Grumpy Cat has become quite the fat cat: the one-year-old frowny feline — real name Tardar Sauce — boasts a coffee line, movie deal, a New York Times-bestselling book and even sequined nipple pasties. Now, more than a month after winning the people’s choice award at the Walker Art Center’s cat video festival, she was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award at “The Friskies” for “doing the most to help cats take over the Internet” at the cat food brand’s second annual cat video awards Wednesday night in New York City.
The show’s host, comedian Michael Ian Black, alongside The Office‘s Angela Kinsey, presented the “catuette,” a gold-plated cat-shaped statue, to the YouTube star and new Friskies “spokescat” in a shimmery ballroom setting in Times Square.
Accompanying the award-winning cat was her owner, Phoenix resident Tabatha Bundesen, her tween daughter Chrystal, and her brother Bryan Bundesen, who made the pet a meme when he uploaded a photo of her to Reddit a year ago. But the beige and brown cat’s biggest fan in the family looked like Tabatha’s cousin Michael Adkins, who was wearing a beige and white hooded onesie with Grumpy Cat’s face and black cat ears on the tip of the hood and a brown tail hanging from his behind.
At times, it seemed like Grumpy Cat overshadowed the show’s 12 cat finalists — narrowed down by judges including the brains behind Henri, Le Chat Noir and Oskar the blind cat viral videos — as she sat on a plum-colored pillow during the hour-long ceremony, “dishing out” jabs on a big screen over the stage like “I’d rather be anywhere else” and “Embarrassed for all of you.”
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But Pancake, a white cat with a black forehead, won the most prizes at The Friskies — both the Rescue Cat and Fan Favorite catuettes for “Pancake the Kitten and His Doberman,” documenting the unlikely animal friendship between the two pets.
(MORE: Friskies 2012 Recap)
The other cat videos that won $5,000 cash prizes each included:
In the “Cat Comedy” category, Remy in ”Cat vs. Printing Paper” by Melissa Thorpe of Aniwa, Wisconsin:
For “Pursuit of Food/Treat,” Eleanor, Gibbous and Miley in “We Love Squirrel” by Robin Madigan of Waterville, Ohio:
And for “Catventure,” Gracey in “The Tiniest Tiger’s Snow Advenutre” by Joanne McGonagle of New Lexington, Ohio:
Overall, the 2013 Friskies lacked the comedic acts that made the inaugural 2012 ceremony so memorable, such as humans meowing an opera medley from Carmen and a modern dance inspired by Nyan Cat. This year, those ludicrous acts were replaced by campy original videos and performances featuring host Michael Ian Black, from training to host the awards by lunging into cardboard boxes (à la box-obsessed Maru) to an “Ask a Cat Guy” segment, in which Black warned new owners, “you did not get a cat, a cat got you” and now humans’ keyboards will become “butt-warmers.” An “In Memoriam” video also honored household belongings destroyed by cats, like electric bills ripped to shreds; “I was done sitting on it, so I ate it,” as one cat reasoned.
But the most amusing act was unscripted. After the Cat Comedy catuette was presented to “Cat vs. Printing Paper,” there was a technical glitch, and the clip froze on the big screen over the stage, leaving Black to improvise and describe word for word what happened: “There’s a cat, and a printer doing its job. Cat watches printer…cat is plotting, plotting…cat beats the crap out of that paper.” The audience applauded, whooped, and hollered louder than at any other point in the show, an IRL reminder of how web videos with storylines that are both ridiculously simple and absurd make people so happy.