Keyboard Cat

Keyboard Cat

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Keyboard Cat is an Internet meme
Internet meme
The term Internet meme is used to describe a concept that spreads via the Internet. The term is a reference to the concept of memes, although the latter concept refers to a much broader category of cultural information.-Description:...

. It consists of footage from 1984 of "Fatso", a cat owned by Charlie Schmidt of Spokane, Washington
Spokane, Washington
Spokane is a city located in the Northwestern United States in the state of Washington. It is the largest city of Spokane County of which it is also the county seat, and the metropolitan center of the Inland Northwest region...

, wearing a blue shirt (belonging to Schmidt's son Cody, who was a baby at the time) and "playing" an upbeat rhythm on an electronic keyboard
Electronic keyboard
An electronic keyboard is an electronic or digital keyboard instrument.The major components of a typical modern electronic keyboard are:...

. In reality, Fatso (who lived until 1987) was manipulated by Schmidt. The video of Fatso was posted to YouTube
YouTube is a video-sharing website, created by three former PayPal employees in February 2005, on which users can upload, view and share videos....

 under the title "charlie schmidt's cool cats" in June 2007.

Later, Brad O'Farrell obtained Schmidt's permission to reuse the footage, appending to the end of a blooper
A blooper, also known as an outtake or boner is a short sequence of a film or video production, usually a deleted scene, containing a mistake made by a member of the cast or crew. It also refers to an error made during a live radio or TV broadcast or news report, usually in terms of misspoken words...

 video to "play" that person offstage after the mistake or gaffe in a similar manner as getting the hook in the days of vaudeville
Vaudeville was a theatrical genre of variety entertainment in the United States and Canada from the early 1880s until the early 1930s. Each performance was made up of a series of separate, unrelated acts grouped together on a common bill...

. The appending of Schmidt's video to other blooper and other viral video
Viral video
A viral video is one that becomes popular through the process of Internet sharing, typically through video sharing websites, social media and email...

s became popular, with such videos usually accompanied with the title Play Him Off, Keyboard Cat or a variant. "Keyboard cat" was ranked #2 on Current.TV's list of 50 Greatest Viral Videos.


The first such "Keyboard Cat" video, entitled "Play Him Off, Keyboard Cat" was created by Brad O'Farrell, who both secured Schmidt's permission to use footage and asked Schmidt to allow anyone to use the footage with or without permission. Over four thousand such videos now exist, with a website created to collect them.

Broadcast appearances

Keyboard Cat was further popularized by Stephen Colbert
Stephen Colbert
Stephen Tyrone Colbert is an American political satirist, writer, comedian, television host, and actor. He is the host of Comedy Central's The Colbert Report, a satirical news show in which Colbert portrays a caricatured version of conservative political pundits.Colbert originally studied to be an...

 on May 18, 2009, during a "toss" with The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. At the 2009 MTV Movie Awards
MTV Movie Awards
The MTV Movie Awards is a film awards show presented annually on MTV . It also contains movie parodies that used official movie footage with hosts and other celebrities and music performances. The nominees are decided by producers and executives at MTV. Winners are decided online by the general...

, Andy Samberg
Andy Samberg
David Andrew "Andy" Samberg is an American actor, comedian, rapper and writer best known as a member of the comedy group The Lonely Island and as a cast member on Saturday Night Live...

's opening monologue suggested that award winners whose speech went on too long would be played off by Keyboard Cat. In the Nintendo DS
Nintendo DS
The is a portable game console produced by Nintendo, first released on November 21, 2004. A distinctive feature of the system is the presence of two separate LCD screens, the lower of which is a touchscreen, encompassed within a clamshell design, similar to the Game Boy Advance SP...

 game, Scribblenauts
Scribblenauts is an emergent puzzle action video game developed by 5th Cell for the Nintendo DS published by WB Games. The game was released September 15, 2009 in North America, September 30, 2009 in Australia, and October 9, 2009 in Europe. Konami released the game in Japan under the name on...

