In addition to being useful in culinary pursuits and generally delicious, hot peppers have always had an amusing place in pop culture and entertainment. This stems from the simple fact that they combine pain and pleasure about as effectively as anything else on Earth. Even people who love hot peppers are frequently made miserable by them in one way or another, resulting in this curiously accurate statement: we voluntarily eat things that we hate to eat. Spicy things excite us, intrigue us, and make us laugh, and this has been taken advantage of in movies, games, advertisements, and elsewhere over the years.
Let’s take a look at some fun examples.
1. The Iconic Dumb And Dumber Scene
If you’re not a fan of Dumb And Dumber, I’m not sure we can be friends. Regardless, if you ever saw this intentionally and brilliantly idiotic comedy starring Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels, you might remember the scene in which they try “atomic peppers” at a roadside diner. Suffice it to say, they end up blasting themselves with ketchup and mustard in an attempt to numb the burn (and one of the other characters nearly dies from consumption, though granted he accidentally eats rat poison also). The Daily Dot counted it as one of the 20 best moments from the iconic comedy.
2. The ALS Pepper Challenge
It might be a little bit odd to include an ALS benefit as “entertainment,” but in a way that was the point. This was a viral social media phenomenon started by NBA writer Tom Haberstroh, and mimicked the famous Ice Bucket Challenge of 2014. Basically, people challenged each other to eat really spicy peppers, and celebrities started posting videos doing it. It was a great cause (you’re supposed to donate to ALS-related causes once you eat your pepper), but there’s also something undeniably enjoyable about watching famous people – or really, anyone – eating extremely spicy foods.
3. Jackie Chan’s Fight In Project A Part II
If you haven’t seen the movie (it’s ridiculous, but kind of fun – about what you expect from a Jackie Chan flick), I’ll make this one simple: he’s in a tough fight, and to gain an edge he chomps up a handful of spicy peppers and spits the juice out onto his knuckles. Supposedly Chan actually did this, which makes it even more entertaining. Also, can you think of something much harsher than being punched in the face by a Kung Fu master slinging spicy pepper juice?
4. Chilli Gold Mobile Game
This one’s a little tamer than spicy fits fights, but merits mention as an example of how even the vague theme of hot peppers can be alluring. Chilli Gold Mobile is a slot-style video game that “takes you to your Mexican restaurant” and embraces all kinds of themes of traditional Mexican flavors, including the spicy ones. That’s really about all it is, but if you like Mexican restaurants it’s surprisingly engaging, and might just give you a craving for some chile relleno.
5. Hot Pepper Gaming
This one might be my personal favorite, even though it looks kind of dumb at first glance. The idea is to elevate YouTube video game reviews via painful honesty – which of course is best brought about through the ingestion of incredibly hot peppers. Vaguely reminiscent of Hot Ones, the online show in which celebrities are interviewed while eating extremely spicy wings, it turns otherwise dull game reviews into short videos that will almost definitely make you laugh.