Back in 2007, Adam "Apelad" Koford created a marvellous, funny, weird alternate history for the then-viral phenomenon of LOLcats, running-gag memes of cats whose superimposed dialog had many odd grammatical quirks: the Laugh-Out-Loud Cats," a pair of comic-strip hobo cats straight out of the 1930s, who found obscure and clever ways to riff on our contemporary LOLcats.
What could have been a one-off joke became a beloved franchise. Koford has found a kind of weird magic with Pip and Kitteh, a lineal descendant of the floppy Peanuts and Beetle Bailey collections of my boyhood, complete with nostalgic jokes about half-understood things that are nevertheless so humorous that they have you, uh, laughing out loud.
The latest Laugh-Out-Loud Cats collection is One More For the Road, and it is the first Laugh-Out-Loud Cats I've read with my daughter Poesy, who is nearly now 11 years old (!). Poesy gave this book her ultimate stamp of approval: after we read the first 30 or so pages at bedtime, she picked it up the next morning and read it straight through, before school, and still let me read her more of it the next night.
In some ways, the latest collection is gloriously more of the same: more of everything I loved about the earlier collections like Down With the Laugh-Out-Loud Cats, The Laugh-Out-Loud Cats Sell Out.
But in an important way, the experience of reading the Laugh-Out-Loud Cats in late 2019 is different: it's been 15 years since LOLcats came into vogue, and they are largely forgotten, though the narrative, aesthetic, and linguistic conventions they spawned linger, or rather, their descendants do. And while Koford has his share of contemporary internet jokes (streaming content gags about catching salmon in a stream; cloud-watching jokes about the cloud), the Laugh-Out-Loud Cats have not forgotten their origins: they still speak an authentic mid-2000s internet meme argot that is now nostalgic, rather than a joke about nostalgia.
For my kid, these references are something like a modern Joe Shlabotnik, the kind of thing that you laugh at, but don't quite understand. The kind of thing a parent and a kid can share. Check out the complete Laugh-Out-Loud Cats archive at Hobotopia.
One More For the Road [Adam Koford]
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