Nameless Rumia's Wiki

I'm tired of the internet!

User Tools

Site Tools


Pepe the Frog

“But wh-what's… a 'Ma–'… what's, um, what's 'Monica W' mean?”
Matt Furie1)

Pepe the Frog is a dynamic meme with a complex, polarizing history that can be challenging to explain, especially when you don't have a grasp of every angles, so I've mapped out how the initially relatable meme unfolded and mutated over time from what I've gathered.


Pepe's origins and initial mainstream popularity


“One, he's mixed in with this weird white guy who he's always hugging, which I don't understand. […] Two, he's got, randomly, a blue shirt and brown lips, and that's his accepted outfit now. Those are the two things that kind of piss me off about it. Other than that, I don't really care.”
– Matt Furie2)

According to Matt Furie, the character originated in a MS Paint comic, used in a Zine called Playtime,3) and he'd get reused for a MySpace web comic titled Boy's Club in 2005.4) These comics were mostly nonsensical, stoner humor comics based on his early 20s. One comic in particular notably features Pepe with his pants down to his ankles, urinating into a toilet, and saying “feels good man” in the last panel.

This phrase in combination with Pepe's expression would become a reaction image on 4chan around 2007,5) where it also became a motivational phrase for bodybuilders. At some point, somebody gave Pepe a blue shirt and brown lips to the author's dismay,6) then Pepe received other emotions like “feels bad man”, which led to names like “sad frog”, “feels frog”, and the “you will never” frog.

The anti-normie revolts and Rare Pepe mutations

Pepe was loved by the internet, so much that celebrities like Katy Perry7) and Nicki Minaj8) even used memes of him. However, the 4chan community felt resentful over his newfound popularity that, following a mass murder incident in May 2014, an irredentist, anti-normie9)Rare Pepe” campaign had began in the “ROBOT9000” (/r9k/) board10) where new Pepe variations were pumped out like trading cards.11)12)

Nevertheless, Pepe let people's negative emotions to come out while the public eyed them, so there was a brief period where shocking variants with gore and feces were used as a scare tactic. However, these did nothing since you could just scroll over them. From there, the “smug pepe” resurfaced, “REEEE”13) turned into this anti-normie battle cry, and the concept of irony starts to blur.

Dissecting the usage of Pepe in the late 2010s


Pepe in the mainstream

“dumb frogposter”
– Anonymous

In the mainstream consciousness, Pepe had remained a reaction image, especially with social platforms like Discord and Twitch encouraging custom emotes, though Twitch users will need some third-party extension. According to these extensions' custom emote databases, Pepe-related reaction images in the form of emotes like “FeelsBadMan”,14) “EZ”,15) “FeelsWeirdMan”,16) and “PepeLaugh”17) have been in use since 2015.

From this point forward, more of these Pepe-related reaction images were becoming custom emotes, which includes: “monkaS”,18) “POGGERS”,19) “PepeHands”,20) “monkaW”,21)22) “peepoHappy”,23) “PEPEGA”,24) “pepeD”,25) “widepeepoHappy”,26) “pepeJAM”,27) “YEP”,28) “Sadge”,29) “PETTHEPEEPO”,30) “AWOOGA”31) or “BOOBA”,32) etc. Some streamers even call their viewers “frogs”, like “newfrog”.33)

As for those who braved the imageboard environment, they saw: a Spurdo Spärde version of Pepe dubbed “Apu Apustaja” from Ylilauta in 2016, a Resident Evil 7 meme revive the “Pepe Punch” image,34)35) the bear market mascot “Bobo the Bear” in 2018, some user forcing “cheesed to meet you”,36)37) and the origins of “AWOOGA”38) or “BOOBA”39) which would briefly spread to the likes of Twitch and horny Twitter.

Pepe as the far-right icon

The smug Pepe.

“I don't like the frog, I don't like this whole thing, but I gotta stand up for the first amendment. Let's say the frog is 'triggering' for me now. I hate Pepe.”
– Alex Jones40)

For certain users, the anti-normie campaign did not stop as trolls were now actively conflating with far-right movements and the violent, anti-social ideas were unironically starting to take root. This depiction would explode after presidential candidate Donald Trump retweeted a Pepe on October 13, 2015,41) giving much fuel to his campaign and the dangerous “meme president” title.42)

With the cards in Trump's favor, a 4chan user43) shouted “Pepe”44) at a Hillary Clinton rally in Nevada on August 25, 201645) and Trump's son shared a Pepe meme.46) Then on September 27, 2016, the ADL added “Pepe the Frog” to their list of hate symbols47) which forced Matt Furie to finally intervene. Furie would say that he'd… vote for Clinton48) and reclaim him…49) then he killed50) and revived him for $34,757.51)

Meanwhile, Pepe became this parody religion where people saw him an incarnation of the Egyptian diety Kek, a term that was initially a “lel” or “lol” variant,52) and believed he was capable of “meme magic”.53) This led to people inventing “Kekistan”,54) thinking GETs were magic with Clinton's collapse,55) and the 1986 Italian disco song Shadilay would randomly become a memetic anthem.56)57)

After Trump entered office, a racist toad dubbed “Groyper” resurfaced58)59) and a clown Pepe that would be dubbed “Honkler” unironically became an alt-right dogwhistle.60)61) However, Furie would eventually start fighting back, taking legal action against an assistant principal62) before tackling high-profile targets including Alex Jones,63) The Daily Stormer,64) Baked Alaska, Richard Spencer,65) and so on.

