If you’re reading this article, you probably spend some time on the Internet and chances are you’ve run into at least a couple of memes online.
Ahh, memes! Those funny pictures or phrases that test your comprehension of certain cultures, current events, and humor… gotta love them!
Even more than in other cultures, in Latin American culture memes have become one of the most important ways for people to express themselves. And if you’re learning Spanish, los memes en español (memes in Spanish) can even become a learning tool if you’re open to them, both culturally and linguistically.
And if you don’t want to be a meme yourself (when your native Spanish-speaking friends talk about memes in Spanish and all you know how to say is “good morning”), then read this article because I’ve prepared a Top ocho memes populares en Latino América for you to learn about.
Memes in Spanish
Memes in Spanish are graphic jokes that have gone viral for one reason or another. So, they cover all types of humor throughout the Spanish-speaking specter of funny things.
A little disclaimer here: Some of the jokes we will talk about can seem a little offensive and if you do your own research about memes en español, you might run into some racist, sexist or very dark jokes. So, be prepared!
Another thing you have to keep in mind is that some memes in Spanish are spelled horribly on purpose to add some goofiness to the mix. So, don’t feel frustrated if you don’t directly understand io no soi 100tifiko (Yo no soy científico / I’m not a scientist) or stuff like that.
1. El León Gringo
El león gringo is actually a great way to start this piece because it became popular as a joke about people that are learning Spanish and feel confident about it until they crash into the vastness and weirdness of Spanish and Latino Slang.
It makes no sense under any grammar rules. So, the face of that poor lion reflects exactly how I’d feel if someone told me stuff like “short corto” (short short) or “¿viste cómo se escucha esa canción?” (did you SEE how that song SOUNDS?) Just hilarious!
By the way, are you learning Spanish with vocabulary lists and grammar rules and feel like el león gringo yourself? Then, go ahead sign up for our Free Spanish chunking training that shows how we teach our students to speak Spanish much faster!
I’ll also give you some examples of chunks later in this article. It’s a one-way road, I promise!
2. El gato “me dijiste que”
Another feline on our top 8, but this one really knows what it’s doing:
Not exclusive to Latin America, this meme depicts a situation where a lady is screaming with disappointment and rage at this cat, who looks chill while answering with a scam answer or a pun to her.
The great thing about it being in Spanish is that the puns you can use are unlimited… That’s why I crack up at sentences like these:
3. Pablo Escobar esperando
Also known as Sad Pablo Escobar, this meme consists of a series of three images featuring the character Pablo Escobar from the Netflix series Narcos. He’s staring blankly in three different screen-captures from the series.
The meme expresses the sadness and boredom associated with anticipation. Here’s an example:
- Cuando es dos mil veintiuno, y no se acaba la cuarentena (When it’s 2021 already and the lockdown is not over)
- Cuando estás aprendiendo español, y no entiendes los memes en español.l (When you’re learning Spanish and you don’t understand the memes in Spanish)
4. El fenómeno de los Simpsons en Argentina
We all know The Simpsons, right?… Well, Argentinians are crazy about them!
They know all the references, the famous phrases and will relate anything that’s currently happening to a specific episode. This has led to a massive and hilarious collection of The Simpsons memes related to Argentina…
Whether it is about:
There’s always a Simpsons reference in Argentian memes.
5. Pan Salao / Cheems
Even if you don’t know the name, I’m sure you recognize this breed of dogs on the internet…
These dogs have been a great source for memes because of their goofy expressions and cartoon-like faces. Well, meet Cheems or how they call it in some Latin memes I’ve seen: Pan Salao or Pan Dulce.
Cheems is pretty famous for a meme where they ironically compare something in the past (as a very strong and swollen dog) with the present version, which is a rather dull and anxious dog sitting with a sad expression as a way to state that everything was better in the past.
Now, in Venezuela, they adopted Cheems as a recurrent personification of the common citizen and they named him Pan Salao (Salty bread) and Pan dulce (Sweet bread) and a lot of memes with these two went viral in 2020.
Most of them related to the political and social current situation in Venezuela.
6. Baby Yoda merendando
Another Venezuelan phenomenon…
Most people know how famous The Mandalorian Series has become through 2020, but the series became most popular since this little green fella made his appearance.
People on the Internet started calling him Baby Yoda and one thing led to another… so, the memes appeared.
There’s a certain scene in the series where he appears with a cup slurping some soup and of course, the Internet Hispanic meme community didn’t waste a second to have Baby Yoda hold:
una arepita y un morral (a little arepa and a backpack)
una empanada y una malta
and any other kind of breakfast you had when leaving the classroom when you were in tercer grado, y sonaba el timbre del recreo (third grade and the recess bell rang). Cute and hilarious!
7. Bugs Bunny Comunista
We all have that family member/friend/pet—or even government—that the moment you get something for yourself, they assume you’re sharing with them.
Well, de eso se trata este meme (that’s what this meme is all about):
Bugs Bunny Comunista is an image of an old cartoon with a red filter and the symbol of the communist Soviet Union. It’s supposed to depict those people that arbitrarily claim ownership of something that is yours.
Some of the ones I’ve seen are crazy funny, since the punchline is directly “WE have” instead of “you have”.
It gets me every time… really!
De eso se trata (that’s what it’s about) is a good example of a chunk you can learn by heart instead of creating your own sentences. The literal translation would be something like “of that it treats itself”, but that makes no sense, of course.
You often can’t translate literally between English and Spanish… So, whenever you want to explain or ask the meaning of something, you should just use De eso se trata. Example?
- De eso se trata la película (That’s what the movie is about)
- De eso se trata esa canción (That’s what that song is about)
Get it? No more literal translations or complicated grammar rules!
…and our last stop on the meme tour…
8. Wey ya
You know when something gets so annoying that you’re not even mad, but just tired and about to cry? Well, this is the face of that agony: The Wey ya meme
This meme comes from a scene of the series YOU by Netflix, and it shows a girl with a sad/tired look on her face.
Wey ya is an expression usually used in México that means something like “Dude, stop it”. I have no idea who had the marvelous idea of putting that text under that sad grin on that poor girl, but can’t deny how effective it is!
I mean, look at this…
…it’s just so funny and I can relate so much…
What about you? Do you think I’m missing any important memes in Spanish that you know about? Do you think they’re funny, or maybe not at all? Let me know in the comments! I’ll make sure to check them out!
Okay! So, that’s it for today, everyone! I hope I got a little laugh from you. Next up to continue working on your knowledge of Latin culture: my article about the 6 things we natives never say, so you don’t embarrass yourself out there.