Status: Presented via Skype at Popcaanz 2018. Now in the process of submitting for inclusion in the conference proceedings! Never done that before. It’s a steep learning curve.
Although they have existed online for decades, it was the 2014 Ryan Gosling “Hey Girl” craze which introduced the meme into popular culture, the popular vernacular and to a world-wide audience. Since that time, memes such as “Grumpy Cat” have created celebrities out of their subjects. But what of subjects who were already celebrities?
This paper looks specifically at Keanu Reeves in meme culture. Unlike the subject of other popular meme’s, such as Ryan Gosling, Reeves has actively involved himself with this avenue of fandom. As a result, he has established a sub-genre of his own celebrity, which is built around his meme persona.
The “Sad Keanu” meme, “Conspiracy Keanu” meme, and “Happy Keanu” meme will all be used in the discussion. Chronology will be drawn from websites and articles which detail fan responses to the phenomena as well as Reeves’ own thoughts on and reception to his meme celebrity persona.