He’s allergic to cats, but that hasn’t stopped him from building a humor empire around them. The founder of Cheezburger.com, Ben Huh, and his creative team not only find and create hilarious memes out of cat photos, but they star in the new reality TV series “LOLwork.” A mix between “The Office” and “America’s Funniest Home Videos,” the show follows the team as it debates, creates and somehow makes the start-up successful.

The Show

Boasting low-to-no-drama, Huh says he wants the show to be funny and to be able to trust producers to make it good. “They can make fun of us but not our users,” he told the Wall Street Journal online.

I_can_has_cheezburgerThe CEO isn’t too worried about television success, stating that if things go wrong at least more people who didn’t know about Cheezburger will probably visit the site. A positive thinker, he didn’t even ask permission of the company’s board members, investors Brad Feld from Foundry Group, Greg Gottesman from Madrona Venture Group and Rich Levandov from Avalon Ventures. He just asked himself, and decided it was worth the risk, according to WSJ.com.

Cheezburger’s mission is to “make people laugh for five minutes a day” with their memes, photos and funny videos, and the show will follow the team as they do that with the sites they operate, including Fail Blog and Memebase. Getting used to the cameras was one thing, but people around the office are finally starting to get the hang of it.

“There were operational challenges at first, but that settled down after a week, especially because the TV crew have food,” Huh told the WSJ.com. “It’s called craft services. I learned some new words.”

The show airs Wednesdays at 11 p.m. Eastern on Bravo TV and online at Hulu.

Cheezburger Conception

After adopting their dog Nemo, Huh and his wife Emily started a pet blog and connected with the original creators of I Can Has Cheezburger, according to LaWeekly.com. At the time the blog was seeing a lot of traffic, and the Huhs wanted in. The UCLA graduate and her business-minded husband bought the blog in 2007 and decided to try and make a viable company out of it.

“At first investors gave us pretty confused looks,” Emily said on LaWeekly.com. “Cat photos?”

Despite any initial doubts, the site has skyrocketed and sees enormous amounts of hits per day. Based in Seattle, the network of 60 humor websites has had huge successes in curating, creating and/or releasing viral content.


 

“We do apologize to the world that we released Rebecca Black out into the Internet culture,” Emily said on MyNorthWest.com. “You either loved it or you hated it.”

Many of the kitty pics, funny videos and images used to make memes are uploaded by users – all 24 million (and counting) of them. Emily told LaWeekly.com that as Editor-In-Chief – she is in charge of content, quality control and the funny factor – she sees Cheezburger get 5,000 submissions a day of people hoping to make their kitty famous.

And can you blame them? Few would turn down the chance for their pet to be featured on the site that has 500 million page views per month and an additional 110 million video views.

“If you can resist a cute kitty photo, there’s something wrong with you,” she said.

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