Keanu Reeves does not have an appetite for memes.
On Monday, Dec. 13, the “Matrix Resurrections” star, 57, chatted with Stephen Colbert on “The Late Show” about the latest installment of the “Matrix” series and shared the real backstory behind one of his most famous memes: “Sad Keanu.”
The photo, which went viral back in 2010, features Keanu sitting on a park bench by himself looking at the ground despondently as he munches on a sandwich.
When Stephen showed the photo to the camera, Keanu expressed his indignation by shouting, “I’m just eating a sandwich, man!”
So what was really going on in Keanu’s head when the photo was taken? “I was thinking! I had some stuff going on,” he said. “I was hungry.”
But, even 11 years later, the effect of “Sad Keanu” lives on. In fact, Keanu believes that the image was used as inspiration in the artwork for his new comic book “BRZRKR.”
In one scene in the comic, Keanu’s character, B, can be seen hunched over on a park bench as it rains, evoking the meme.
“So Ron Garney is the amazing artist who is illustrating and drawing BRZRKR,” Keanu said. “I didn’t know he was gonna do that, but that’s what he did.”
He described the decision to use the meme as “kinda meta,” before explaining that life and art often go hand in hand.
When Stephen asked why Keanu was “so meme-able” in particular, the “Bill &Ted” star seemed to be as equally fascinated by his ability to go viral as the late-night host. “I have no clue sir,” he replied. “Really.”
As Stephen tried to delve deeper into the question, Keanu created his own updated rendition of Bill Withers’ hit “Lean On Me” on the spot, singing, “meme on me, when you’re not strong!”