Toonces the Driving Cat: The Feline Who Took the Wheel - Cats

Toonces the Driving Cat: The Feline Who Took the Wheel

Toonces the Driving Cat: The Feline Who Took the Wheel

Toonces the Driving Cat was a beloved character from the sketch comedy show, “Saturday Night Live” in the late 80s and early 90s. This talented feline was portrayed as a skilled driver who could maneuver a car through various scenarios, including high-speed chases and off-road adventures, all while being full of comedic flair and impressing audiences with his talents. But how did this feline become such a sensation on live television?

Toonces’ Origins

The origin of Toonces the Driving Cat can be traced back to its creator, Robert Smigel. Smigel is a comedian and writer who was a regular writer and starring performer on SNL during the show’s 90s golden era. Smigel was a big fan of animals, and he started to create comedy segments that featured them. One of these was the character Triumph the Insult Comic Dog, featuring a hand puppet that would insult celebrities and interview people in comical situations.

But Toonces was a little different. The idea for Toonces came from an actual driving cat. Robert Smigel heard a story about a cat that accidentally hit a car, and he thought it would make for a funny sketch if the cat started to drive the car, eventually causing it to crash. This idea was later developed into the driving cat we all know and love.

Toonces’ Talent for Driving

Toonces debuted in a sketch named “Toonces, the Cat Who Could Drive a Car” during the 16th season of “Saturday Night Live” in 1986. The sketch starred then cast member Dana Carvey, Julie Louis-Dreyfus, and Victoria Jackson.

From then on, Toonces became a regular character in SNL, with his driving skills improving each time he appeared on the show. In the sketches, Toonces was portrayed as a well-behaved and gentle cat who showed no signs of aggression or disobedience, until he got behind the wheel of a car. Toonces had a knack for working the pedals, steering, and negotiating traffic with ease, all while sporting a pair of aviator sunglasses that would make any Hollywood stuntman proud.

Toonces’ Legacy

Toonces’ popularity skyrocketed during his time on SNL. Fans adored the character and his antics, so much so that Smigel wrote and produced an entire special titled “The Best of Toonces”. The special aired on NBC and served as a tribute to the cat’s most notable appearances on the show.

Despite his short tenure on SNL, Toonces remains one of the most memorable characters to ever grace the show, earning a spot in pop culture history. He was a standout addition to the show’s already impressive cast: A comic character that was both funny and adorable, adding a unique and quirky spin to each sketch.


Toonces the Driving Cat was a cultural icon that captured the hearts of millions. His impact on SNL and pop culture will never be forgotten. Although Toonces’ run on SNL lasted only a short time, his impact was significant. His boldness, humor, and quirky nature made him unforgettable and an instant classic. Today, Toonces remains a beloved character, remembered for his unprecedented driving skills and fearless attitude. Whether you’re watching For the “Best of Toonces” or enjoying a rerun of SNL, Toonces has made his mark and will continue to be one of the most beloved and iconic characters in the show’s history.

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