The Horse Head Meme Met The President: Has It Jumped The Shark?

We asked the dude who sells them.

So the horse head meme may have just jumped the shark (so many animals…). Tuesday night, a man in Denver, Colorado, shook hands with U.S. President Barack Obama while sheathed in equine-shaped rubber, therefore throwing the phenomena squarely into the middle of the mainstream.

The saga of the horse head meme is a strange one. According to David Wahl of Seattle-based novelty dealer Archie McPhee & Co., they helped the trend flourish. Originally, he told MTV News, the mask was an off-the-shelf factory item created some time in the early ’90s.

“It sat there and didn’t sell, and then we kind of discovered it and we thought that it would connect with our special brand of weirdo that likes our stuff,” Wahl said, adding that Archie McPhee started importing the mask in the early ’00s.

“We marketed it as not a Halloween mask but a dash of surrealness in your day,” he said. “That’s when it kind of exploded.”

By “exploded” he means that it became an Internet craze — especially on sites like reddit. Some of the mask’s weirder appearances — like in the videos of a Japanese performance artist known Wotaken, according to Know Your Meme — may be a bit too obscure for the average Internet lurker. However, you’ve probably heard of Dobbin Horsome of Aberdeen, Scotland, who appeared in the mask on Google Maps. You might also have seen Jimmy Kruyne of Washington, DC, jogging by in the horsey head during a newscast about Hurricane Sandy in 2012. Tom Green also once donned the mask.

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