From meme to movie star: the rise of Grumpy Cat


Image of Tardar Sauce aka Grumpy Cat courtesy her website,

First aired on As It Happens (31/5/13)

These days, it seems like cats are the most popular meme -- well, as far as memes that are SFW, or safe for work, go -- on the internet. And the most popular cat meme of all is Grumpy Cat. The premise is simple: Grumpy Cat looks, well, grumpy, and fans add grumpy captions to her photos like "I hate my life." Now, Grumpy Cat, is following the footsteps of other internet memes like Sh*t My Dad Says and is about to become a star in the offline world as well: the book Grumpy Cat: A Grumpy Book will be released this fall, a plush toy is on the way and a feature film is in the works.

Grumpy Cat's real name is Tardar Sauce and she lives in Arizona with Tabatha Bundesen. She was born on April 4, 2012 and has her owner's brother to thank for her fame. He posted a picture of Tardar Sauce looking particularly grumpy on the popular social media site Reddit. People started giving the photo captions and it only grew from there: at the 2013 Webby Awards, Grumpy Cat was named BuzzFeed's Meme of the Year. She's so popular that Tabatha had to take a leave of absence from work to manage her schedule and she's even hired a manager, Ben Lashes, who also manages other online feline phenoms like Keyboard Cat.

grumpycatbook.jpgWhat about Grumpy Cat has captured the world's imagination? Lashes, who spoke to As It Happens' Carol Off about Grumpy Cat's movie deal, believes it's thanks to Grumpy Cat's magical combination of grumpiness and cuteness. "We all know someone or somebody who is grumpy. Even your grandma can get Grumpy Cat. Its got that magic," he says. But grumpiness alone does not an internet sensation make. As Lashes points out, "As grumpy as she gets, she just always looks adorable. It's an undeniable thing. When she's scowling at you, you just want to kiss her and hug her."

Despite the kisses and hugs from fans at her many public appearances at festivals like SXNW and industry events like Book Expo America, Grumpy Cat's scowl -- a "one of a kind" look Lashes credits "the cat gods" for -- hasn't waned. "She's consistently unimpressed with everything."

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