If you haven’t had the pleasure of viewing our city’s fine Pizza Rat, who lugged a cheese slice twice the size of his robust rat body down subway stairs, we invite you, do so now—er, after you’ve finished eating your lunch. Next, mosey on over to selfie rat—yet another rodent that just kind of walked on the lap of this guy who fell asleep on the subway floor, and managed to snap a selfie on his host’s phone before the man was startled awake by tiny rat feet, and took cover.
Oh, proliferated city rats! What would we blog about without you around?! Actually, here’s something: Gothamist reports that selfie rat, pizza rat, and lord knows how many untold other popular rat-video rats, might be the work of an anonymous artist who trains rats (or maybe one single rat) to perform these stunts and then pays UCB actors to do the dirty work and capture it all on film.
The artist—a woman known as “Zardulu”—purportedly reached out to the subway sleeper, Eric Yearwood, to perform with “selfie rat.” Yearwood is an actor with UCB. He told Gothamist that, “[Zardulu] said she was a NYC-based performance artist and wanted help with a project and was going to pay me a little bit of money.” Neither she nor Yearwood would get any credit for the work, Zardulu also told him. If you watch the video—have you?? do it now!—you’ll find that, indeed, the slumbering Yearwood, when awoken, doesn’t do a very awesome job of seeming scared out of his flipping mind, as any organically rat-walked person would be, as he runs away.
Gothamist reached another UCB actor who also claims to have worked on projects with Zardulu, and who has been made to sign Non-Disclosure Agreements in order to do so. As per his email, Zardulu “makes these fake scenarios, releases them as real through news, social media and whatever else. Many have been HUGE stories. Weirdest part is that she never comes forward or capitalizes on them whatsoever.”
As for pizza rat himself (whose video, probably not so incidentally, was captured by yet another UCB actor), Zardulu, who was in email touch with Gothamist, will neither confirm nor deny that she is Pizza Rat’s trainer. “I think there are better stories to tell. Why wake the world from a beautiful dream when the waking world is all so drab?”
Well, for starters, we can think of one great reason: Fewer absolutely horrifying videos of rats terrorizing lunch hours and our collective commuting lives.