Keanu Reeves thinks “Sad Keanu” meme is “harmless, good clean fun”


Only recently (like, the past two weeks) have I become aware of the “Sad Keanu” meme that has apparently been around for months. I guess it all started when paparazzi took photos of a particularly sad-looking Keanu sitting on a park bench, looking like he might cry because the wind was blowing. Many people Photoshopped the image of “Sad Keanu” into something really special – see some of this stuff here. There’s a “Sad Keanu” Tumblr, and lots of new sites and lists devoted to Sad Keanu. Since then, paparazzi have gotten many, many candid shots of Keanu looking sad or contemplative or thoughtful, or just hungry. He honestly seemed totally unaware that photographers were trying to get another “Sad Keanu” photo – and as it turns out, he really was unaware. He spoke to Vulture, and he took it all in stride:

You’re taking over the Internet. Have you seen all the “Sad Keanu” stuff out there?
My publicist showed me the photo, but no.

There’s not one photo. There are millions. You’re Photoshopped next to kittens and into Pulp Fiction and next to the cast of The Breakfast Club, and in a million different ways. Have you seen those?
Oh, that’s funny! No, no, I haven’t seen them.

There are millions, really. Google “Sad Keanu.” You haven’t?
[Laughs.] No.

Seriously, though, this is one of the reasons I think one of the big appeals of you as an actor is that people are always straining to figure out what’s on your mind, what you’re thinking, why you’re sad … There’s thousands of people doing this.
Wow. So, what, now they’re putting me next to other objects?

Yes! For instance, right now I’m looking at you in some Banksy graffiti, you next to a panda.
That’s so funny.

You with a cheerleader, but you don’t notice her …
Oh, that’s funny. So they like take paparazzi pictures and re-contextualize them? Funny.

Well, it sounds like harmless, good clean fun.

What do you make of how your fandom is changing?
I don’t know, I haven’t seen it. That one, well, I guess, though, when you think of how bad that stuff can go, that sounds like a pretty good clean fun one to have happening.

Given the options …
Yeah, I haven’t seen them. But given the scope and scale of what can happen out there, that sounds like an all right one. It sounds conceptually funny. [Laughs.]

[From NY Mag/Vulture]

God, I love Keanu. He really does seem like an easy-going sweetheart, doesn’t he? And I f-cking love that he asked, “So they like take paparazzi pictures and re-contextualize them?” He’s so smart!

Anyway, the full Vulture interview is nice – Keanu talks about past and present work, and is generally humble and kind and nice. Lovely man!

Thanks to Dlisted for the tip!




Keanu in NYC on Sept. 22, 2010. Credit: Bauer-Griffin.

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40 Responses to “Keanu Reeves thinks “Sad Keanu” meme is “harmless, good clean fun””

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  1. Laila says:

    I love this post, thank you so much!!! I was having a crap day until I looked at all the “sad Keanu” photo’s, it’s hilarious and it totally made my day!
    Nice of him to see the humour in it, I definately recommend it, hell, I may even try to recontextualize a Sad Keanu photo myself…..

  2. caroline says:

    sad keanu. muhhhhhhh.

    i love that tumblr so hard.

  3. December says:

    God, poor dude. Can’t have a cupcake without having someone reporting a crisis.

    He looks quite cute. Now if only he could show some emotion in his films…

  4. LindyLou says:

    I just want to hug him.

  5. jr says:


  6. Sarah says:

    I love love love Keanu. (we share a bday 🙂 He seems like such a nice, down to earth guy and he’s adorable too.

  7. dread pirate cuervo says:

    He’s still a hot piece. His hands look huge next to that cupcake.

  8. guesty says:

    the hotness.

  9. Spring says:

    Aw, I didn’t have an opinion about Keanu one way or another really, but now I like him!

  10. TQB says:

    I remember when the first Sad pic was out, and there was a big Facebook effort to make sure he knew he still had fans who cared. It was nice, people caring for someone instead of tearing someone down. He’s had a ton of bad things happen in his personal life, how wonderful that he can appreciate kindness from his fans. Aww, Keanu, you made my day. Thanks, Kaiser.

