It’s Time to Relive the Best Celebrity Meltdowns on ‘Hot Ones’

As someone who doesn’t particularly like hot sauce, I’ve often wondered why celebrities like Jennifer Lawrence and Chrissy Teigen would agree to go on Hot Ones, a show that challenges them to eat increasingly (!!) hot (!!!) wings while answering probing questions about their lives and careers. Host Sean Evans is cute, but he’s not cute enough to risk my health! That said, I’m selfishly glad A-listers love going on the show because rewatching the best Hot Ones episodes is one of life’s greatest simple pleasures.

Of course, not every celeb starts crying/sobbing/throwing up as they jump up the Scoville scale (a scale that measures the heat of spicy foods). The YouTube show originally premiered in 2015 and has produced over 300 episodes featuring everyone from Khloe Kardashian to Pedro Pascal. Some celebs are more composed than others, but when narrowing down the very best Hot Ones episodes, it’s obvious that celeb freakouts are the *real* secret sauce of the show. So, yes, this is a list of the 25 best Hot Ones episodes, but it’s also a list of some of the best celebrity meltdowns ever captured on camera. And I think that’s beautiful.

Conan O’Brien

It took about five minutes for Conan O’Brien’s Hot Ones interview to go completely off the rails. The comedian was so committed, he poured Da’ Bomb on a chicken wing and licked it straight off the meat. You can see Conan’s life flash before his eyes with every bite thereafter, especially when he starts pouring sauce on his hands and rubbing it all over his face. It’s truly a ride, and will go down in history as one of the most unhinged episodes of Hot Ones ever.

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Idris Elba

Idris Elba started out feeling confident, but by the time he got to Da’ Bomb, the spice was really starting to kick in. By the next bite, he was challenging the show’s creator to a fight. The cherry on top? The episode was sponsored by Tums.

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Paul Rudd

Without Paul Rudd’s Hot Ones, the Internet would never have the “Look at us” meme, and that’s just tragic. Evans and Paul did a Hot Ones first, combining all the hot sauces into a puddle of spice for that last dab. The result left both in tears.

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Viola Davis

EGOT winner Viola Davis has accomplished a lot in her life, but all those accolades pale in comparison to beating the spice gauntlet on Hot Ones. OK, not really, but her episode is definitely award-worthy. The way she is able to remain thoughtful while those sauces burn her tongue off is truly a marvel.

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Jennifer Lawrence

Another meme-inspiring episode, Jennifer Lawrence’s Hot Ones is probably the most relatable. If I ever tried Da’ Bomb, I would also start panicking and sobbing uncontrollably. J. Law is truly one of us!

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Shaquille O’Neal

Shaq’s Hot Ones episode is a meme GOLDMINE. The faces he makes as he eats his way through the wings of death are truly *chef’s kiss*. And there’s something comforting about the knowledge that even a man as big and tough as Shaq can be taken down by a few shakes of Da’ Bomb.

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Cardi B

Watching Cardi B eat hot wings while explaining why she doesn’t think aliens exist and waxing poetic about her trip to visit FDR’s house is a beautiful experience. There’s just no one else like her.

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*NSYNC

The *NSYNC episode of Hot Ones was great because it filmed during the SAG strike of 2023, so they weren’t allowed to mention that they were reuniting for the Trolls Band Together movie. Instead, the interview focused on the band’s dynamics, which made it so much more funny to see who was affected by the sauces and who kept it cool.

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Keke Palmer

TBH, I wouldn’t trust anyone who doesn’t have a crush on Keke Palmer, which is why I was very pleased to hear Sean Evans admit he had a crush on the star during his appearance on Chicken Shop Date. Watching her second appearance on the show, it’s obvious the two have chemistry. And though she didn’t have a meltdown, she didn’t have it easy either!

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Pedro Pascal

Internet Daddy Pedro Pascal has famously died many times on screen, but he did survive Hot Ones—barely. Fans of the show will appreciate his innovative strategies of gargling milk to coat his throat and grabbing ice out of his pitcher of water and holding it up to his forehead in a desperate attempt to stay cool. 10/10 attempts were made!

