Noah Morayniss is behind the rapping, cooking and occasionally snotty Cheetah, who is rightfully the freshest voice in food media.
Ignore the rapid rise of TikTok nutrition guides at your peril: increasingly, the discourse (and fun) surrounding food culture is taking place in this short, highly addictive format. A new generation of stars in front of the camera is reaching a stunningly large and always-on global audience. About 40,000 people and rising have more than a million followers on the platform, many of whom integrate everything from recipe development to restaurant reviews into their online space. The question comes up: How do you manage to shine brightly with all the light pollution and with as many TikTok stars as there are celestial bodies in the sky?
For Noah Morayniss – known as Goodboy Noah on all social media platforms – the answer came in the form of a rapping, boiling and occasionally slobbery cheetah puppet.
Morayniss, 30 (“young 30,” he says), has 1.6 million followers tick tock and another 805,000 Instagram. The report’s appeal is immediately apparent: a series of one-minute original musical compositions in which Morayniss and his partner – a puppet named Cheetah, more on him in a moment – prepare recipes like Granny Smith apple pie and challah from scratch in a small home kitchen cook. The dishes they prepare are accessible and fun, from homemade bagels to chocolate chip banana bread, based on a not-too-serious approach to online cooking that eschews formality and traditional recipes in favor of beats, rhymes and punchlines.
Noah sings the hooks in a blue eye soul falsetto; Cheetah raps the verse in a confident PG-13 baritone. Attempting to describe the spectacle is like writing a paragraph about the red-tinted wobble of Mars visible on a cool, clear night. That said, you can talk about it all you want, but there’s nothing quite like looking for it yourself.
@goodboy.noah This bread sucks #Banana bread #rnb ♬ Original sound – Goodboy Noah
Like many content creators who have a large following on social media, this wasn’t Morayniss’ original plan. Born in Toronto, raised in West LA (his father is entertainment executive John Morayniss), he spent much of his twenties making his mark as a recording artist. “I knew I wanted to make music and I love R&B,” he tells me, “but I just floated a little bit. The advertising side of the business made me unhappy. But then I started talking to Cheetah and we agreed to do some fun cooking videos where we sing and rap.”
This point in the story requires some clarity. Though he’s obviously a puppet — Cheetah looks a bit like a spotted version of Shari Lewis’ lamb chop — Morayniss insists throughout our interview on Cheetah as a living being and indeed as a full and equal partner in both production and editing indicate performance of content. For example, when asked what inspired him to start making cooking videos with a puppet, Morayniss was quick to reply, “What do you mean by ‘puppet’?” The rhetorical gambit was carefully maintained throughout the interview and proved surprising by the end effective — I started referring to Cheetah as his peer and stopped asking for a breakdown of rights and license attribution shortly thereafter.
Noah and Cheetah’s success was palpable from the first video, with 240,000 likes and more than 3,000 comments debut collaboration In early 2022, a fluffy omelette tutorial with rhymes like “Just crack three eggs in the bowl, add some butter to the pan, and heat over medium-low.” The video has now garnered more than a million views, surpassed by follow-ups at the homemade sushi, steakAnd Salmon glazed with miso. “Justin Bieber shared the salmon video on TikTok,” Morayniss recalled, “and Snoop Dogg shared that Banana Bread Video on his Instagram page.” This particular clip marks something of a turning point in Noah and Cheetah’s development: a staggering 1.8 million likes for a one-minute video with lines like, “We need some flour dude, then you stir knead the dough until it is silky smooth.”
@goodboy.noah I knead these bagels, they’re everything to me #Bagels #Ayocheetah #rnb ♬ Original sound – Goodboy Noah
The duo’s acceptance in the music community has been impressive – Raekwon (a Wu Tang Clan rapper a.k.a. “the Boss”) Drop fire emojis in the comments– But it’s the approach of these home cooking videos that I find particularly exciting. Humor, lightness, and the ability to make your audience smile are underappreciated tools in the food content arsenal; We forget such things in the mists of history, but some of the first famous food personalities, from Julia Child to Martin Yan and James Beard, were often hilarious and expressed themselves in their cooking in often unexpected ways. “Actually, I’m a bad cook,” says Morayniss, leaning back on the concept, “but Cheetah’s a great cook — he’s the master chef.”
The recipes provided on @goodboy.noah contain many of the quirks of traditional food tutorials (such as how much flour to use in the bagels), which Morayniss sees as conflicting with the limitations of TikTok as a platform. “Sometimes it’s just difficult to fit all those things into the lyrics,” he says, laughing. “It’s difficult to keep it under a minute and let everything flow when you have to measure everything. You can’t fit every little thing into the text.”
That’s not stopping fans from cooking at home with Noah and Cheetah and tagging the account in their attempts to recreate dishes like lasagna, macaroni and cheese, and churros — “the high-carb dishes are the most popular,” says Noah. Given our modern world, it didn’t take long for brands to call, and the account has now featured sponsored content collaborations with artists like Tillamook, Maruchan Ramen, Sweetgreen, and Chrissy Teigen’s Cravings. “We approach these things the same way we approach any video,” says Morayniss on behalf of his creative partner. “Our relationship is quite unintentionally perfect for promotion because Cheetah teaches me everything and recommends things and I’m just like, ‘Yeah, that’s cool!'”
Creating content for the platform is now Noah Morayniss’s full-time job and he is represented by 3 Arts Entertainment, a talent management and production company based in Beverly Hills. The account offers merchandise for sale (including shirts, hoodies, mugs, and a Cheetah-brand hot sauce available in Hickory Smoked or Classic Chipotle), as well as full-length songs that push TikTok’s time limits. (The first of entitled “Ayo”, Set in late February.) The duo have met with literary agents to discuss a cookbook and are developing a concept for a TV show.
But the question that everyone keeps asking themselves: from Questlove Listing tons of one-on-one comments on dozens of videos is an easy thing to do, and I had to face it myself towards the end of our conversation, even if I felt a little guilty doing it, like I was knowingly ruining the part. Who is the voice of Cheetah?
“Why do people keep asking me that question?!” You can feel the conversation rising, a touch of barely suppressed indignation in Noah Morayniss’ reply. “It’s like asking who will do the voice for me! Why do people think we’re dubbing his voice?”
I’m cautious about my follow-up topic – I don’t want to sully Cheetah – but people have always been interested in such things. Frank Oz and Jim Henson performed the famous performance of “Bert and Ernie” as a continuation of their lifelong creative collaboration; Paul Reubens drew on comedians from the LA area for the multimedia clique of in the 1980s Pee-wee’s Playhouse; the dolls further Crank Yanker were voiced by everyone from Biz Markie to Sarah Silverman. It’s a pretty natural question – there’s a reason people want to know, especially once we’re invested in the content.
“I understand all that,” says Morayniss, and thinks for a moment. “But they’re all just puppets. What does that have to do with my husband Cheetah?”