Pepe in the Chinese world

“These carefree 'normies'66) who like to randomly use Pepe stickers don't understand Pepe at all (that's why they're called normies). The name 'Most Saddest Frog in the World Sticker Pack' simply can't be any more stupid. If Matt saw this, he would cry.”
– Ruòjī67)

On the Chinese internet, Pepe is simply the “sad frog”, rendered as “bēishāng wā” (悲伤蛙), “bēishāng qīngwā” (悲伤青蛙), “shāngxīn wā” (伤心蛙), or “shāngxīn qīngwā” (伤心青蛙). Around October 2014, Pepe was imported to Chinese social platforms68) as a reaction image,69) so young people saw him as a “cute frog” as he became commercialized and made into a sticker pack.70)

During the 2019 Hong Kong protests, a “pro-democracy” protest over an extradition bill that stemmed from a murder case involving a Hong Kong couple's deadly quarrel on their vacation in Taiwan, Pepe became a “resistance symbol” out of nowhere.71)72) From Furie's limited perspective, he was delighted by the sudden turn of events, reportedly responding with “Pepe for the people!” in an email.73)74)75)

In reality, he was just a symbol of the youth. When the “Strawberry Music Festival”76) came to the Sanya railway station in Hainan on November 28, 2020, he resonated with music lovers and the youth.77) The “China Green Foundation”78) also recognized this symbolism, as they ran a national environmental campaign in the PRC that featured a sunflower Pepe as its mascot in May 2021.79)80)

The post-Trump lull and Matt Furie invests in NFTs


“Pepe does not have the baggage here that he does in the 'real world,’ and I like working with utopians and optimistic freethinkers. There are so many possibilities.”
– Matt Furie81)

Then in 2020, the Feels Good Man documentary was released, which explains Furie's battle against this far-right depiction, included an out-of-place Pepecash segment, and mainly revealed that Furie had no internet skills. This is further confirmed in a 2021 Twitch stream with Trihex where Furie was bewildered at the chat spamming Pepe emotes since nobody ever told him about this side of Pepe before.82)

From there, Trump lost the 2020 election, Pepe as a far-right icon lost momentum, and Furie unfortunately began to invest in cryptocurrency and hop on the NFT bandwagon.83)84) As for Pepe's reputation, he is a reaction image once more. Things like “BOOBA”85) and “cheesed to meet you”86) have nonchalantly spread, while Twitch came up with “Borpa”87) and “borpaSpin”88) shortly after.


  • Furie was born on August 14, 1979 at the >Ohio State University hospital.89)90)
    • In context, Furie was presumably 26 when he started Boy's Club in 2005, aged 37 during the 2016 shitshow, and aged 41 when he went into NFTs, which lines up with him being Gen X.
  • Back on November 7, 2016,91) Matt Furie held an Answer Time session on Tumblr92) where he filled almost three pages of his blog, answering “Why?” in at least 24 different ways.
    • This bewildered me for the longest time and I thought Furie went into a weird depression spiral, but it turns out that Furie was attempting to be poetic while still lacking internet experience.
  • In 2016, Time selected Pepe the Frog as the #1 “Most Influential Fictional Characters of 2016”,93) though the publication explains that it was due to his recent role as a far-right icon.
  • Between 2016 to 2020, I do have a few theories about Pepe the Frog's usage on the internet.
    • Pepe could've been used as a political dogwhistle on Twitch with the intent to make out-of-touch liberals look hysterical,94) but nothing led up to this and emotes like “Groyper” were pulled.95)
    • The introduction of Pepe in the Hong Kong protests was unusual and looked like a signal that the “pro-democracy” protests were organized by the United States, but there's no evidence of this, and everyone conveniently forgot after the HKSAR national security law went in effect.
  • On the South Korean internet, Pepe has seen a recent 2020 uptick in usage on DC Inside and Ilbe.
    • Regarding politics, the conservative stronghold Daegu is associated with a black-skinned Pepe, while the liberal Jeolla region96) is associated with a red-skinned, communist Pepe.

