Exploring the Virality of the ‘Taking Off Headphones’ Meme: A Comprehensive Guide

Exploring the Virality of the ‘Taking Off Headphones’ Meme: A Comprehensive Guide. In the realm of the internet’s viral memes, the “Taking Off Headphones” meme has carved a niche for itself, capturing the attention of soccer fans and meme enthusiasts alik. This reaction meme template, featuring Real Madrid players reacting to a snowfall during a soccer match at the FIFA World Cup in Qatar, has become a cultural phenomenon, spreading like wildfire across social media platforms.

As this article delves into the origin, versatility, and cultural impact of the “Taking Off Headphones” meme, it will explore its viral spread, common use cases in meme generators and GIF makers, and its relevance as a tool for expressing disgust or a negative reaction, making it a meme template that resonates with diverse audiences.

Origin and Background

The “Taking Off Headphones” meme originated on TikTok, with various videos related to the theme of a guy with headphones in a store or listening to music 2. Some of the related memes and videos include:

  • “Guy Listening to Music with Headphones Meme”
  • “Guy Listening to Music in Store Meme”
  • “Android Headphones Meme”
  • “Throwing Headphones Meme”
  • “Guy Singing Payphone Meme”
  • “Guy Wearing Headphones Meme Crying”

The meme often features a person intensely listening to music or reacting dramatically while wearing headphones, usually in a public setting like a store. It has become popular on TikTok, with several videos showcasing the “Taking Off Headphones” theme and garnering thousands of views and engagements.

While the content does not provide specific details on the origin or history of the meme, it indicates that it has become a recognizable and widely shared meme on the TikTok platform. The original image was taken by Getty Images photographer Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno on April 2, 2013 during a press conference with Mourinho and Real Madrid player Raphael Varane.

‘Taking Off Headphones’ Meme: Meme Template and Format

The “Taking Off Headphones” meme, also known as the “Mourinho Disgust” or “Guy Taking Off Headphones” meme, is an image of professional football coach Jose Mourinho ripping off a headset in apparent revulsion. The meme template typically features this image, with the person’s reaction being used to express disgust or a negative reaction to something.

The meme started gaining popularity around the end of 2019, with one of the earliest examples being a tweet by user NyashaChipoka on December 6, 2019, in response to R. Kelly’s sexual misconduct allegations. It then spread across social media platforms like Reddit and Twitter in 2020 and 2021, with some examples garnering thousands of upvotes and likes .

The meme template is available on various platforms, including:

  • Imgflip: Categorized under the “MEMES_OVERLOAD” section, the template is titled “guy taking off headphones” and tagged with keywords like “funny” and “privacy”. Users can create memes, GIFs, charts, and demotivational images using this template.
  • TikTok: The meme template has been adapted into TikTok videos and posts, featuring songs and creative interpretations of the “Taking Off Headphones” theme. These videos often include hashtags like #fypシ, #foryou, #rap, #viral, #meme, and #wolfacejoeyy, and can receive thousands of likes, comments, and shares.
  • Know Your Meme: The meme is part of the “Association Football” series on the Know Your Meme website, which catalogs and documents popular internet memes .

The meme template’s format typically involves the image of Mourinho taking off his headphones, accompanied by text or captions that express a negative reaction or disgust towards a particular situation or event.

Viral Spread and Examples

The “Taking Off Headphones” meme has gained immense popularity and virality on TikTok.  One notable example is the viral reaction videos, particularly among fans of Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour concerts. One notable example is the viral reaction videos of a fan named Maddie Braps, who showcased intense emotional responses to the song “Exile” during the concerts 

  • In one video, Maddie Braps claimed that her reaction was genuine, urging viewers to “go read my Rolling Stone interview” to understand the depth of her emotional connection to the song.
  • Another video featured a fan exclaiming, “It’s just too much to handle,” highlighting the overwhelming impact of “Exile” on the audience

The meme’s virality has extended beyond Taylor Swift’s fandom, with numerous related videos garnering substantial engagement on TikTok. For instance, one video featuring the meme has amassed over 132,000 likes, 1,040 comments, and 20,200 shares, underscoring its widespread popularity and resonance.

As iconic figures like José Mourinho and Gareth Bale continue to capture the public’s imagination, social media platforms will undoubtedly be inundated with memes and reactions inspired by their expressions and gestures. The “Taking Off Headphones” meme exemplifies how a single image can transcend its original context and become a cultural phenomenon, resonating with diverse audiences across various platforms and communities.

