JEOPARDY! STAR AUSTIN ROGERS
Flippant, funny and as lovably shaggy as an English sheepdog, the Manhattan bartender was the game show’s biggest breakout player since Ken Jennings.
MELISSA MCCARTHY AS SEAN SPICER
Melissa McCarthy’s impersonation of the beleaguered, sputteringly angry press secretary was a sensation — and ticked off the White House. There may be fake news, but this was not.
PEANUT BUTTER HACK
This Food Network video recommended making PB sandwiches from frozen slices prepared in advance. The response — in a nutshell — was ridicule for such a silly time-waster.
THE IT CLOWN
Social media has long been obsessed with creepy clowns, but the year’s big horror hit triggered a new rash of jokey memes about the scariest balloon bearer, Pennywise (Bill Skarsgård). Better LOL than B—O—O.
A PROMPOSAL FOR EMMA STONE
Jacob Staudenmaier, a high school student in Arizona, asked the La La Land star to the prom with a YouTube video re-creating the movie’s big opening number. Stone couldn’t go but called the stunt “the greatest proposal I have ever received.”
BBC INTERVIEW CRASHED BY KIDS
This clip wasn’t just viral — it was adorable. Interviewed at home by BBC News, South Korea expert Robert Kelly kept his eyes straight ahead as first one and then a second child, happy and curious, burst into the room. Then his wife hauled them away. At any rate, Kelly later said, “more people managed to see the interview than otherwise.”
This stock photo, titled “Disloyal Man Walking with His Girlfriend and Looking Amazed at Another Seductive Girl,” inspired re-posters to slap on all kinds of captions, gags and thoughts — about sex, movies, even economics. It was 2017’s Rorschach meme.
WINONA RYDER MAKING FACES
Onstage at the Screen Actors Guild Awards in February, Stranger Things actress Winona Ryder scrunched her face, well, strangely. GIFs swiftly followed. But according to costar David Harbour, she was just trying to hear him speak.
A sort of milder version of Bad Moms, this YouTube channel lets comedians Kristin Hensley and Jen Smedley sling their funny, sloppy observations about raising kids, squeezing into Spandex and more. On the subject of holiday gift-giving, Hensley says, “I just wrap stuff I already have in my house.”
Turkish chef and restaurateur Nusret Gökçe, a.k.a. Salt Bae, became a culinary Internet star with a clip that showed him slicing up a hunk of steak. Sensually flashing his knife, he all but seduces the meat (and viewers). Then he finishes off with a touch of seasoning: a sprinkle of salt that glitters like confetti. If he filleted a fish too, he’d probably own the world.