Review by Woodrow Phoenix
The Laugh-Out-Loud Cats is, or are, a single-panel cartoon published as a daily webcomic by Adam ‘Ape Lad’ Koford. The cats themselves are two anthropomorphic hoboes – a big cat named Kitteh and a small cat called Pip. They derive their name from the fact that they speak only in the LOLcat language of memes which emerged on the internet post-1995. Many of the most popular of these can be found archived at the ‘i can haz cheesburger’ website. The contemporary language of memes is combined in these cartoons with a visual look that is decidedly uncontemporary, as the universe Kitteh and Pip inhabit is an American midwestern retro 1930s world of old black and white movies where jobless and homeless men in threadbare suits, down on their luck, ride the rails, wander through woods and fields with their bindles, burgle houses, dodge policemen and occasionally raise a few dollars as day labourers which they lose in card games.
This mash-up of two very different text and image styles sounds bizarre but actually works brilliantly as Koford turns meme phrases into ironic situations: “I updated our status to invisibl,” Pip says as he points to a ‘WANTED’ poster (the two cats are fugitives of course) whIch he has ripped in half; an irritated Kitteh covers his ears while Pip says to a bird sitting on a tree stump, “He blocked ur tweets.”
In this third collection of cartoons, the two cats talk in sentences which are not always an illustrated lolcat meme, but the style of their language remains abbreviated and epigrammatic whatever the situation. Down with the Laugh-Out-Loud Cats is the kind of book that can be picked up and enjoyed by almost anyone as an entertaining riff on classic cartoons but it will obviously appeal much more to programmers, bloggers, coders, instagrammers, tumblr users and anyone who otherwise is steeped in internet culture. The fourth book in this series is The Laugh-Out-Loud Cats in One More for the Road.