Clancy’s Auto Body Shop, a Fort Lauderdale business that’s been around for nearly two decades, is currently blowing up on TikTok—all thanks to a cat meme.
On Feb. 20, the account’s first post read, “Guys I lied on my resume and got a job doing the social media of this body shop, please blow this up so I don’t get fired.” That caption was accompanied by the meme Maxwell the Cat bouncing over the body shop.
@clancysautobody Job market is tough rn 😒 #bodyshoplife #shoplife #autobody ♬ オリジナル楽曲 – unicouniuni – I’m Uni.
The TikTok now has more than 23 million views, and the comments are full of people who think this employee obviously has social media experience. There were also more pressing questions, like, “Is this the shop Sam Smith sang about.”
Over the last two weeks, the Clancy’s Auto Body account posted other TikToks to help keep up the momentum, and many of them have gotten more than a million views each. Several videos feature the “boss man,” owner Hooman Rafiee, looking annoyed at all this new attention, including some possibly fake Google reviews, though he’s likely playing along.
And reviews are populating the comments, though it’s hard to verify what’s real. “Y’all fixed my car after I hit a gator,” says one, which, knowing Florida, sounds real.
@clancysautobody Please only review if you’ve gotten work done here, BossMan wants to run an honest business 💯 #shoplife #bodyshoplife #autobody #clancysautobody #clancyscult ♬ オリジナル楽曲 – unicouniuni – I’m Uni.
We reached out to Clancy’s via email and Instagram direct message for comment. Rafiee told the Sun Sentinel that they’d been planning their entrance on TikTok for five months. According to NBC, the social media manager is 29-year-old Joel Velazquez, and he told them he was inspired by the TikTok trend of young people saying they lied on their resume, so he paired that with the cat meme and “didn’t know the combination was going to be so explosive.”
The hashtag #clancyscult is now circulating, and other brands and businesses on TikTok are trying to replicate Clancy’s success.
@sprayberryanimalhospital Fingers crossed 🤞🏼 who wouldn’t want to see more puppies and kitties on their fyp 🤨🦮🐈⬛🐈🐾 #CapCut #viral #trending #funny #fyp #meme #share #clancysautobody #clancyscult #veterinarian #vettok #petsoftiktok ♬ If u having a bad day just have a good day instead – Fahad Kaleem
@schipholairport It’s only his first week. We should’ve known… 😅 #socialmediaintern #maxwellthecat #schiphol #airport ♬ オリジナル楽曲 – unicouniuni – I’m Uni.
Maxwell the Cat, who is featured in other Clancy TikToks, is a meme format that originated on Imgur in 2017, and spread across various platforms and templates over the next five years, seeing an uptick in usage in late 2022 and into early 2023. The cat’s real name is apparently Jess, and its owner, the original poster, who went by Voidhawk42, updated fans about her health in January 2020, saying she had an intestinal blockage and needed surgery.
The TikTok account voidhawk42 appeared in February, and claims to be the “person who owns the maxwell meme cat!” There are two posts, both about Jess, but commenters don’t seem to believe this is the actual owner. In the comments of one post, voidhawk42 claims Jess died “a few months ago.”
However, the actual owner told Kotaku last month that Jess did pass away in 2020 after the blockage was discovered to be cancer.
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*First Published: Mar 3, 2023, 3:16 pm CST
Audra Schroeder is the Daily Dot’s senior entertainment writer, and she focuses on streaming, comedy, and music. Her work has previously appeared in the Austin Chronicle, the Dallas Observer, NPR, ESPN, Bitch, and the Village Voice. She is based in Austin, Texas.