Keanu Reeves Reveals The Real Story Behind The Sad Keanu Meme

In the '80s and '90s, actor Keanu Reeves rose to popularity with roles in "Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure," "The Matrix," "Point Break," and more. But in addition to being one of the most popular actors of the decade, Reeves also has a reputation for being a genuinely nice guy. In the last few years, multiple stories have gone viral about Reeves' kindness, particularly to fans (via Insider).

In 2019, James Dator, a writer and producer for, shared the story on Twitter of how he met Reeves during his teenage years, while he was working at a movie theater. Dator, a Reeves fan, tried to get Reeves's autograph when Reeves was buying tickets to "From Hell", even attempting to give Reeves his employee discount. Although Dator initially proved unsuccessful, Reeves returned a few minutes later.

"2 minutes later there's a knock on the door behind me that leads into the box office. I assume it's my manager. It's Keanu," Dator recalled. "'I realized you probably wanted my autograph ... so I signed this.' He hands me a receipt from the concessions stand that he signed on the back. He then casually throws an ice cream in the trash can and sees his movie."

Reeves is also known for his generosity towards the crews who work on his films, most notably purchasing Harley-Davidson motorcycles for twelve stuntmen who worked with him on "The Matrix".

"I just wanted ... to give a bigger thank-you to all these guys who helped me make this," Reeves explained.

Why Reeves really looked so sad in that bench picture

Recently, Reeves has experienced something of a career renaissance, thanks to his appearances in "Always Be My Maybe," "Toy Story 4," and "The Matrix Resurrections." He's also been minted an official "internet boyfriend," but it turns out, Reeves had virality long before we even coined the term "internet boyfriend" (via Entertainment Weekly).

Back in 2010, a picture of Reeves sitting on a bench, looking dejected, went viral (or as viral as things went back in 2010) and became known as the "Sad Keanu" meme (via People).

This week, Reeves appeared on "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert", at which time Reeves set the record straight about what he was really feeling that day.

"I'm just eating a sandwich, man!" Reeves shared. Colbert then pressed further, asking, "So, you're not actually sad in 'Sad Keanu'?"

"I was thinking," Reeves further explained. "I had some stuff going on. I was hungry."

Whom amongst us can't say we've been there? Perhaps that's the reason why the "Sad Keanu" meme took off the way it did, courtesy of Reeves' relatability.

For his part, Reeves has no idea why he goes viral so often. "I have no clue, sir," he told Colbert. "Really."