Keyboard Cat is the nickname given to an orange tabby cat named Fatso, filmed in the mid-1980s by his owner, Charlie Schmidt.It has been used as an indicator of failure on forums and communities.
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, originally titled “Cool Cat” where it sat in relative obscurity for another two years.
On February 2nd, 2009, YouTuber / blogger Brad O’Farrell posted a mashup video of a man falling down an escalator 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” for a bad performance, a technique from Vaudeville shows. The original video has since been taken down from the original channel, but has been reuploaded by other users.
After O’Farrell’s original upload, many other users created their own mashups, adding the cat to FAIL videos on YouTube and other video sharing sites. On April 6th, 2009, Schmidt created PlayHimOffKeyboardCat.com, a blog to host videos and images of the cat. On April 10th 2009, the video was featured on Buzzfeed and Urlesque, which was the first site to call it a meme. On April 18th, Keyboard Cat was defined on Urban Dictionary. On May 5th, 2009, Ashton Kutcher tweeted a link to a mashup, calling it his favorite video. At the time, he had over 1 million followers, bringing major attention to Fatso.
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Yeah - that is a great pistachio commercial. It is really cool to see the history behind it.