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Key & Peele

I swear you haven’t lived until you’ve seen Keegan Michael-Key, tears in his eyes, begging Jordan Peele not to do the final dab. Finally, someone brave enough to vocalize what I yell at the screen every time I watch this show. Sean Evans always reminds guests that they don’t have to do the final dab, but they almost always do, and I simply cannot relate.

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Jenna Ortega

After watching Jenna Ortega remain thoroughly unfazed on Hot Ones, I’m convinced there is nothing she can’t do. Not even Da’ Bomb could shake her. Yes, her eyes watered, but she never lost her composure. A spice queen!

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Post Malone

This 2016 episode featuring a pre-face tattooed Post Malone is one of Hot One‘s most viewed interviews on YouTube, and it’s easy to see why. Post Malone’s charm is on full display as he powers through the spicy wings, wears sunglasses upside down, and explains the word “sauce” to Sean. His 2023 episode is also pretty good, but it’s good to see where it all started.

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Florence Pugh

Florence Pugh’s love of cooking couldn’t save her from the wings of death. She gets delirious and sweaty (my nightmare combo, TBH) as the Scoville level goes up, episode with a “burnt tongue” and very spicy hands.

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Jeff Goldblum

Zaddy Jeff Goldblum always gives delight interviews, and his Hot Ones episode is no exception. Not even bitting into Da’ Bomb (a traditional turning point in the show) can stop this man from being his charming, oddball self.

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Amelia Dimoldenberg

Sean Evans welcomed Chicken Shop Date host Amelia Dimoldenberg for a much-demanded crossover event in 2023. Seeing the two chicken talk show hosts together for the first time was huge for fans, who also loved Evans’ appearance on Chicken Shop Date.

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Gordon Ramsay

Celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay kicked off his Hot Ones episode by criticizing the chicken wings, but he didn’t stay cocky for long. There is something so satisfying about watching a man who made his name yelling at people on national television turn the color of a tomato as his insides get burned up by hot sauce. 10/10 would recommend.

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Aubrey Plaza

Aubrey Plaza unlocked a brand new strategy to deal with the pain of Hot Ones: pouring milk straight down her nose. It wasn’t pretty, it was definitely a better life choice than when she rubbed her eyes a few minutes later. RIP Aubrey Plaza’s eyeballs.

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Dan Levy

Dan Levy appeared on one of Hot Ones‘COVID lockdown episodes, which were filmed via video chat. As the Scoville level increased, so did his delirium, which kind of mirrors the lockdown experience in general, don’t you think?

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Kieran Culkin

I’m gonna go out on a limb and say that Succession‘s Roman Roy would never survive Hot Ones. Kieran Culkin, however, made it out pretty gracefully with only a handful of F-bombs.

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Cate Blanchett

Look, is it wild that two-time Oscar winner Cate Blanchett appeared on Hot Ones to promote Tár? Yes, but it’s also kind of perfect because I am convinced that Lydia Tár would absolutely crush the wings of death. She’s way too determined to let some hot sauce take her down. (That’s what the [redacted spoiler] is for!)

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The Jonas Brothers

If you’re a fan of the JoBros, then you know that Kevin, Joe, and Nick Jonas can get pretty competitive, which is what makes the band’s Hot Ones episode so, so good. Each bite becomes a challenge, including the last dab, and it has some hilarious consequences.

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Billie Eilish

Billie Eilish started out strong, but barely made it through the last few wings on Hot Ones. At one point, she started just grabbing handfuls of ice from the water pitcher and chewing ice cubes. Not the worst strategy, IMO.

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Elijah Wood

Elijah Wood made one tragic mistake during his episode on Hot Ones, which is that he put an extra big last dab on his last chicken wing. But he also did something very smart, which is he turned the last dab question onto Sean, asking him about the history behind the last dab. So instead of having to answer a question while his face melts off, he got to listen. Brilliant.

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Al Roker

OK, I’ll admit, this episode is really only here because I personally just love that Al Roker ever appeared on Hot Ones. It’s just delightful and feels kind of like a fever dream. At one point, he starts roasting a cameraman for his yellow stripped shirt. What a world!

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Maya Rudolph as Molly Novak in Loot

And as a bonus: This isn’t a complete Hot Ones episode, but Sean Evans’ Hot Ones cameo on Maya Rudolph’s AppleTV+ show Loot isjust too good not to include. I have never related to anyone more.

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