Obituary: Fatso Schmidt


Note: This article originally appeared in the inaugural issue of the memezine.

Fatso Schmidt

Fatso Schmidt who has died at the age of 15 was a pioneer in cat memes. A Pianist by training, Fatso is best known for his digital video work and keen fashion sense. Shy and reclusive by nature, Fatso was thrust into the limelight by his father Charlie in 1984, when Fatso appeared in "Charlie Schmidt's Cool Cats." However, it would take over two decades before the video would capture the public’s imagination and Fatso would earn the moniker "Keyboard Cat." Unfortunately for Fatso, the acclaim came too late, and Fatso died unaware of either his nickname or his influence on a generation of influential memists.

Fatso was born in the United States in Spokane, Washington, where he was home-schooled in the Piano by his father, a failed performance artist. Like his contemporary Michael Jackson, Fatso's demanding performance training at the hands of his father would often result in complete physical exhaustion, to the point where his arms would have to be supported by others so that he could continue to reach the keys. It has been suggested that this arduous regime directly contributed to Fatso’s untimely death.

In 2007, footage of Fatso's performance was discovered by memist Brad O’Farrell, who put Fatso to work in a series of videos for YouTube. After a 23 year wait, Fatso's star was finally on the rise. Appearances on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and the MTV Movie Awards would soon follow, along with a series of product endorsements for video games.

Fatso has influenced numerous artists and imitators, including Keyboard Kitty of the Tampa Bay Rays, actor Kato Kaelin, and the participants in the "Great American Keyboard Cat Competition" in support of the Kitten Rescue charity.

Fatso is survived by his father and brother, Bento.