Crop circles. Hitler’s diary. Balloon Boy. Pentagon portrait. Anyone can tweet that Zack Morris and Blossom died in a head-on car crash. But elaborate hoaxes make the best hoaxes. Think about all those hours spent in preparation and execution, all for the off-chance the joke falls into the right hands.
About two weeks ago, a City Lights bookstore patron in San Francisco found a copy of “Peepers: A Canticle,” which purports to be “the brilliant, unproduced screenplay by the acclaimed wit and seminal comic actor Chris Kattan.” The 105-page script imagines how it would go down if Chris Kattan’s apple-devouring monkey-man SNL character who can only say “Bah!” suddenly lived a charmed life a la Peter Sellers’ Chance the Gardener in Hal Ashby’s 1979 hit film Being There.
There’s Peepers-style humping, there’s character depth, there’s even George W. Bush. You can click here to read the set-up, the analysis, the full screenplay and the fake Q&A with Kattan.
The whole thing is, to use a word that has lost all meaning on the Internet, brilliant. The genius comes not only in the screenplay, which is an incredible read, but the execution as well. The author, a Los Angeles writer named Justin Becker, decided against throwing it up on a blog as his own work and hoping people picked it up, opting instead to slip paperback books in stores throughout California.
“I traveled all across the West Coast planting these books like a demented Johnny Appleseed,” he told SF Weekly. “Chris Kattan’s Wikipedia page says that 1,000 books were put in stores, but I can neither confirm or deny that number.”
What will come of this ambitious, elaborate set-up? “I can’t think of a single possible effect this could have on my life, other than killing any chance I ever had of being friends with Chris Kattan,” Becker said. “I’d like to think that in the unlikely scenario that Hollywood ever does decide to make a Mr. Peepers movie, I’d be the first one they called to write it, but I also imagine that by then I’ll be too busy fording rivers of blood, because if that happens it will truly be the end times.”
Yet in the fortnight since someone mailed the found copy to SF Weekly, very few outlets have covered what should be the most viral entertainment story of the last month. Do your part — share this.
If you need a refresher on Mr. Peepers, here’s some Will Ferrell and Kevin Spacey for you:
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