If there’s anything that we love more than puppies over here at the O Music Awards, it’s incredibly adorable puns. Hence, the reasoning behind why Abby Koocher’s delightfully dog-laden tribute to the band Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, “Bone Pugz,” scored an O Music Award nomination for Most Adorable Viral Star.
The video, which features the jam “1st Of Tha Month” (in addition to myriad pugs), was the born of both the filmmaker’s intense love for pups and her adoration of the Cleveland, Ohio, hip-hop band. We caught up with Koocher to find out more about the incredibly viral vid, from whence the idea came and, of course, her concept for a New Age version of Pee-Wee’s Playhouse.
How did you initially come up with this idea?
About five years ago, I was sitting around with a bunch of my friends and just kind of made a joke about it — like, ‘Oh, this is a great pun! We should shoot this!’ And everyone was like, ‘Yeah, that’s awesome!’ And then I always had it in the back of my mind. A few months ago, I felt the passionate need to make it and so I put out a call to see if I could even get that many pugs, because I had a lot of friends who were dog lovers, but I thought I only had, like, one pug, which wouldn’t be enough. So I put a post on Facebook asking if anyone had pugs that they would let me dress up in outfits and put a wig on and I got really great response back.
[The pug owners] were also huge music fans and Bone Thugs-N-Harmony fans and kids of the ’90s and they were like, ‘Yeah, let’s do this.’ Basically from there, within two weeks, I put it all together and built all the sets and miniature props and got a small team of great people together and shot it on April Fool’s Day.
So how long did it take to shoot with all of those dogs?
Like four or five hours?
Oh, that’s it?
Yeah. I’m very efficient. I story-boarded everything and I knew exactly what I wanted. I went to Sarah Lawrence, which is a really fantastic school, and I called two of my very close friends from there and assembled a very tight crew of very talented people that I knew would help me get my vision out and we all just got together and did it and banged it out in four to five hours, and then I spent two days not talking to anybody and editing it all together, and then I put it up!
And how did it go viral? Who picked it up first?
It’s funny, it uploaded at midnight, and then I emailed it out just to all my friends and family and everyone else who was involved. I wasn’t thinking much of it — not like this is my masterpiece here or anything like that. In the morning, only like 500 people had seen it. And then it was on a website called The Dog and Pony Show — I think they were the first people to put it up. I don’t know how they got it; I literally just sent it out to friends. But it just takes one person to send it to another person and then it just hits like wildfire.
I was actually on a bus to Boston and started getting all these texts and calls like, ‘Oh my God, look, you have this many views!’ Which is all very exciting. And then all of a sudden Gawker and Best Week Ever and Tosh.0 blog and basically every major cultural outlet had picked it up and it blew my mind.
What’s your background?
I’ve always been very artsy. I was a very serious dancer when I was younger and then I actually went to Sarah Lawrence to dance. I got more into film and music there and then I started working — maybe for the last nine years — as a producer and director and editor. I’ve done pretty much every element for different TV shows. It’s been really fun. I’ve gotten to work with an amazing range of artistic people.
Were you always a big Bone Thugs fan?
Yeah, I’m a ’90s kid, and frankly I think we have the best music. It was just back-to-back amazing artists with full albums of brilliant music. So I was always really, really into hip-hop. I actually wrote for Vibe for a while while I was in college and won a journalism scholarship through them. I’ve always loved every kind of music — which I guess I got into through dancing. I was exposed to classical jazz, rock, hip-hop, everything, but I’ve always loved Bone Thugs-N-Harmony. From the first second I heard them I was like, ‘Who are these guys? Where are they from? What’s going on?’
It’s funny, because even in college I remember that they were performing and nobody wanted to go with me, so I was just like, ‘I’m going to go by myself.’ I’ve always loved them and it’s kind of a joke that wrote itself, and it was a joy to be able to make something and kind honor them and how much I love dogs and what a perfect pun it is. I also love miniature, tiny things, so making tiny sets was super fun.
So do you have any more projects like this lined up?
I entered a contest once where I had to make a video every week for six months, so that kind of got me into [short-form video making]. I do the UCB [Upright Citizens Brigade] and I do other comedy stuff, so I definitely have other projects in the works. And hopefully my own TV show. If I had my perfect world it would be something like a New Age Pee-Wee’s Playhouse — a nice mix of Pee-Wee’s Playhouse, The Grind, The State, Are You Afraid of The Dark?, Salute Your Shorts, You Can’t Do That on TV, Fresh Prince, 90210 (the original), Family Matters, Sister Act, and Twin Peaks with just a touch of Robin Byrd and hard-hitting interviews/performances with musical guests Grace Jones, Bootsy Collins, David Bowie, Mike Patton, Jodeci, SWV, Soul Clap, The Gaslamp Killer, Hercules and Love Affair, JD Samson & Men, Sisqo, Stevie Wonder, and Joe Pesci for his work on Vincent Laguardia Gambini Sings Just for You. Danny Devito will end every episode with a bedtime story! It’s going to be a hit! It’s already being described as ‘exhilarating,’ ‘explosive’ and ‘dynamite’ as well as ‘the best thing to hit these airwaves since, EVER.’
So why do you think you should win this award?
I realized it’s just me versus children. Literally, it’s me versus toddlers. We really made a creative vision come to life by honoring music and showcasing how amazing dogs are.
Image courtesy of Chloe Apple Seldman