See also

  • Pepe the Frog on Wikipedia - The article's scope was a bit too small in some areas.
  • @Matt_Furie on Twitter - The original Pepe cartoonist, now an avid NFT shill.
"Q&A with Matt Furie" (January 25, 2011). Know Your Meme.
"feels good man" (December 10, 2007). 4chan /b/.
"Australian jet lag got me like" (November 8, 2014). Twitter.
“Normie” is a slang term for normal people, often used in a derogatory manner. It initially caught on with mentally ill people to describe “neurotypical” behavior, interests, and the like, but the term spread to the rest of the internet where it generally became a synonym for “mainstream” instead.
The “ROBOT9000” (/r9k/) board, inspired by Randall Munroe's “Robot9000” IRC script, first opened in 2008 with the intent to generate meaningful discussions and original content. As 4chan made new boards and homes, /r9k/ gradually devolved into a place for depressed, self-loathing people and >greentext stories. It was axed in 2011, but brought back later that year, now welcoming mentally ill people.
"Funny Screaming Frog Compilation" (March 16, 2013). YouTube.
"FeelsBadMan" (June 21, 2015). FrankerFaceZ.
"EZ" (June 28, 2015). BetterTTV.
"FeelsWeirdMan" (September 23, 2013). BetterTTV.
"PepeLaugh" (November 12, 2015). FrankerFaceZ.
"monkaS" (March 16, 2016). BetterTTV.
"POGGERS" (February 23, 2017). BetterTTV.
"PepeHands" (September 18, 2016). FrankerFaceZ.
"monkaW" (September 26, 2017). BetterTTV.
"monkaW" (September 26, 2017). FrankerFaceZ.
"peepoHappy" (November 23, 2017). BetterTTV.
"PEPEGA" (April 8, 2018). BetterTTV.
"pepeD" (June 5, 2018). BetterTTV.
"widepeepoHappy" (August 4, 2018). FrankerFaceZ.
"pepeJAM" (August 18, 2018). BetterTTV.
"YEP" (December 15, 2019). FrankerFaceZ.
"Sadge" (January 3, 2020). BetterTTV.
"PETTHEPEEPO" (May 16, 2020). BetterTTV.
"AWOOGA" (January 24, 2020). FrankerFaceZ.
"BOOBA" (October 14, 2020). FrankerFaceZ.
"newfrog" (July 20, 2019). Urban Dictionary.
">WELCOM TO THE FAMILY, SON!" (October 1, 2016). 4chan /v/.
"Wojak/Pepe Punching images" (April 22, 2017). 4chan /r9k/.
"hssssssssssss" (August 1, 2019). 4chan /tv/.
"hssssssssssss" (August 3, 2019). 4chan /tv/.
"A girl.... AND a gamer? Whoa mama!" (December 3, 2019). 4chan /s4s/.
"Marvel Movies" (September 4, 2020). 4chan /tv/.
"Feels Good Man | Full Movie | Documentary Central" [1:14:20] (June 18, 2022). YouTube.
"Pepe the Frog is officially dead" (May 8, 2017). The Verge.
"Save Pepe" (June 26, 2017). Kickstarter.
Back in the early 2010s, “lel” was associated with a badly drawn trollface that would get spammed on 4chan's “Sports” (/sp/) board, then the face wore this “TOP GUN” hat from Workaholics that was edited to say “TOP LEL”. Following the creation of “Shit 4chan Says” ([s4s]) in 2014, “lel” mutated into “kek” with the image of Eti's pink, strawberry “Topkek” cake being spammed with it, then it just became laughter. Anyone who brings up Korean onomatopoeia or World of Warcraft is misleading you.
“Kekistan” is a fictional country or empire, whose flag is inspired by Nazi Germany's Imperial War Flag from 1935 to 1938, that became the movement's euphemism for their ideal United States of America.
The author transcribes “normie” as “nuòmǐ/nuohmii” (糯米), but this is already a word for sticky rice.
67) , 68)
"一个简明易懂的Pepe史" (August 26, 2015). Gamecores.
"PEPE GOES TO CHINA" (December 2019). Tank.
The “Strawberry Music Festival” (草莓音樂節, Cǎoméi Yīnyuè Jié) is a series of outdoor music festivals managed by the Chinese record company, “Modern Sky” (摩登天空, Módēng Tiānkōng), that began in 2009. It should not be confused with the similarly named “Strawberry Music Festival” held in California.
The “China Green Organization” (中国绿化基金会, Zhōngguó Lǜhuà Jījīn Huì) is a non-governmental organization that has raised funds for green, environmentally friendly projects since 1985, which followed the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China's directive to make the homeland greener in 1984.
"Fun exhibitions underway in Guangzhou" (May 14, 2021). Guangzhou Converged Media Center.
"" (September 20, 2020). Twitter.
"Borpa" (March 13, 2021). BetterTTV.
"borpaSpin" (March 16, 2021). BetterTTV.
"Matt Furie Interview" (November 22, 2006). Fecal Face Dot Com.
"Lord of Moldovia" (September 7, 2008). MySpace.
The 2016 U.S. presidential election took place on November 8, 2016, so the timing of the Answer Time session on November 7, 2016 was likely intentional considering his perception of the events.
For instance, somebody claimed that El Risitas (“KEKW”) is a far-right dogwhistle in France.
"Groyper" (August 17, 2018). FrankerFaceZ.
Historically, the Jeolla region is known for the 1980 Gwangju Uprising where people protested against the military initiating a coup d'état in the Fourth Republic and declaring martial law. The uprising was violently suppressed with the protesters accused of being “communist sympathizers and rioters”, later paving the way for the Minjung movement and the 1987 June Democratic Struggle.
pepe_the_frog.txt · Last modified: 2024-04-12 15:01:30 by namelessrumia