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Annalise Ophelian

How a terrifyingly bad Garfield costume led two filmmakers to major success [Ep #62]

Aug 28, 2019, 2:39 PM EDT (Updated)

Back when YouTube was in its infancy, functioning (barely) as a haphazard repository for the experimental and weird, launching a career from the nascent platform was a pipe dream. Viral videos were still measured by pirated downloads, the word "influencer" had yet to plague society, and there was a purity to strange home videos uploaded for the hell of it.

Jeffrey Max and Zachary Johnson, two young would-be filmmakers, were mostly just messing around when they started producing their bizarro live-action Garfield series, Lasagna Cat, and uploading it to YouTube. There were no expectations for the series — in fact, they only made the thing because they found a janky Garfield costume while searching for a duck costume for another video and figured they'd buy it on the cheap and figure out what to do with it later.

"We just kind of just made a bunch of Garfield strips, and then we were like, I don't know if this is anything," Johnson explains in a new episode of The Fandom Files. "And then at some point, we were just trying to figure out what to do with all these Garfield strips, we shot live and Jeffrey cut them into a music video montage and we're like, 'Oh, that's really funny.' And then it became this strip and then music video re-interpretation."

They definitely had something. A decade later, they are critically acclaimed directors of advertisements, comedy sketches, and TV shows — in large part thanks to the attention that Lasagna Cat earned them. Operating under the banner Fatal Farm, the duo have written and directed for Key & Peele, collaborated with The Lonely Island for MTV, and directed Aflac and Old Spice commercials, among many others.

On this episode of The Fandom Files, they discuss their unlikely career journey, breaking in with Garfield, their upcoming projects... and making more Lasagna Cat videos (set your Google Alerts, they could come at any time).

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