  11. Mari says:

    Something’s telling me I need to take him on a girls night out with my ladies and make him sing “Love Shack” karaoke. Nothing quite like makin’ a big ol’ fool of yourself to put a smile on your face.

  12. GeekLuva says:

    Aww… I just wish he’d find someone that makes him happy. He’s too good a man to let go to waste…

  13. Sumodo1 says:

    @Marni — to the mark!

  14. a says:


  15. Nanea says:

    Mmmhh, eyeKandy!

    Just what I needed today!
    Thanks, Kaiser.

    I like Keanu so much, and I don’t get why all those critics and other people always think he’s dumb just because he once played Ted.

    He can be immensely funny too, as he so recently proved at TIFF for MTV with that Werner Herzog impersonation.

  16. JM says:

    Oh to be his thumb in that last pic. Love Love Love Keanu!

  17. jenna says:

    Mmmmm, Keanu Reeves … I want one!!

  18. RHONYC says:

    ***we love u sad keanu***

  19. Aqua says:

    I just like him although I’m not sure why or what is is about him exactly.

  20. Gwen says:

    I love him 😀

  21. lena says:

    Umm, has Keanu been featured on hot guy friday?…because if he hasn’t he should be! He looks great and is aging very well.

  22. Conando says:

    He’s such a stand-up guy, love him!

  23. mimi says:

    Loved this guy for years…and he hasn’t let me down yet by doing something idiotic or mean. Great guy!

  24. Javagirl1 says:

    Keanu is on the same level as Johnny Depp. I’m serious! Devil’s Advocate anybody?

  25. Maritza says:

    I wonder what’s the deal with him? He is a handsome actor, I doubt it is difficult for him to find the right woman.

  26. Missfit says:

    I’m sure there’s plenty of women who would love to get with him, but I’m sure he might just want someone well known instead of an average jane.

  27. Hollywood needs more stars like Keanu. Ones that do not care about their own celebrity. Hard to believe he’s in his mid 40’s.

  28. Mistral says:

    This is why Keanu Reeves is AWESOME!!!! Who cares if he isn’t Olivier?? He’s fricken’ Keanu! lol

    xo Keanu!

  29. chris says:

    He really loves that cupcake

  30. Chris says:

    “Wow. So, what, now they’re putting me next to other objects?” 🙂

    I’ve been a big fan of his ever since I saw him in River’s Edge. The teenagers in that film were just like me and the group of kids I hung out with back then.

  31. Lulu says:

    Thank you, Kaiser. I have always thought he was a smart, interesting guy. He’s hardly “Ted”!

    He comes across as a peacemaker! I love that.

    I had already seen some of the sad Keanu pix. Really funny. I thought they were genuinely good-hearted. I love the one with the pigeons resting on his shoulder.

  32. SallyJay says:

    I adore this man. And I think that in this day of building people up to then tear them down, and the nastiness that abounds much of the internet, it’s wonderful to see such an outpouring of affection and concern. His response shows his good humour and sincerity. What a guy. Keanu, call me!

  33. L says:

    @maritza I wonder that myself. But the man has some serious tragedy in the love department (his daughter was born stillborn and then the mother of his child was killed 2 years later) so I wonder if he ever really recovered from that

  34. Sakyiwaa says:

    aww. i like him too. and he was just eating a cupcake! awww.

  35. Eve says:

    I love Keanu Reeves, he’s so cute! And as far as I know, one of the nicest guys in the business.

    *The sad Keanu meme is hilarious. My favourite is the one where he’s surrounded by stray cats.

  36. alice says:

    I love Keanu, he’s still so hot and fascinating and a very good actor!
    yes, one of the nicest guys in the business or the nicest at all!

  37. Anti-icon says:

    I’m a big time Keanu lover from way back….and he is a deep hobo cool cat, not a sad hobo cool cat.

    They’re making Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure 3!!!!!!!!

  38. call-in says:

    it sounds to me like he was vaguely patronizing the interviewer, who wouldn’t stop talking about one meme that keanu had already denied knowledge of.
    but then again, tone is everything.

  39. bubbles says:

    anyone else heard the Asberger’srumor?

  40. Mistral says:

    It’s Asperger’s Syndrome. I don’t think he does, because he is very personable in interviews. He reads social cues very well and knows how to be charming.