Versatility and Common Use Cases

The “Taking Off Headphones” meme has proven to be remarkably versatile, transcending its origins and finding widespread use across various platforms and contexts. While its popularity is undeniable on TikTok, where the “Guy Taking Off Headphones and Screaming” meme thrives, its adaptability has allowed it to resonate with diverse audiences and communities.

One notable aspect of the meme’s versatility is its ability to encompass a wide range of related memes involving people wearing headphones. These include:

  • The John Cena Dancing with Headphones meme
  • The Crane Wives makes me go insane meme
  • Guy crying with headphones meme
  • Guy walking with headphones meme

Additionally, the meme has spawned numerous variations and spin-offs, such as:

  • Phone Guy Meme
  • Broken Headphones Meme
  • Guy with Weird Head Meme
  • Singing Phone Guy Meme
  • Guy with Hands on His Head Meme
  • Guy with Airpods Cropped Meme

This diversity of related memes and variations demonstrates the meme’s malleability, allowing it to be adapted and repurposed for various contexts and scenarios, further fueling its viral spread.

Beyond the realm of memes, the “Taking Off Headphones” template has also found applications in other areas. For instance, newcomers to the world of soccer can leverage resources like playing FIFA 23 and listening to the ’22 Goals’ podcast to gain context and historical background, enhancing their understanding and appreciation of the meme’s origins. Moreover, the meme’s ties to the FIFA World Cup have opened up opportunities for fans to engage with the event by choosing a team to support, whether it’s their home country, an underdog team, or a star player seeking their first World Cup win.

Cultural Impact and Relevance

The “Taking Off Headphones” meme has transcended its origins and gained significant cultural relevance, particularly within the TikTok and music communities. Its impact can be observed through various aspects:

  • Widespread Adoption on TikTok: The meme has become a ubiquitous presence on TikTok, with users frequently referencing it in the comments section of related videos. Comments like “Aye Meme,” “Putting on Headphones Meme,” and “Listening Headphones Meme” highlight the meme’s recognition and integration into the platform’s culture.
  • Ecosystem of Related Memes: The meme has inspired the creation of numerous related memes and content, such as the “Headphones on Fire Meme,” “Guy with Headphones Meme,” “Cropped Headphones Meme,” “Vecna Headphones Meme,” “Headphone Meme,” and “Headphone Meme Song”. This ecosystem of meme-related content demonstrates the meme’s versatility and its ability to resonate with diverse audiences.
  • Music Community Engagement: The meme has gained particular traction within the music community on TikTok. For instance, the video posted by user “wolfacejoeyy,” tagged with hashtags like “#wolfacejoeyy,” “#viral,” “#meme,” “#jerseyclub,” and “#fypシ”, showcases the meme’s relevance in music-related content. The comments on this video, discussing the release of other songs and expressing excitement, further highlight the meme’s cultural impact within this community.

The prevalence of these related memes, the enthusiastic reactions from viewers in the comments section, and the meme’s integration into various content genres suggest that the “Taking Off Headphones” meme has become a widely recognized and culturally significant phenomenon, transcending its origins and resonating with diverse audiences across various platforms and communities.


The “Taking Off Headphones” meme has undoubtedly carved its place in the ever-evolving landscape of internet culture. Its relatable nature and versatility have allowed it to transcend its origins, resonating with diverse audiences across multiple platforms. From music enthusiasts on TikTok to soccer fans captivated by the meme’s FIFA World Cup origins, its impact continues to reverberate, sparking creativity and fostering connections within various communities.

While the meme’s origins may have been rooted in a specific moment, its longevity lies in its ability to adapt and evolve, reflecting the dynamic nature of internet culture itself. As new trends and memes emerge, the “Taking Off Headphones” meme serves as a testament to the enduring power of relatable expressions and shared experiences, a reminder that the viral world of memes is ever-changing, yet grounded in the universal human experience.


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Sophia Davis

My initial goal to shield my daughter from the danger of having ear phone constantly has evolved into a commitment to share my findings with wildest community possible to know sharing different knowledge and expert on audio technologies. As the risk of exposure continues to grow, numerous methods technology exist to safeguard ourselves. Knowledge is power, the more you know the better you become.

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