man staring intently wearing earpod

Greg Guillotin/YouTube

Rapper featured on French prank show is the face of new ‘My headphones’ meme

People are calling out what they're listening to, using an image of rapper JNR.


Audra Schroeder

Internet Culture

Posted on Aug 5, 2020   Updated on Aug 5, 2020, 1:15 pm CDT

A new meme is getting inside people’s headphones.

The Me in public/My headphones meme is circulating on Twitter, contrasting people’s public face with what they’re listening to. The meme uses a still of French rapper JNR, from a recent episode of hidden-camera prank show Le Pire Stagiaire, which translates to The Worst Intern.

In this meme, AirPods have been added in, ostensibly for continuity. But it’s a chance for people to hype what they’ve been listening to as the world crumbles, or possibly admit to some deep dives, like “Fireflies” by Owl City. It’s an offshoot of an existing meme that circulated in 2019, and spoofed what music people were blasting after being asked, “Are you OK?”

Others personalized the meme format a bit: “Me glaring at everyone in public vs My Headphones at the exact same time,” wrote _queen_bitch_.

There’s a bit more context to the meme: The episode featuring JNR apparently went viral, but also generated some backlash online. In one scene, police show up at JNR’s studio and claim they’ve found weapons, which sends him and his associates fleeing. He eventually comes back and is handcuffed before being informed that it’s a prank.

Host Greg Guillotin, who plays the “worst intern” in the series, said in late May that the episode was considered “too touchy by the channel compared to the news,” and was posted on YouTube instead. JNR told MadmoiZelle that while the episode was a prank, that studio sequence was a “reality”: “Where I’m from, people, when they get arrested, they’re afraid of the police.”

But JNR apparently knows he’s the face of this new format; he retweeted this tweet about becoming a meme in the U.S.

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*First Published: Aug 5, 2020, 1:14 pm CDT