The Brief: A meme format uses an image of Shaquille O'Neal's reaction to eating extremely spicy wings.
In March, Shaq appeared on the YouTube show Hot Ones in which guests answer interview questions while also eating exceptionally spicy chicken wings. The video, which received over 10 million views, is titled “Shaq Tries to Not Make a Face While Eating Spicy Wings.” However, it appears that Shaq did indeed “make a face,” and that face has gone viral as the surprised Shaq meme.
Meme-makers use the surprised Shaq format to convey a sense of surprise that someone experiences in reaction to something shocking or unexpected. Some variations of this meme rely on dark or offensive topics for their punchline. Others involve more audience-friendly and nonoffensive humor.