Grumpy cat, famous for his appearance in memes across the world, is a classically trained actor living in Peckham, London.
This news may hit those people hard who have spent hours posting pictures of Grumpy Cat all over the internet, genuinely believing he was caught in a moment before coffee and just after receiving an unjustified parking ticket.
“These people, posting pictures of me, laughing, they need to know – that’s not really me. I’m actually a happy go lucky cat. I feel like their laughter is hollow. Empty somehow. Every time I see a new meme I feel like I’ve been put in a Brighton bin by an old lady living with emotionally repressed noodle thinkings.”
I nod my head, though I only understand the beginning of what Grumpy Cat just said.
Grumpy Cat has arranged for this interview.
He asked me if we could meet at his local cafe for a coffee, so he could get his side of the story out and clear his conscience.
So I said yes, because I’ve got nothing else to blog about.
So he sits opposite me now. In a cafe in Peckham; lapping coffee and talking quickly.
Grumpy Cat has a really dry nose. I wonder if it’s possible for him to catch a cold; but I have no time to dwell on the thought, as he continues to talk…
“I mean, what is so funny about cat pictures attached to a few words anyway? What has happened to you fucking people? You used to laugh at true comics. You used to laugh at originality, now originality is scorned, seen as a curse, and you people have gone from laughing at John Cleese to crying in hysterics at pictures of cats? You know, John Cleese, he wrote entire sitcoms, you know who is writing these cat memes? People who haven’t had fucking sex yet. Virgins. Young adults. Or, worse, old people. Old people who think they know what funny is because the internet tells them when to laugh, and all because their friends type “LOL” next to these pictures. So they replicate, then think they’ll write their own funny memes because, for some stupid reason, every human thinks to be popular is the answer to all their internal fucking problems.”
He stops talking.
He’s a bit sweary.
I don’t think I’d like to see him drunk. Or on catnip, or on whatever potion cats use to create regret and self loathing.
I narrow my left eyeball slightly.
I nod my head, tell him to go on. Tell him I’m making mental notes and it’s all going in.
“Well, you know, memes are not comedy. Memes are a bunch of clapping monkeys replicating what isn’t funny because nobody is in the same room, so nobody really knows that nobody else is actually laughing at these fucking cat memes. So everybody is suddenly assuming what comedy is. Comedy is changing, is what I’m saying. And it’s changing from funny to seriously fucking embarrassing and shit.”
Grumpy cat sips his coffee and shoots me a look like I’ve just caught him putting a pencil in his arse whilst pretending to be a pencil sharpener on the desk of a banker from Barclays.
“You mind if I smoke?”
I shake my head again.
Once, I would have added it’s a free country; but I remember it’s not a free country. Not anymore. Now everything has a price and nobody can afford to pay it.
So I look up and say:
“Up to you, though I don’t think you can smoke inside.”
Grumpy Cat lights up. Right here. In this cafe. Literally not giving a single fuck.
There is a moments silence between us.
The silence falls over the entire cafe, like a cloth over a dining table surrounded by people waiting for anybody else to make the first complaint.
He takes a long puff and his eyes turn into two gold pots filled with catnip at the end of rainbows.
He continues talking.
“You know what I think? You humans have this idea, this theory, that the universe is expanding and eventually it will have to contract. Well, I think you’ve reached the limits of your own universe inside your heads. I think you’ve reached the limits of your comedy, you have reached the edge of your intelligence; and you don’t realise it because it’s happening slowly, but you are contracting back into being monkeys. In fact, looking at what you laugh at, looking at your wars and your leaders, I think you are already there. And you are worse than monkeys, because when you guys are dumb, people die in their millions.”
For a cat, he’s making a lot of sense to me. A bit arrogant.
A bit hoity-toity.
A bit la de da; but far more intelligent than his image of being a pencil sharpener or cat meme picture.
“Anyway, my owner filmed me as a kitten running up his leg. I grabbed his penis with my claws. The video went viral. I couldn’t go out anymore. I put on weight. I got really fat. I was huge. A video of me at my lowest and fattest went viral too. I felt like I couldn’t escape. That’s when I started smoking.”
He takes a long puff on his cigarette.
A woman opposite coughs and looks over. But she’s stunned into not complaining, and whispers to her friend I appear to be talking to that cat from the internet.
He takes another puff, wraps his claws on the wooden table in front of him, like he’s rolling an invisible coin across the surface beneath his paw.
“I felt like nobody knew me. Everywhere I went, I was that fat cat from the internet. I lost weight by jumping on a trampoline. It takes a long time to lose weight bouncing. When I finally felt like myself, whoever that is, I auditioned for a cat meme agency. That’s how I landed the role of Grumpy Cat.”
I look down at my coffee. Milk, two sugars. I pick up the silver spoon and tap it against the side of my mug, twice. The cup makes a dinging noise that reminds me of the school bell ringing back when I was a kid in education.
From this moment on, I think, the dinging noise will remind me of talking to Grumpy Cat.
I tap the edge of my mug again and listen to the ding to confirm it.
I see Grumpy Cat, and the school bell fades into lost memory.
Grumpy Cat licks his top lip with a dry tongue full of sharp bits, then speaks:
“So, tell the world Craig I’m much happier than people think I am. Or at least tell the people on your blog that I’m not really grumpy. Though, I’ve got to say, being thought of as Grumpy Cat is making me grumpy.”
“Let me get this straight, for the blog. You want me to tell the people I can to start thinking of you as happy, and you want me to do that before you become so grumpy you become the cat they think you are now?”
Grumpy Cat smiles. Takes a puff from his cigarette and pops his collar on his leather jacket.
“That Craig, is why I chose you. I knew you would understand. And here, put this photograph of me smiling at the end of your blog. And tell everyone you know to stop pretending to laugh out loud at things they’re not laughing out loud at. It’s making comedy a false economy.”
“A false comedeconomy?”
The cat formerly known as Grumpy slides a photograph of himself smiling across the table to me.
I take the photograph and put it in my inside pocket. Then lean back in my chair.
As I thank Grumpy Cat for the interview, I feel a hand on my right shoulder.
The hand squeezes my shoulder hard, and before I know what’s going on, I feel another hand on my back.
My feet are off the floor.
I’m still holding the spoon.
The door opens.
I’m on the street.
The angry voice of a disgusted man with sausage breath drowns my ears, calls me sick, tells me the police have been called, shouts at me what sort of man brings their cat out in public and forces it to smoke.
I go to explain, but he wouldn’t understand.
I go to offer a counter argument based around eating a pig, that was alive, being worse than sitting opposite a perfectly healthy smoking cat, but before I can make sense of anything a figure is coming toward me and I think I’m about to be kicked.
The fat shape grabs the spoon out of my hand, then taps me gently on the forehead like my brain is a shell and he’s trying to crack open new thought processes.
I hear a voice telling me to think.
I am running now, running home to my flat.
Because I have an important message from Grumpy cat.