Do You Know This Man?

SMG_ Promote.jpgThey call him Smiling Cigar Guy. He's been all around the internet in the past five days. I saw him with the Beatles crossing Abbey Road, standing behind Muhummad Ali as he KO'ed Sonny Liston, looking on as Oswald took Jack Ruby's bullet.

He's a meme in the same way Sad Keanu was a meme or keyboard cat was a meme: a viral joke, an odd image that enjoys a sudden and temporary burst of improvisation. Digital copying and editing makes it easy for anyone to have a go at the guy and pass the joke along.

No one knows who Smiling Cigar Guy really is, and right now the British tabloids are desperate to find him. But we do know where he comes from. He was first spotted in a photograph published by the Daily Mail in the UK. It's that golf action photo above of Tiger Woods with a crowd around him as he chips a ball right at the lens of the camera. The picture is kind of spectacular so at first you don't notice the bizarre, pop-eyed presence of the guy on the right in a ginger wig with a cigar jammed in his smiling face. But then he's all you see. Look!

smg crop white promote.jpgThe fact that Smiling Cigar Guy slipped unnoticed into this public scene is what makes it so much fun to imagine him in other prominent places:  Nuremberg, The White House, onstage with Britney.

On Day 6 we take you Behind the Meme. We talk to Mark Pain, the photographer who snapped the original shot. Here's his site.  And here's a collection of some of our favourite Smiling Cigar Guy pics. Feel free to add your own. Just use your imagination and meme away!

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