The phrase was originates from a skit seen in Season 2 Episode 1 of the Chappelle’s Show, in which Dave Chappelle is parodying a political campaign ad, and ridiculing the US healthcare system.
The skit depicts the host stating the the United States faces many “modern problems”.
It is here he continues with the iconic line “Modern problems require modern solutions”.
He then proceeds to advocate for fake Canadian ID-s for all US citizens to go to Canada and get a medical checkup for free.
The episode first aired on January 21st, 2004.
“Modern problems require modern solutions” was first used as a reaction image macro in 2018, when imthatguy25 posted a meme to the r/MemeEconomy thread of Reddit.
The reaction image quickly gained traction and turned popular both on Reddit, as well as a multitude of other online platforms.
A lot of meme variations were created, using the template, which spread on to Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, appearing on image macros as well as reaction GIFs.
The meme remained a popular format in the following years, appearing on Tumblr, YouTube as well as Imgur and Imgflip in well into the early 2020’s.