Ten Unforgettable Web Memes

Cats and failures highlight this list of the memes that have gone mainstream. Which ones did we miss?

Chuck Norris became an Internet sensation when late night host Conan O'Brien featured clips from "Walker, Texas Ranger" on his show. (© Cannon / courtesy Everett Collection)

Keyboard Cat (2009)

Keyboard Cat meme
After you’ve plastered the word FAIL over an amusing photograph, the clear next step is take a video pratfall and append the “keyboard cat” to the end. In 1986, performance artist Charlie Schmidt videotaped his pet cat Fatso “playing” a silly ditty on a keyboard and dumped it onto YouTube in 2007. Brad O’Farrell discovered the video in February 2009, used it for a mashup of his own, starting the meme “Play him off, keyboard cat.” Its usage is similar to the premise of “The Gong Show” or the vaudevillian “giving the hook” cliché – end the audience’s (and performers’) misery with a final authoritative action. Since her virtuoso performance went viral, Fatso has played off Stephen Colbert, Glenn Beck, Miss Teen South Carolina, and other entertainment stars. -- BW

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