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Keanu Reeves Explains the Hilariously Hangry Story Behind the ‘Sad Keanu’ Meme

Decoding the “Sad Keanu” meme straight from the source.

It’s hard to find someone that seems to be universally loved — that isn’t Tom Hanks. But there’s one celeb who has given America’s dad a run for his money: Keanu Reeves.

In-person, online, in Hollywood, Keanu Reeves has achieved it. Even in meme form, he’s well-received, and he finally explained what was going on when the “Sad Keanu” meme was born.

Keanu was a guest on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert to promote his upcoming move Matrix Resurrections, and Stephen asked the question we’ve all wanted the answer to.

“Why do you think you are so memeable?” Stephen asked, “There are so many Keanu memes out there.” Keanu didn’t have an answer for it, replying, “I have no clue, sir.”

There have been a few memes of the actor, but the one that stands out the most is “Sad Keanu.” The meme was born after a photo was taken of Keanu outside. He’s sitting on a bench that looks like it’s for a bus stop. Keanu is looking at the ground with his elbows on his knees and a most-eaten sandwich in his hands.

Earlier in the interview, Stephen was talking about one of Keanu’s latest projects, cowriting a sci-fi comic book series BRZRKR. Stephen pulled up a frame in the comic book that took inspiration from real life — a sneaky reference to the “Sad Keanu” meme.

“I didn’t know he was gonna do that, but that’s what he did, so I think it’s kind of meta,” Keanu said to Stephen about why the artist snuck that reference in. “The artist kind of — I think — took that meme and whatever that is, that photo, and put it into the comic book. So that’s life in art.”

So, what is the story behind the super-popular photo-turned meme? Not much, really.

“I’m just eating a sandwich, man!” Keanu said with a chuckle. “I was thinking! I had some stuff going on! I was hungry!”

And there you have it. Keanu was hungry so he ate a sandwich.