July 23, 2024


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Mike Pence fly memes land on the vice presidential debate


Saturday Night Live is probably already casting for the now famous fly that landed on Mike Pence’s head.

Eric Baradat/AFP via Getty Images

This story is part of Elections 2020, CNET’s coverage of the run-up to voting in November.

The chaotic first presidential debate last week was like nothing political commentators had seen before, with some comparing it to a Real Housewives fight, but Wednesday night things were calmer as Vice President Mike Pence and Sen. Kamala Harris faced off in their first and only debate

But there were plenty of heated moments as the two sparred over everything from the coronavirus pandemic to the economy, climate change and the Supreme Court. And one particularly buzzy moment stood out, thanks to a fly that landed on Pence’s head. 

While Pence didn’t seem to notice the visitor in his hair, you can bet social media did. The fly immediately went viral, nabbing numerous Twitter accounts, including Pence’s Hair Fly, Pence Fly and Mike Pence Fly — even landing a three-picture deal from Universal, joked Paul Feig, who directed Bridesmaids, The Heat and Ghostbusters: ATC. 

C-SPAN even thought the moment viral enough to upload it to YouTube. The fly sits there for kind of a long time. 

Buzzy jokes

“I think the fly just won the debate,” one Twitter user saidSaid another, “Vice President Pence, your time is up and there’s a fly on your head.” 

Biden mans the swatter

Even Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden joined in the fly fun, posing with a flyswatter and asking for campaign donations. “Pitch in $5 to help this campaign fly,” read a tweet from his official Twitter account.  

His campaign store soon started selling a flyswatter with the words “Truth Over Flies” and “Biden Harris” on the handle.


Other politicians got in on the buzz too. “The deep state planted a bug on @VP,” Senator Rand Paul, a Republican, tweeted. “The illegal spying is really out of control.”

Sports stars saw it

And professional athletes, including NBA stars and others, noticed, too.

“Shoutout to the fly,” wrote Draymond Green of the Golden State Warriors.

Real or reel?

Some people actually thought the fly had landed on their own computers or TVs.

“I almost cracked my damn TV trying to get that thing off,” wrote one Twitter user.

Live, from the veep’s head

Many people thought of NBC sketch comedy show Saturday Night Live and how its writers might work the fly into a skit. Some wanted Jeff Goldblum, star of creepy 1986 sci-fi film The Fly, to take on the buzzy role, while others envisioned SNL cast member Pete Davidson in the role.

“I hope SNL gets Jeff Goldblum to play the fly on Pence’s head,” one Twitter user wrote.

“Calling it now,” wrote another. “If SNL does a cold open of this debate, the guy playing Pence will have a contact lens in to make his eye completely red and the fly will be played by Pete Davidson.”

The debate craziness is far from over. Two more presidential debates are scheduled, one for Oct. 15 and one for Oct. 22.

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