Kermit the Frog

Joe Seer/ShutterStock (Licensed)

How Kermit the Frog became a sassy meme

The beloved Muppet has a dark side online.


Sarah Kester


Posted on Nov 21, 2023   Updated on Nov 21, 2023, 3:10 pm CST

Kermit the Frog has undergone quite an identity crisis over the years. The beloved children’s character was originally known as the frog puppet on The Muppets, in addition to stints on Sam and Friends and Sesame Street.

But Kermit the Frog’s strings have been pulled in a different direction in recent years. Now, Kermit’s image is used in countless memes to express snarky comments, awkward social moments, and relationship woes.

Here’s where the Kermit the Frog meme originated—and why this beloved green puppet continues to stand the test of time. 

Kermit the Frog: meme origin 

In 2014, an image of Kermit sipping on a cup of tea began circulating on social media. The image was taken from a shot of Kermit in a Lipton Tea commercial promoting the brand and the film Muppets Most Wanted

Kermit starred in the commercial alongside familiar faces from the Muppets, such as Miss Piggy. After chaos ensues in the streets, Kermit encourages people to “be more tea.” The brand slogan for this translates to “be more kind.” 


According to Urban Dictionary, “sips tea” is the present form of “sipping tea,” which means to listen to good gossip from someone. Since Kermit is sipping tea in the meme, it was paired with the hashtag #ButThatsNoneOfMyBusiness and used as a snarky clapback or witty comment

This skyrocketed the meme’s popularity. Numerous Instagram and X (formerly Twitter) accounts were created to share Kermit memes, and the booming Instagram hashtag #kermitmemes gained over 660,000 posts, plus video compilations, and coffee mugs with the famous slogan.

Kermit even made an appearance on The Kelly Clarkson Show to discuss the meme. 

The fanfare behind Kermit is enough to make any fictional television character green with envy. But what caused the children’s character to become a household name?

Don Caldwell is a curator at the internet meme database

“[Kermit] is an incredibly recognizable and lovable character, so people feel comfortable using him to signal things about their identity,” Caldwell told BBC’s Newsbeat

The memes work so well because Kermit’s lighthearted personality is so far the opposite of the sassy persona that the memes convey. No one could ever picture Kermit the Frog actually sipping tea and ignoring a person in need because they’re “none of his business.” 

Variations of the Kermit meme 

Kermit the Frog isn’t just known for sipping tea. Thanks to screenshots from The Muppets and the ubiquity of Kermit toys available in the real world, there are many more memes featuring the beloved frog.

Sad Kermit

“Kermit the frog funny” may be a popular search, but within the expansive walls of the internet exists a much more subdued version of him. 

The image shows a Kermit puppet with its head looking down and its knees folded into its chest. After the puppet was found photographed in other positions, people demanded to know who was behind making Kermit look so sad. 

BuzzFeed found the culprit: then-17-year-old Pinja Savolainen from Finland. She told BuzzFeed News that the Kermit doll belongs to her mother, who found it in a market years ago. One day after walking by the doll in the kitchen, she decided to take a picture and share it on Twitter. 

“It was originally meant to be just a little joke, but then I realized it was actually pretty fun to photograph him so I decided to make it into a thread,” she explained.

‘Evil’ Kermit 

It turns out that Kermit has an evil side, too. Kermit’s meme popularity continued to expand with the arrival of the character’s take on the “devil-on-the-shoulder” scenario. This is the inner conflict a person feels when they feel tempted to behave badly. 

The meme was first shared by Twitter user Anya who used the meme to demonstrate the temptation to steal a cute dog. Once the meme went viral, the internet used the image to poke fun at other common battles of good versus evil. 

Want to make your own funny Kermit pictures? Become a puppet master by using Kermit user generators, such as this one. This is a tool that allows users to make their own memes by combining an image with text. 

Kermit said it best: “It’s Not Easy Being Green.”

Neither is being a meme, but the world’s favorite frog handles it well. His likeness has been twisted and contorted in so many ways that you never know what viral meme the internet will think of next.

We crawl the web so you don’t have to.
Sign up for the Daily Dot newsletter to get the best and worst of the internet in your inbox every day.
Share this article
*First Published: Nov 21, 2023, 3:09 pm CST