, in which the player can summon numerous objects to assist in solving puzzles, Keyboard Cat appears as one of several possible Internet memes that can be called up in the game. The timing of the popularity of the Keyboard Cat meme with the 2009 Electronic Entertainment Expo Convention was considered partially responsible for Scribblenauts success during the convention. An easter egg
Easter egg
Easter eggs are special eggs that are often given to celebrate Easter or springtime.The oldest tradition is to use dyed or painted chicken eggs, but a modern custom is to substitute chocolate eggs, or plastic eggs filled with confectionery such as jelly beans...

 in Activision Blizzard
Activision Blizzard
Activision Blizzard, Inc., formerly Activision, Inc. is the American holding company for Activision and Blizzard Entertainment. The company is majority owned by French conglomerate Vivendi SA and was created through the merger of Activision and Vivendi Games, announced on December 2, 2007, in a...

's announcement for World of Warcraft: Cataclysm
World of Warcraft: Cataclysm
World of Warcraft: Cataclysm is the third expansion pack for the massively multiplayer online role-playing game World of Warcraft, following the last expansion Wrath of the Lich King. It was officially announced at BlizzCon on August 21, 2009, although dataminers and researchers discovered details...

 reveals the game's antagonist, Deathwing, playing a keyboard with the text "Keyboard Cataclysm: Play 'em Off, Deathwing". A teaser video from Ubisoft
Ubisoft Entertainment S.A. is a major French video game publisher and developer, with headquarters in Montreuil, France. The company has a worldwide presence with 25 studios in 17 countries and subsidiaries in 26 countries....

 for its video game Splinter Cell: Conviction
Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Conviction
Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Conviction is an action-adventure stealth game, developed by Ubisoft Montreal. Key members of the Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six: Vegas team, such as creative director Maxime Béland, also worked on the game...

, entitled "Play Him Off, Keyboard Sam" parodies the Keyboard Cat theme. Kato Kaelin
Kato Kaelin
Brian Jerard "Kato" Kaelin is an American radio and television personality who gained fame as a witness during the 1994–95 murder trial of O. J. Simpson.-Personal life:...

 also spoofed Keyboard Cat in a segment of Tosh.0
Tosh.0 is an American television series hosted by comedian Daniel Tosh, who provides sarcastic commentary on online video clips, society, celebrities, and other parts of popular culture.-History:...

 entitled "Keyboard Kato" in the series first episode. The Xbox Live Arcade
Xbox Live Arcade
Xbox Live Arcade is a type of video game download distribution available primarily in a section of the Xbox Live Marketplace, Microsoft's digital distribution network for the Xbox 360, that focuses on smaller downloadable games from both major publishers and independent game developers...

 remake of Earthworm Jim
Earthworm Jim
Earthworm Jim is a run and gun platform video game starring an earthworm named Jim in a robotic suit who battles evil. Created by Doug TenNapel and designed by David Perry, the game was developed by Shiny Entertainment and Playmates Interactive Entertainment, released by Sega for the Mega...

 includes additional content, including one boss character inspired by Keyboard Cat. A television advertisement for Wonderful Pistachios features Bento, Charlie Schmidt's current Keyboard Cat, cracking one of the nuts during the song. In the Mad
Mad (TV series)
MAD is an American animated sketch comedy series created by Kevin Shinick and produced by Warner Bros. Animation. Based upon the magazine of the same name, each episode is a collection of short animated parodies of television shows, movies, games, celebrities and other media using various types of...

 episode "Avaturd/CSiCarly," Keyboard Cat is shown to be the music leader of the Na'Vi alongside other famous blue characters in a spoof of the James Cameron film Avatar.

