Image Credit: Matthias Clamer/Bravo
Irony alert: Ben Huh, CEO of the company behind humor sites FAIL Blog, The Daily What, and the feline-focused I Can Has Cheezburger, among others, is allergic to cats. Luckily, his wife Emily doesn’t share Ben’s affliction — “I’m proud to say I am a crazy cat lady,” she told EW when she and Ben paid a visit to our office a few weeks ago. “I’m from a town called Los Gatos, which means ‘the cats’ [in Spanish].” No wonder Emily loves working as I Can Has Cheezburger’s editor-in-chief.
If you’re reading this on a computer screen or a smartphone, chances are you’re familiar with Ben and Emily’s work. But just in case: In 2007, blogger Erik Nakagawa founded a humor site devoted to “lolcats” — funny pictures of cats superimposed with creatively-spelled, silly captions. He named it after one of the meme’s original images, a photo of a chubby gray cat smiling beneath four words written in all caps: “I can has cheezburger?” Eight months later, Ben Huh bought the site and slowly began turning it into an Internet empire. Cheezburger Inc. gradually morphed into one of the web’s largest humor publishers, a network of sites that has launched thousands of memes including Rebecca Black’s “Friday” — “We apologize on behalf of planet Earth,” says Ben — and the subject of a new Bravo reality series called LOLwork.
Before their show’s Nov. 7 premiere, Ben and Emily stopped by for an IRL chat — that’s “in real life” — about kitties, cameras, and the rise of Internet culture. U can has the condensed transcriptz here:
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: How did this show come about?
BEN: Our first two I Can Has Cheezburger books were New York Times bestsellers. When you have a New York Times bestseller — a book of captions you didn’t write and photos you didn’t take — you get a Hollywood agent. I know, it’s kind of strange. We ended up looking for a TV show idea. [Then] Bravo approached us and said, “Can we just put cameras in your office and make it a reality show? We’d love to see what [it's] like behind the scenes.” We said, “Okay, you have free reign. There’s only one rule, which is don’t make fun of our users.”
EMILY: This is something new for Bravo. It’s a reality comedy, so it’s a departure from what they normally do.
BEN: Our motto here is “cats, not catfights.”
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