Let me tell you a story about fame. Many years ago, Oscar and Ethel Schimmelbaum moved to Florida with the hopes of a better life and to escape the most horrific persecution in history – a strict no pets policy at their New York brownstone. The year was 2008. Oscar was a successful piano salesman, moving Steinways and baby grands into assisted living facilities across these glorious United States. Life was good for the Schimmelbaums, but they had no idea about the impact they’d eventually have on the entire world.
Ethel spent her days at home, writing postcards to her four lawyer sons and raising their 8-year old calico, Moses. Over the years, Ethel took advantage of her husband’s profession, teaching herself how to play simple tunes on her electric piano. She picked up the classics with ease, playing for her Mah Jong partners and the occasional Fed Ex delivery driver. But one night she and Oscar awoke to a strange tune, an unknown sound emanating from their vintage Wurlitzer. As she crept downstairs to investigate the clatter, she locked eyes on a site of pure amazement… Moses was playing his own song.
Some will argue that white and orange cat belonged to a man named Charlie Schmidt, but the truth is startling. Seeing the magnificence that was Moses Schimmelbaum on an electric piano, Oscar and Ethel knew there was no room for a Schimmelbaum in entertainment. A Jewish musician? What was this, Epcot? No, this was reality, and the Schimmelbaums knew the only way their prized tabby could become famous was with the surname of a goy. Thus, “Charlie Schmidt” was born, and within weeks the legend of Keyboard Cat was bigger than the Bible riding a unicorn made of the Beatles.
Keyboard Cat has since retired to a life of slaying pussy groupies, instead selling his namesake to his Jamaican cousin, Rasta Ragdoll. Yet while we may never hear from the original Keyboard Cat again – he has since become a rabbi at Temple Beth Bengal – his life story has left an outline for domestic animals to follow. In his autobiography, “Almost Purrfect,” Keyboard Cat says that creating an Internet pet sensation takes dedication, passion, and most of all, following these 8 steps to success:
Dress the Part
Part of human nature is the adoration of cute animals, the cuddly little bastards with their fuzzy whiskers and random red rockets. But what makes an animal even more adorable than au natural? Funny costumes. Before passing, Carl Sagan wrote: “For I have seen the universe and she is beautiful… but not nearly as cool as a bulldog in a tuxedo.”
Excuse me, madam, but I am here for a waft of your hindleg.
Costumes are to animals what steroids are to the New York Yankees. They are an unfair advantage, yet no one will ever complain. One day there will be an awards event that will honor the greatness of animals in hilarious outfits, and on that day the world will know the majesty of Lobster Dog.
Lean on Your Crutch
Being a sensation isn’t just about being funny. Some of the most legendary Internet animals have made us say, “Awwwww” more than they’ve elicited laughter.
An animal that overcomes adversity reminds us humans that we hold the power to be something bigger than our limitations. Watching this dog walk on two legs, I can’t help but think of girls who have left my house in the morning, barely able to get their pants on without crying. I mean, two-legged dog probably even knows how a phone works, Crystal! You think you’re so cool as your friends yell “Tootsie Roll” at me? I HATE YOU! I HATE ALL GIRLS!
Create Your Talent
Keyboard Cat has his fair share of detractors. “You can see the human hands holding him,” says Captain Buzzkill. But have you ever thought that maybe that’s just how good Keyboard Cat is? Maybe he’s the one moving the human arms. I just blew your mind. Take this talented animal super group:
I dare you to tell me that these animals aren’t actually singing. That’s the mark of a true animal performer. They give of themselves to keep us entertained. I tried to get my dog to sing, but she licked her crotch and farted. These animals neither self-gratified nor pooted. They’re like Destiny’s Child but with sex appeal.
SUNDAY, SUNDAY, SUNDAY!!! It’s the Super Bowl of Pet Water Sports, featuring Fuego the Fire-Breathing Chihuahua! Chinchillazilla! Bunnysaurus! And the granddaddy of EXXTREEEEEME!!! Twiggy the water-skiing squirrel!
Twiggy, of course is sponsored by Tobasco Corn Nuts, Hot Pockets, and Baja Mountain Dew. No domesticated woodland critter has earned more money in his career than Twiggy. Sadly, Twiggy’s career came to an end during his last performance at Busch Gardens when a guinea pig ran over him in an IROC.
Human abuse is hardly funny, unless it involves hobos, midgets, and midget hobos. Animal abuse is even less humorous, that is, unless it’s in the name of “training” said animal. On Animal Planet’s It’s Me or the Dog, Stains had to learn that he was not allowed to eat whatever he wants.
Bad dog! Bad… dog… HAHAHA, it’s funny because it’s tormenting him! Oh man, that Cupcake Dog puts me in stitches every time. In fact, after I saw that episode, I went home and tried to teach my dog that it couldn’t eat my pizza after I left it out on the table in bouts of blackout drunkenness. Strangely, the dog ended up with the pizza and I woke up in my neighbor’s truck bed with no pants and a court hearing.
A Hero’s Welcome
Much like the two-legged dog, we’re also always suckers for heroics. I appreciate our armed forces, firefighters, police officers, and bartenders. But above all, I will salute a dog that will put itself in harm’s way in the name of “Oh my God, he’s rescuing that wounded dog!”
The dog that was rescued didn’t make it. Later, I heard that Hero Dog developed an addiction to crystal meth and traded in his legacy as a petriot for a life of snuff films and needle marks. Where is he now, you ask? I can only hope he’s… *sniff* the one being rescued.
Some animals are just born with it. They’re called show-offs. Their owners take them on TV shows and brag like, “Hey look how smart my pig is, my pig is the coolest pig in the world!” Yeah, well your pig was delicious.
Not surprisingly, that pig had better chemistry with Mario Lopez than Elizabeth Berkeley ever did. Keyboard Cat actually asked me to exclude this pig video because he said it’s a filthy video and said it needed a kosher element. However, even to the master I cannot deny true talent.
In Desperate Times
Of course there’s a seedier side to pet celebrity. Call it the underbelly that you don’t want to rub. In desperate times, the truly desperate animals surface. But even when animals are at their worst, the Internet audience demands the hilarity.
Oh Roscoe, how can you look yourself in the spot where your balls used to be?