Other memes

The Keyboard Cat meme has been integrated into other memes. An 8-bit
History of video game consoles (third generation)
In the history of computer and video games, the third generation began on July 15, 1983, with the Japanese release of both the Nintendo Family Computer and Sega SG-1000...

 version of both the cat and the song have been created. Online clothing vendor Threadless
Threadless is an online community of artists and an e-commerce website based in Chicago, Illinois since 2000. Co-founders Jake Nickell and Jacob DeHart started the company with $1,000 in seed money after entering an Internet t-shirt design contest....

 sells a "Three Keyboard Cat Moon" t-shirt based on the infamous Three Wolf Moon
Three Wolf Moon
Three Wolf Moon is a T-shirt featuring three wolves howling at the moon printed by the company The Mountain. The numerous false and misleading reviews for this on have become an Internet phenomenon...

 design; the shirt design was one of the most popular designs that the company has had, and they have had difficulties in meeting the demand for the shirt. The shirt appeared in a television ad for the release of the PlayStation 3 Slim game console. G4TV's Attack of the Show held a "Great American Keyboard Cat Competition" to give viewers a chance to create their own Keyboard Cat-inspired art, with over one hundred pieces submitted. Several of the top works from this were given to the charity Kitten Rescue to be auctioned off through eBay
eBay Inc. is an American internet consumer-to-consumer corporation that manages, an online auction and shopping website in which people and businesses buy and sell a broad variety of goods and services worldwide...

. The MLB AL East Champion Tampa Bay Rays
Tampa Bay Rays
The Tampa Bay Rays are a Major League Baseball team based in St. Petersburg, Florida. The Rays are a member of the Eastern Division of MLB's American League. Since their inception in , the club has played at Tropicana Field...

 used a variation known as "Rays Keyboard Kitty" (they also had one called "DJ Kitty") to rouse the crowd during its late season run, using a similar cat in Rays gear in several segments. On April first, 2011 YouTube released a video showing the "Top 5 Viral Pictures of 1911", including a parody of the Keyboard Cat titled "Flugelhorn Feline".

In one notable example, Keyboard Cat was appended to the end of a segment of Desperate Lives
Desperate Lives
Desperate Lives is a 1982 made-for-TV film about drug use in a high school. The film has a very strong anti-drug message.-Plot summary:The Cameron family seems, on the surface, to be the perfect family, but things are not as they seem...

, a 1980s made-for-TV movie starring Helen Hunt
Helen Hunt
Helen Elizabeth Hunt is an American actress, film director, and screenwriter. She starred in the sitcom Mad About You for seven years, before being cast in the romantic comedy As Good as It Gets...

 showing the effects of drug use (with Keyboard Cat starting after Hunt's character falls out a window and suffers from overdosing); after the video, the submitter then superimposed Keyboard Cat in the music video for Hall & Oates
Hall & Oates
Hall & Oates are an American musical duo composed of Daryl Hall and John Oates. They achieved their greatest fame in the late 1970s and early to mid-1980s. Both sing and play instruments. They specialized in a fusion of rock and roll and rhythm and blues styles, which they dubbed "rock and soul."...

' "You Make My Dreams
You Make My Dreams
"You Make My Dreams" is a 1980 single by Hall & Oates from their album Voices. The song reached number five on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1981...

". The music video segment has been called jokingly by some as the "greatest music video ever." While the video still exists at YouTube
YouTube is a video-sharing website, created by three former PayPal employees in February 2005, on which users can upload, view and share videos....

, copyright issues with Warner Music Group
Warner Music Group
Warner Music Group is the third largest business group and family of record labels in the recording industry, making it one of the big four record companies...

 have forced YouTube to disable the audio from the video. The move has alerted groups concerned about copyrights and the remix culture
Remix culture
Remix culture is a term used to describe a society which allows and encourages derivative works. Remix is defined as combining or editing existing materials to produce a new product. A Remix Culture would be, by default, permissive of efforts to improve upon, change, integrate, or otherwise remix...

cautioning about potentially limited creative expression through such actions.

External links