Keyboard Cat

Keyboard Cat

Part of a series on Cats. [View Related Entries]

Updated Jul 27, 2020 at 10:13AM EDT by Y F.

Added May 14, 2009 at 04:14PM EDT by Jamie Dubs.

PROTIP: Press 'i' to view the image gallery, 'v' to view the video gallery, or 'r' to view a random entry.

Featured Episode

About

Keyboard Cat is the nickname given to an orange tabby cat named Fatso, filmed in the mid-1980s by his owner, Charlie Schmidt.[1] It has been used as an indicator of failure on forums and communities. Later, after the internet went viral, Schmidt adopted another cat named Bento, who would assume the mantle of "Keyboard Cat" in media appearances.

Origin

The original VHS footage of Fatso was recorded by performance artist Charlie Schmidt in 1984. He put the cat in a shirt belonging to his son Cody and manipulated his paws to make the cat appear to be playing the keyboard. On June 7th, 2007, Schmidt uploaded the video to his YouTube channel[2], originally titled "Cool Cat" where it sat in relative obscurity for another two years.



On February 2nd, 2009, YouTuber / blogger Brad O'Farrell[3] posted a mashup video of a man falling down an escalator[4] with Schmidt's cat, entitled "Play him off, Keyboard Cat." The idea of "playing someone off" came from the trope of "giving someone the hook"[5] for a bad performance, a technique from Vaudeville shows.[6] The original video has since been taken down from the original channel, but has been reuploaded by other users.[7] According to The Guardian's report, the original video was in fact produced decades ago and the cat died in 1987.

Spread

Following Brad O'Farrell's original upload, many viewers created their own mashups, adding Fatso's footage to the best of FAIL videos on YouTube[8] and other video sharing sites. On April 6th, 2009, Schmidt created PlayHimOffKeyboardCat.com[9], a blog to host videos and images of the cat. On April 10th 2009, the video was featured on Buzzfeed[10] and Urlesque[11], which was the first site to call it a meme. On April 18th, Keyboard Cat was defined on Urban Dictionary.[12] On May 5th, 2009, Ashton Kutcher tweeted[13] a link to a mashup[14][15], calling it his favorite video. At the time, he had over 1 million followers, bringing major attention to Fatso.



Media Coverage

Throughout the month of May, the video was featured in a segment on CNN[16] and various news sites, including the Guardian[17], the Los Angeles Times[18], and MSNBC[19]. Fatso reached an even larger audience when the "Keyboard Cat" song was featured on the May 18th, 2009 episode of the Daily Show.

Bento

Fatso passed away in 1987. After the original video went viral, Schmidt began using Bento as the keyboard cat in subsequent media appearances.

In November 2010, the Keyboard Cat video was recreated as a commercial for Wonderful Pistachios during the Major League Baseball World Series[22]. In February 2011, Keyboard Cat was the subject of a Banksy-inspired spoof entitled "Exit Through the Pet Shop."[20] Made by Fatso's owner, it showed the story of Bento[21], a distant relative of the original cat.



Bento was included in a list published by The Guardian[27] of the Ten Best Cats on the Internet.
On March 17th, 2018, The Spokesman-Review[23] reported that Bento has passed away at the age of 9. The death was covered by major media outlets including Consequence of Sound,[24] Mashable,[25] and Twitter Moments.[26] Twitter users reacted to the news with tributes to Bento (examples shown below).


natsom @NatSom3 Follow KEYBOARD CAT DIED DONT SPEAK TO ME FOR THE NEXT 5 DAYS 2:51 AM-19 Mar 2018 Ursula Lawrence @UrsulaLawrence Follow l used to think it was terrible that there was a new Keyboard Cat but now I get that it's more of a Dalai Lama kind of thing. 12:36 AM-19 Mar 2018

Notable Examples

The popularity of Keyboard Cat led to a series of mash-up videos featuring some of the better known FAIL videos. For more examples, browse KYM video gallery.



Parodies

There are numerous parodies and re-enactment tributes as well, including one starring actor Ron Livingston.



Fanart & Merchandise

A wide range of fan art and merchandises have since emerged, including paintings, tee-shirts, and even a Halloween costume worn by Brad O'Farrell in 2009. A battery-operated toy doll resembling Fatso was introduced in October 2011.


w Your Me esque osing bitfthe web ่น•" eakway rom the mic to Purr
XING


Search Interest

Search for Keyboard Cat was meager in April 2009 but peaked in May 2009 when coverage of the video hit the mainstream media.

External References

[1] CharlieSchmidt.com โ€“ Home

[2] YouTube โ€“ chuckieart

[3] YouTube โ€“ BradOFarrell

[4] YouTube โ€“ Wheelchair Escalator Accident

[5] Tv Tropes โ€“ Vaudeville Hook

[6] Wikipedia โ€“ Vaudeville

[7] YouTube โ€“ Wheelchair Vs. Escalator / Keyboard Cat

[8] YouTube โ€“ search results for "Play Him Off Keyboard Cat"

[9] Play Him Off Keyboard Cat โ€“ Home

[10] Buzzfeed โ€“ Play Him Off Keyboard Cat

[11] Urlesque โ€“ Breaking: Play Him Off, Keyboard Cat Is Our New Obsession

[12] Urban Dictionary โ€“ Keyboard Cat

[13] Twitter โ€“ Ashton Kutcher's Keyboard Cat tweet

[14] Buzzfeed โ€“ Telling Your Mom You're An Atheist

[15] YouTube โ€“ Play him off, keyboard cat

[16] CNN โ€“ Keyboard cat

[17] The Guardian โ€“ Internet review: Play Him Off, Keyboard Cat

[18] Los Angeles Times โ€“ Social Status: The guy who spread Keyboard Cat fever

[19] MSNBC โ€“ 'Keyboard Catโ€™ takes Web, TV by storm

[20] Urlesque โ€“ Keyboard Cat Stars in 'Exit Through The Pet Shop,' A Banksy Spoof

[21] Urlesque โ€“ Keyboard Cat Reincarnated

[22] Videogum โ€“ Keyboard Catโ€™s World Series Broadcast Commercial For Pistachios

[23] Spokesman-Review โ€“ Keyboard Cat, an internet sensation and local celebrity, dies

[24] Consequence of Sound โ€“ R.I.P. Bento, the Keyboard Cat

[25] Mashable โ€“ Bento, the Keyboard Cat, has died aged 9

[26] Twitter Moments โ€“ Bento the synth-playing Keyboard Cat has died

[27] The Guardian โ€“ The 10 best cats on the internet

Recent Videos 45 total

Recent Images 57 total


Top Comments


+ Add a Comment

Comments (89)


Display Comments

Add a Comment


Namaste! You must login or signup first!