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The Love Me Cat Show: A Hairless Cat Begs for Love

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"I was like, 'Wow! Can I do a puppet? That seems hard.' And you know, the answer to anyone who’s seen the show is I really can’t. I’m getting better, but I’m not actually a puppeteer. But I thought, 'Darn it, why don’t I just try? Then I’ll be able to actually come up with things to say in real-time, and express the physicality through this puppet.' Pretty soon after that I thought, 'A talk show is good, because there’s a kind of a participant in the improv -- a new participant in the improv each week.'

"I came up with this idea of a guy who really wants love -- that’s his main thing -- and that he would be a hairless cat. And then he decided he should have a sidekick who’s smarter than he is. And he’s always kind of narcissistically glomming onto the side-kick’s attention. The sidekick is smarter, but he’s willing to take the subservient role, and then I decided that should be a little owl. Andy Bobrow, who’s a hilarious guy, he agreed to it. So that was great. I wanted there to be an audience member, a single audience member who laughs at everything, who’s just an idiot, and that’s Sheepy. And then that there would be a band leader who was a robot kind of providing the cold robotic point of view as a counterpoint to Love Me’s shameless pleas for emotional gratification. And I somehow inveigled Matt Selman, who’s this great writer on The Simpsons, to do the voice of that. So that’s our team, and Matt Danner is overseeing -- he’s the producer, and he designed these puppets and got people to build them."

A successful $20,000 financing round with Kickstarter made the series a reality. Kaplan and his team are committed to creating three episodes of the show each week for a year. After that, Kaplan is hoping it will become a global sensation and he’ll be flush with offers to create more. The show, like the cat, would like some audience affection.

In the future, Kaplan plans to bring more guests to the show and would love to see episodes televised. He’s also looking to bring his cast outside the studio for some real-world adventures. He’s not sure yet if that will be done with computer graphics or perhaps giant walkaround, full-body suits, like in H.R. Pufnstuf.

Before signing off, we asked Kaplan what kind of review his old Spy intern self would give Love Me Cat. Naturally, the answer is enthusiastic:

“This has short-form Emmy written all over it!”

This interview wouldn’t be complete without a few words from Love Me Cat himself, so Kaplan called him up for a few questions.

Streaming Media: How do you develop your interviewing skills?

Love Me Cat: Well, I look at the guests with a piercing gaze where I am an embodied request for their love, and then a vibe just happens. Just by my deep desire for them to love me, the words just come.

Streaming Media: Who would your dream guest be?

Love Me Cat: I think my dream guest would probably be Queen Elizabeth of England. Because she’s a crazy gal, from what I’ve heard. And she got a whole country of people to believe she’s the queen, which is quite a trick. I would like to learn that trick and see if I can do it.

Streaming Media: You’ve had a lot of impressive guests on your show so far. Who was the worst?

Love Me Cat: Who was the worst. Well, we had a guy named Sami, who was a Israeli pop star, who was quite abusive to me and the other guests. Me and the other talent. That hurt my feelings. So he was probably the worst.

Streaming Media: What’s the best part about having an online show?

Love Me Cat: Well, the best part about having an online show is that I can get people -- or trick people -- to pay attention to me. Literally hundreds of people have seen the interviews. If I wanted to go to all of those hundreds of people and ask them to like me, that would run into car fare. That would be an expensive proposition to have to take the bus -- some of the people actually live in other states. So having an online show lets people see me and love me remotely. And also, if some of the people turned out to be hostile and to hate me, they could do me violence if I was there in person. But since I’m doing it through the medium of YouTube, they don’t know where I am, and if I anger them, they cannot kick me or pull my ears or tail.

Streaming Media: What do you do when not interviewing?

Love Me Cat: Nap. Lick my body for cleanness. And scavenge the neighborhood for mice.

This article appears in the December 2013 issue of Streaming Media magazine as "Love Me, Begs the Hairless Cat."

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