Once something becomes a meme, the truth behind it doesn’t matter. It gets shared incessantly and repurposed a million times until its original meaning, or the actual thing it’s depicting, has been lost to oblivion. Sure, you can google and find the origin story behind the blinking guy, or the woman with her hands on her knees, or “Damn Daniel!” but by then it’s over.
Occasionally, though, it is fun to learn that backstory. Especially when a famous meme involves a famous, and a beloved, public figure. Keanu Reeves, appearing later this month in Matrix: Resurrections, is definitely famous and definitely beloved. A few years back, in an earlier appearance on the show, he answered a question about grief with a beautiful message about the people we leave behind that did nothing but bolster his public image as a salt-of-the-earth superstar.
Earlier this week, he answered a question about the Sad Keanu meme. The meme features Keanu on a bench somewhere, holding a bit of food in his hand, and looking forlorn for some unknown reason. It turns out that reason was simply hunger. The meme was recreated in Reeves’s new comic book, BRZRKR, prompting Colbert to ask him what was happening when the original photo was taken.
“I’m just eating a sandwich, man!” he explained.
Colbert followed up: “So, you’re not actually sad in ‘Sad Keanu’?”
“I was thinking,” Keanu replied. “I had some stuff going on. I was hungry.”
Watch the full interview, in which Reeves admits he’d love to reprise his role as John Constantine. Come on, DC! Better snap him up before the MCU does!