2020 Election
October 8, 2020 12:49 AM EDT

Here’s the thing: 2020 is hard and there hasn’t been a ton of joy to bring around smiles. People have been grasping for any little thing that brings them happiness and lightens the moment.

Which is part of the reason why when a fly landed on Vice President Mike Pence’s head during the vice presidential debate on Wednesday night, everyone buzzed about it.

Watch it come in for the landing:

This wasn’t just a short visit either. The little guy hung on for a while. (For about two minutes and two seconds. Yes we timed it, you’re welcome.)

People watch the debate between Vice President Mike Pence and Democratic vice-presidential nominee Sen. Kamala Harris outside a tavern in San Diego, Calif., on Oct. 7, 2020.
Mike Blake—Reuters

If Sen. Kamala Harris, the Democratic vice presidential candidate, or moderator Susan Page noticed, they did not say anything, but they were likely very focused on what Pence was actually saying.

It’s hard to separate the moment from Pence’s words: At the time, Pence was calling it an “insult” to law enforcement to presume that systemic racism and bias against Black people by police exist. The Trump Administration has repeatedly touted law and order instead of trying to empathize with the racial justice protests that have been widespread this year, even as that systemic racism has repeatedly been laid bare, including with the recent deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor.

Read more: Mike Pence’s Vice Presidential Debate Lecture to Kamala Harris Isn’t Likely to Help Trump With Women

But obviously, people outside the room immediately took note of what was happening, including Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who tweeted that the “election is fly-ing by. Make sure to make a plan to vote.” The Biden campaign immediately saw an opportunity to fundraise and swooped in.


A Twitter account named Mike Pence’s Fly had more than 78,000 followers on Twitter shortly after the debate ended. Its Twitter bio was “I’m a fly.”

Read more:The Biggest Moments of the Vice Presidential Debate

People were already speculating about who would be cast as the fly on Saturday Night Live alongside Beck Bennett as Pence.

And of course, there were many, many, many puns.

Thank you, fly, for helping the debate fly by.

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Write to Lissandra Villa at lissandra.villa@time.com.

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