Original Keyboard Cat footage taken in 1984 by artist and nose acrobat Charlie Schmidt. In 2007, Brad O’Farrell discovered a unique clip and decided to use footage as a play off for a failed video. Something about a cat that tends to make music makes even the most painful moments of failure laugh at – and a meme is born.
On February 2, 2009, YouTuber / blogger Brad O’Farrell posted a video of a mashup of a man falling from an escalator with Schmidt’s cat, titled “Play him, Keyboard Cat.” The idea of ”playing with someone” comes from the metaphor “giving someone a hook” for poor 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. According to The Guardian report, the original video was actually produced several decades ago and the cat died in 1987.
Following Brad O’Farrell’s original upload, many viewers created their own mashup, adding Fatso recordings to the best FAIL videos on YouTube and other video sharing sites. On April 6, 2009, Schmidt created PlayHimOffKeyboardCat.com, a blog for cat videos and images. On April 10, 2009, this video was featured on Buzzfeed and Urlesque, which were the first sites to call it a meme. On April 18, Keyboard Cat is defined in Urban Dictionary. On May 5, 2009, Ashton Kutcher tweeted a link to a mashup, calling him his favorite video. At that time, he had more than 1 million followers, bringing great attention to Fatso.