjabi

“It’s a chicken salad!”

If you haven’t slightly hooked your index finger just below your nose and said “It’s a chicken salad” this year, you haven’t coped right. Cleveland, Ohio’s finest Nisha Godfrey gave us a viral gem with her simple, yet real ass video, and every single last brand who makes any form of chicken or salad needs to pay her stat. That’s marketing, baby, because she has the whole world trying to see what’s up with 81st Deli. Superior! — Taryn Finley

Xscape performs at the Soul Train Awards

Let’s just say the ladies of Xscape still got it. There’s been a lot of drama behind the scenes with the group in the past few years. But they pulled it together to put on a spectacular medley for fans at the Soul Train Awards in November. — Evans

Usher’s Tiny Desk performance

Watch this. No seriously. Watch the best damn Tiny Desk of the year for the fiftyleventh time. Usher Raymond gave us the smoothest, most captivating reminder in this nearly 25-minute performance that he remains the King of R&B. — Finley

Hilariously incompetent characters on TV

I could write a tome about who I think are two of the consistently messiest (and not coincidentally, the funniest) characters on TV: the hilariously incompetent principal Ava Coleman (Janelle James) on “Abbott Elementary,” and the hilariously incompetent assistant Kayla (Meg Stalter) on “Hacks.” Instead, I leave you with two examples of lines that live rent-free in my head. 1. Kayla defending her boss Jimmy (Paul W. Downs) this way: “He almost hit you in the head with a computer! I WISH HE WOULD, FUCKER!!!” 2. Ava revealing that, of course, she has a bidet in her gold-adorned private bathroom hidden in the teachers’ lounge: “If you’re wondering if I have a bidet: You bet I bi-do!” —Marina Fang

Queen Elizabeth died and Twitter riverdanced

There are few times when Twitter really comes together about something. But folks sure convened on the platform to celebrate the fact that Queen Elizabeth, one of the bonafide emblems of brutal colonialism, passed away. Black and brown Americans, along with people from other colonized countries, like Ireland and India, had a field day sharing everything from dance videos to the real questions — like, where are the blood diamonds? — Candice Frederick

The motivational speech we all needed

This is the most inspirational quote of the year, by far. — Evans

The slap heard ’round the world

For a good five months all we heard about (or could talk about) was the infamous Will Smith-Chris Rock slap at the Oscars. Smith slapped Rock on live television after the comedian made a joke about Jada’s shaved head — then he yelled from his seat to “Keep my wife’s name out of your fucking mouth!” twice. The actor went on to win an Oscar for his performance in “King Richard,” but he did quite a bit of damage to his image in the process. The backlash was swift with Smith quickly banned from attending the Oscars for 10 years and many speaking out against the violent incident. Rock has yet to accept any of Smith’s apologies and has mostly responded through jokes at his stand-up shows. Could 2023 bring reconciliation? We’ll have to wait and see. — Cambria Roth

Tracee Ellis Ross with a word for the single ladies

“I could have a wheel of lovers,” the actor told Kevin Hart on his show “Hart to Heart.” She went on to say that she really only wants a partner who is going to add to her life — and I felt that. — Evans

“It’s cool when they do it! It’s a problem when I do it — FUCK ’EM!”

As a Gemini, I’m an agent of chaos — and that is precisely what this particular sound bred on TikTok. I can’t even tell you the artist’s name, but I know they didn’t expect their song to unleash a flood of wild scenarios about double standards. The things I saw under this audio on the clock app, from celebs to everyday people, were hysterical, and dare I say, accurate. — Ruth Etiesit Samuel

The mess that had an absolute chokehold on my spirit in 2022 was the viral video of Kimberly Kardashian saying, “It seems like nobody wants to work these days.” Like many of my burnt-out millennial peers, I find there is nothing more motivating than having a girl boss billionaire telling me to “Get your f**king ass up and work,” while the economy limps toward a recession. I’m looking forward to more mess and more #werk #inspo from my fave Kardashian gals in 2023. — Lizzie Grams

Maryanne Oketch winning “Survivor”

Maryanne Oketch won the 42nd season of "Survivor."
Maryanne Oketch won the 42nd season of “Survivor.”

