The Internet may have officially run out of ideas. The World Wide Web used to be full of video games and chatrooms, scandal-breaking bloggers and celebrity sex tapes, but nobody pays attention to that stuff anymore. These days, people only use the Internet to search for pictures of adorable animals. Unfortunately, most of them are cats.
There’s Lolcats, RolCats, Garfield Minus Garfield, and Maru, the cat with a blog. There are kittens on Cute Things Falling Asleep, Cute Overload, and The Random Kitten Generator. And now, thanks to a clip of a humiliated feline forced to play the piano, there is another one to add to the mix: the website called Play Him Off, Keyboard Cat.
Corey Johnson, a 29-year-old computer programmer, says he and his friends have a knack for picking the next Internet sensation. If they encounter something good on the Internet, they like to “call” whether or not it’s going to take off. They called Garfield Minus Garfield and Lolcats, but when Johnson saw what he considered to be a particularly hilarious clip of someone falling down and then being “played off stage” by a cat with a keyboard, his friends thought it was lame. “I said, this is going to be big.” he says. “My friends were like, ‘Nah,’ it’s just a cat.'” .
But Johnson knew something his friends didn’t: the Internet loves cats. Especially cats who are dressed in embarrassing outfits and forced to perform human activities . Suddenly, keyboard cat started popping up all over YouTube. People attached the cat to the end of already popular videos like this and this. Someone even started a website that would attach the keyboard cat to a video of one’s choosing. The musical feline had become a star, and Johnson decided to aggregate its videos on a blog. People made requests and submitted their own mash-ups. Play Him Off, Keyboard Cat is barely a month old, but it already has has over 30 videos and gets about 20,000 hits a day.
But there’s one problem: retelling the same joke 30 times isn’t very funny. The playing-off music isn’t always properly timed and the preceding video footage is almost always more entertaining than the cat . After you watch one video, the others are mildly entertaining at best. The Internet clearly disagrees with me here, what with the ongoing popularity of Rickrolling, but I stand by my opinion. Jokes are only funny when they’re original, when they take you in a direction you didn’t expect. You can’t finish the same way every time and expect people to like it. .
Also, cats are stupid.
Read about Russian LOLCats
Read TIME’s 2007 article on the Lolcat phenomenon