The 2020 vice presidential debate between Mike Pence and Kamala Harris was much more composed than last week’s presidential debate but it was no less memeable.
Even before the debate was over, memes — born out of subtle moments — started dominating parts of social media platforms such as TikTok and Twitter.
Harris’ smirk became an instant reaction meme, jokes were lobbed about “RuPaul’s Drag Race” host and drag queen RuPaul’s fracking, and, perhaps the most viral, was the fly that landed atop Pence’s head.
Here are our top memes of the night.
During the debate, Pence said the Democratic ticket would ban fracking, which Harris denied.
But the back-and-forth about fracking reminded Twitter of RuPaul’s interview earlier this year with NPR, during which he talked about owning land in Wyoming and appeared to reference allowing oil companies to frack on that land, according to the Guardian.
As the discussion of fracking was underway at the debate, RuPaul’s name immediately trended on Twitter as social media seized on the moment.
“Pence is trying to get the rupaul vote that’s why he never shuts up about fracking,” one Twitter user wrote.
“RuPaul will not have Kamala take away his fracking rights,” another wrote.
Others posted reaction memes with images of RuPaul looking shocked, with tweets implying that was the drag queen’s reaction to hearing Harris’ answer about fracking.
Some on social media argued that the real winner of the night was Harris’ facial expressions.
As Pence spoke, the senator smiled as she waited for her turn to respond, but Twitter couldn’t help but compare her smirks to other television moments.
Several tweets compared the look Harris gave Pence to a squinting smile made by the “Game of Thrones” character Daenerys Targaryen, played by Emilia Clarke.
Others thought her smile resembled that of the actress Dakota Johnson during a semiconfrontational appearance on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” late last year.
But the moments of Harris appearing to formulate answers while smiling at Pence were turned into gifs countless times throughout the night on social media.
A sound bite from Harris that was also immediately turned into a gif was when, during an interruption, she told Pence, “I’m speaking, Mr. Vice President. I’m speaking.”
A fly that spent approximately two minutes perched atop Pence’s head was arguably the biggest social media moment of the night.
Within moments of the debate’s end, dozens of parody Twitter accounts pretending to be the fly had been created and began tweeting.
The Biden campaign had even added a fly swatter to its merchandise by the end of the evening.
On Wednesday evening into Thursday, several variations of the word “fly” were trending on Twitter.
Some claimed the fly stole the show, while others said they wanted to hear what Pence had to say but were deeply distracted by the insect.
Influencer Liza Koshy said the fly had, in one way, inspired her, “so… i’m gonna be a fly for halloween.”