Robert Voets/CBS via Getty Images

I gotta admit, Maryanne annoyed me throughout most of the season. But her genius moves in those final episodes made for riveting TV. Oketch’s win was oh so satisfying. — Evans

Devi being messy in the best way

In the most recent season of “Never Have I Ever,” we found our beloved, chaotic Devi to be the most evolved version of herself. She was more insightful and mature, but much to our delight, she was a mess-magnet. She got jealous and sabotaged what felt like a great relationship. She threw (iced) coffee in another hottie’s face. She cheats on an academic competition and gets caught. And of course, on every episode, she’s in her head in the most unhelpful way. Through it all, Devi remains loyal to her meandering journey as a regular teenager trying to find happiness after trauma — not some model minority who shuts the F up and stays out of trouble. This contemporary, nuanced South Asian American character is inspirational to so many of us who went rogue as a teenager and are, now, better for it. Devi’s mess is a moment for Brown girls and women everywhere. We love to see it. —Punjabi

Elmo and Rocco get into it, yuh

You might have forgotten that this was this year since it happened in January. But the drama between Elmo and his friend’s pet rock was so funny to see unfold. Honorable mention: Elmo saying “balsamic vineguh” on the “Tonight Show.” — Evans

If you love a quick drink after work, you need to be following @join_jules and @bevsbybeverly on TikTok and Instagram. These two cocktail connoisseurs changed my drink-making game. A couple faves? An apple cider sidecar and this blood orange coconut margarita. — Evans

It’s corn! A big lump with knobs! It has the juice! Truly what else is there to say? The joy young Tariq had for his favorite starchy vegetable in an interview was infectious, and captivated TikTok, Twitter and the like, sparking both a viral song and the piano-only wedding processional version of that song. It’s hard for the internet to agree on one thing, but I think this was unanimous: Corn Kid rules. — Jillian Capewell

This is 37-year-old me in a toddler’s body. — Evans

Ben and Jen tying the knot. I, personally, am a huge fan of backsliding into great relationships. —Punjabi

I despise frying chicken. Something always goes wrong, and then my house smells like old oil for a week. But this free little hack helped me make the crispiest chicken I’ve ever made. — Evans

Keke Palmer goes from host to perfect contestant

This may be one of the Blackest moments I’ve ever seen on a game show. Keke Palmer and Yvette Nicole Brown read each other’s thoughts through the smallest gestures and one word at a time on “Password.” Iconic. Palmer had a helluva year and among many other big moments, announced her pregnancy on “SNL” in December. — Evans

“Piggies or bunnies?”

For months, this little girl asked her mom to call up Jojo Siwa so she could come do her hair. At last, she got her wish, and it was such an adorable moment. — Evans

From Minion To Spider-Man

Adults were pranking kids with face paint, telling them they’d paint their face like Spider-Man, but instead making them look like minions. It was a very cute trend, and then this TikToker finally painted her nephew’s face like Spider-Man in this video. If this doesn’t bring a smile to your face, I don’t know what to tell you. — Evans

“The Nanny” is everywhere!

While nostalgia for ’90s sitcom “The Nanny” has long been brewing thanks to Instagram accounts like @whatfranwore, interest in Fran Drescher’s miniskirt-clad character may finally be reaching the heights of her trademark bouffant. This year, the Queens-bred actor served her first term as president of the SAG-AFTRA, released a pictorial account of her show in support of her Cancer Schmancer charity, curated a throwback collection of upcycled duds in partnership with ThredUp, and confirmed that the flashy girl from Flushing was indeed inching towards her Broadway debut. She was also omnipresent on TikTok, providing inspiration for Halloween costumes and Gen Z fashionistas alike. (One of her signature looks even made an appearance on “White Lotus”.) — Emily Ruane

This was Devale Ellis’ biggest year yet

I started following actor and internet sensation Devale Ellis a few years ago, when he frequently posted hilarious videos with his adorable kids and his wife Khadeen — who’s a star in her own right. He appeared in a web series that I loved, and then suddenly it seemed like he was everywhere, especially this year. He stars on BET+ show “Zatima” with my favorite “Sistas” actor Crystal Renee Hayslett and most recently starred in a Christmas film opposite Eva Marcille, “A Christmas Fumble.” Love seeing an internet star skyrocket to even bigger fame. — Evans

The rats do, actually, run NYC

“The rats are absolutely going to hate this announcement. But the rats don’t run this city. We do.” New York City Sanitation Commissioner Jessica Tisch’s bold proclamation was, I guess, meant to scare the city’s rodent masses into hiding. Instead, the online masses took her words like a manifesto, applying the sound bite to all the times the downtrodden need a little unearned confidence — because while we can pretend the rats don’t run this city, deep down, we all know they do. — Capewell

The long-awaited Conrad and Cavallari confab

I never would have imagined this would happen: Kristin Cavallari and Lauren Conrad apologized to each other on Cavallari’s podcast, which she hosts with another “Laguna Beach” star, Stephen Colletti. — Evans

I was Josh Safdie’s muse

I had to look this one up and verify it actually happened in 2022 — it did! Julia Fox cemented her chaotic energy into our brains when she declared in an interview that she was writer/director Josh Safdie’s muse for 2019’s “Uncut Gems,” stretching the title’s second word until it was nearly unrecognizable. A star — and an inescapable meme — is born. — Capewell

This unforgettable scene from “Snowfall”

Damson Idris is incredible in this moment, one of the best scenes in Season 5 of “Snowfall.” — Evans


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