Rod Ponton, the Texas lawyer-turned-star of the kitten filter viral video, has laughed off his worldwide fame, telling the Ray D'Arcy Show on RTÉ Radio 1: "I think everybody needed to take a pinprick to all the tension we've had."
The footage of Ponton accidentally activating a kitten filter during virtual court proceedings has been viewed over 10 million times - and counting. It shows him struggling to remove the filter, while Judge Roy Ferguson attempted to help him.
"I don't know how to remove it... but I'm prepared to go forward with it," says the befuddled brief. "I'm here live. I'm not a cat."
Filling in the background to the story on Wednesday's Ray D'Arcy Show, Ponton explained: "I'm a lawyer and I'm a county attorney, and I had to go to one of my remote towns, Presidio, for business yesterday. So, I checked in on Zoom on my secretary's computer to attend to a Zoom hearing in district court - of course, we're having all our court proceedings on Zoom.
"Everything was going fine until the judge called the case - and suddenly when he called the case my face on the video turned into a cat, to my great surprise."
"Everybody's seen the video now and they saw me struggling to try to figure out how to take the mask filter off, which I didn't know how to do," Ponton continued. "I'm a man of a certain age; I'm not a young kid that could have done it in a heartbeat.
"It's an example of the struggles I think all of us have had trying to keep up with technology during the Covid and all these things."
"It looks so real!" marvelled D'Arcy. "And then you can see your eyes in shock - looking down at the keyboard to see if you can press some button to get this cat face off your own face!"
"I think that's why I had to tell the judge that I'm not a cat!" replied Ponton. "Because the cat was responding in the same way I would have been if I'd been on the video!"
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"That's the quote of century - that's the quote of the lockdown, isn't it?" said D'Arcy.
"It is," agreed the man/cat of the moment.
"You said, 'I'm here live. I'm not a cat'."
"That's what I told him," Ponton replied. "I told him I was ready to go forward with the hearing, with the cat video. But thankfully we figured it out and I was able to continue the hearing with my old boring face."
"What sort of reaction have you got? Family and friends - what do they think?" asked the presenter.
"They all love it," said Ponton.
"For some reason, it struck a nerve or hit a funny bone around the world. I think everybody needed to take a pinprick to all the tension we've had, and I think this made everybody laugh after the tough year we've had. If they can laugh at my expense, I'll take it."
"What a lovely thing to be involved in," agreed D'Arcy. "Like, the work you do is serious work. And we're in the middle of this horrible global pandemic. And then, in the middle of it all, a simple little filter - that's a 10-year-old thing on some old Dell laptop or something like that that you can't even get anymore - and that, as you say, bursts the little anxious, stressful balloon that we're all living in. What a beautiful thing. What a beautiful thing."
When asked for his "next act", Ponton replied: "I don't know what my next act's going to be. It's going to be hard to top this one! Twelve million YouTube views and Zoom stock went up 5% or $19 yesterday afternoon!"
"Did they?" said D'Arcy. "Listen, I tell you what, we've a contact. Is it the financial adviser with Zoom is an Irishman? We've spoken to him on the show. So, if it went up 5% as a result of your kitten filter, you should be in for 1% of that? That's a lot of cash."
"I don't know if it's because of me or not, but I'll take credit for it!" said Ponton.
"I just want to say a huge 'thank you' on behalf of the 10 million people who've watched it, and the millions of people who are going to watch it, because you've just brightened up our world," concluded D'Arcy.
"Thank you very much for reaching out to me," said Ponton. "I hope everybody can laugh with me."