TikTok users are joking about Ed Sheeran sightings by filming their red-headed friends in a viral meme trend

·3 min read
Ed Sheeran
Ed Sheeran. Jeff Spicer / Stringer / Getty Images
  • A new Ed Sheeran meme is taking over TikTok ahead of the singer's new single "Bad Habits."

  • The meme involves saying that you've run into Sheeran and then showing a red-haired friend.

  • Ed Sheeran previously became a TikTok meme after asking for singing duets on the app.

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Ed Sheeran has once again become a TikTok meme, this time in the lead-up to his upcoming single "Bad Habits."

TikTok users are dramatically pretending that they've run into the "Shape of You" singer, before cutting to footage of a friend, family member, or cat with red hair, referencing Sheeran's famous hair color.

If you're wondering if the joke is really just as simple as saying that every person with red hair looks like Ed Sheeran - it is.

"OMG GUYS!!!" TikTok user @brooklyn.taylor1219 wrote in the on-screen caption on a video. "Ed Sheeran is eating dinner at my house."

The video then cuts to footage of a child with red hair looking into the camera.

The trend involves joking that Sheeran appeared at your dinner table, at your home, in your bed, or swimming in your pool, before panning to a friend or family member with red hair.

Users spreading the meme use a sound originally uploaded by TikTok user @chickenfingergals, who posted a video on March 29 that plays the first few beats of a different TikTok sound uploaded by @jordanaudiozz (a remix of Lil Uzi Vert's "The Way it Goes"), before abruptly cutting to Sheeran's "Shape of You."

It's unclear exactly who started the trend, though it appears to date back to at least mid-May, with posts published as early as May 20 following this structure.

Since then, the trend has continued to grow, picking up steam in June. Many of the top videos associated with the sound have been posted in the past week and are no longer limited to simply people with red hair. Now, an orange swim cap, or even an orange suitcase, is fair game.

@nikooef

He’s got more cubic face shape than I thought tho

♬ This was a joke - average chicken finger enjoyer

This isn't the first time Sheeran has become a meme on TikTok. In December 2020, the singer posted a video earnestly asking for singing duets on his single "Afterglow." In February, people began posting duets, but they weren't singing: instead, they were playing the tuba, riffing on the guitar, or hacking away at a snare drum, drowning out Sheeran's voice in the process.

As Insider previously reported, it was an early indicator that Sheeran was joining the ranks of fellow TikTok meme villains like Lin Manuel-Miranda (whose lip-biting selfies became a TikTok bait-and-switch meme) and Matthew Morrison, who played Will Schuster on the television show "Glee."

The current Sheeran meme cycle also plays into a long tradition of a specific dislike for the famed singer. As Joel Golby wrote for Vice UK in 2018, Sheeran's "inoffensiveness is what makes him offensive." Certain facets of Sheeran's public appearance - like his relatively nondescript fashion sense, or the fact that he posted a picture of his cat to celebrate winning two Grammys rather than accepting them in person - have led to people despising him online for no good reason, Golby explained.

The fact that Sheeran does look like an average guy (with the exception of his recent teaser photos for new single "Bad Habits," which are quite a bit more melodramatic) is part of the joke of the current TikTok meme: If Ed Sheeran looks like Ed Sheeran, anyone can look like Ed Sheeran.

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