Lionel’s Puppy and Kitty City, Cop Accents, and the Funniest Sentence Ever

On last night’s episode of Project Runway (look, I make The Wife watch enough horrible Mets games; I can sit through some competition-based reality TV now and again), the designers were tasked with making outfits comprised of materials found in a pet store. One contestant opted to make them out of a housebreaking product for dogs referred to as “wee-wee pads”.

Hearing “wee-wee pads” cracked me the hell up. Because aside from being obviously hilarious in and of itself, the phrase “wee-wee pads” reminded me of something I hadn’t thought about in years: Lionel’s Puppy and Kitty City. Or rather, an ad for this establishment that ran on local TV during my youth.

It was an ultra-low budget production, one that I’m not sure legally qualifies as a commercial. Really, it was a slideshow of pics from the exterior and interior of a pet store in Brooklyn, and its running time was no longer than 10 seconds. The reason I still remember this ad is thanks to the voice-over genius who read along with the slideshow. A low-toned, emotionless narrator urged you to come down to Lionel’s Puppy and Kitty City on 86th Street in Bensonhurst for all your pet needs, in a very thick Cop Accent.

If you’re not from the NYC area, a Cop Accent is a very particular Brooklyn-y, Bronx-y dialect in which the speaker sounds gruff yet subdued, usually because their words meet slight resistance from a substantial mustache. (Think Christopher Guest doing his “I hate when that happens” routine.) I grew up in a town where everyone’s dad, it seemed, has a Cop Accent. You could also hear it on the local news all the time, when an NYPD spokesman relayed the finer details of a horrifying crime in as bored a voice as possible. “And den de alleged perpetratahs beat de 87-year-old woman into a coma with her own cane…”

That’s the kind of voice this narrator had. Which is why I would always lose it when, at the very end of the commercial, the narrator with the Cop Accent would mumble. “Free housebreaking wee-wee pads with every purchase.”

When Project Runway gave me Lionel’s Puppy and Kitty City flashbacks, I reminded The Wife of this golden piece of cinema. She recalled this ad as well, though we were in dispute as to when it aired. I feel like it was strictly a late night commercial, appearing in the SNL/Showtime at the Apollo window, while she swears she saw it during afternoon cartoons. I feel like she can’t be right, because if an ad that prominently featured a man nonchalantly mentioning “housebreaking wee-wee pads with every purchase” in the post-school time slot, kids would have gone to the hospital in droves for laughing themselves sick.

Sadly, among the Vast and Dusty Scratchbomb VHS Archives, I have yet to locate video evidence that this thing actually existed. Googling provided me no evidence, either; the closest thing I could find was link to someone’s Facebook post where they mentioned “free housebreaking wee-wee pads,” but the link was sadly broken. For the moment, my wife’s mutual memory is its only corroboration. But I assure you, it is one of the most simply hilarious things you could ever hope to see. If you remember what I’m talking about, just leave a note in the comments section so I know that I am not alone. And if anyone out there actually has this on tape somewhere, I will pay in the dozens to see it again!

2 thoughts on “Lionel’s Puppy and Kitty City, Cop Accents, and the Funniest Sentence Ever”

  1. Your wife is right. I remember the commercial, and I wasn’t allowed to stay up late enough to watch SNL or Apollo. I’m thinking it ran during stuff like Facts of Life and Diff’rent Strokes.

  2. I’ve been looking for this commercial for years and haven’t found it. And I think it aired all over the place, not just late night. As far as “horrible Mets games,” well, I feel your pain!

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