By Derek Lawrence
December 12, 2018 at 08:30 AM EST
Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire/Getty Images

Imagine a Muppet, but taller, scarier, and more popular on the internet. That’s Gritty. Introduced three months ago, the Philadelphia Flyers’ new mascot is wrecking-balling his way through a historic rookie season, dominating late-night TV, memes, and your nightmares.

But Gritty refuses to believe he’s a true sensation. “Every time I get on Twitter, I get this tingling feeling in my furry fingers when I know I’m about to send a fire tweet,” he tells EW. “That’s the only sensation, really.” Don’t let the modesty fool you, though, as Gritty is predicting “an Elon Musk-level ascension” for himself, which could be tough considering how high he’s already flown. Whether he was coming in like a wrecking ball for his home debut, recreating Kim Kardashian’s “Break the Internet” cover, sending out those fire tweets, or being accused by Saturday Night Live of kidnapping Santa Claus, it’s truly been the grittiest year yet.

As part of EW’s Best of 2018 coverage, we managed to score a few minutes in Gritty’s busy schedule to better get to know the real him.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: We’re profiling you under “10 things that rocked the internet this year,” so what does that honor mean to you?
I mean it’s nice. It’ll mean a heck of a lot more when I receive that monetary cash prize (you guys have my address right? I can’t do Venmo anymore).

Did you always dream of becoming a famous mascot? Was this always the plan?
I’d like to say my dreams are as big as Knickers the cow, but I try not to dream too much after watching Inception.

How do you think you’ve handled your skyrocketing success? Are we headed for a Kanye-like meltdown?
Ou contrare, I’m predicting an Elon Musk-level ascension. All the way to the freaking MOON! Also, ATTN KIM K: if Kanye really did melt and you need a shoulder to cry on, I’ve been told this fur works wonders to heal the soul.

I’ve seen headlines describe you as a “terrifying monstrosity” and “pure nightmare fuel.” How would you describe yourself?
Tall, dark burnt orange, and handsome. And those nightmares get about 29 miles to the gallon, so I’d say the fuel level is great.

Who really broke the internet: you, Kim Kardashian, or Ralph?
TBH Knickers the giant cow is huuuuuge right now. Literally. 12/10 would pet.

What is your favorite internet meme/trend/moment of the year?
Someone photoshopped me on Knickers and I’ve never looked more majestic.

What’s next? How can you possibly top your 2018?
I thought Next was that dating show on MTV. They canceled that I think if I remember correctly. Shame. But, to top my 2018? Probs counting down til’ midnight with [Flyers player] Claude [Giroux] — dream big ya know?

To see what else made EW’s Best (and Worst) of 2018 lists, pick up the new issue of Entertainment Weekly on stands now, or buy it here. Don’t forget to subscribe for more exclusive interviews and photos, only in EW.

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