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Friday, April 20, 2012

Author of That Chris Kattan/Mr. Peepers Screenplay Speaks: "All I Wanted to Do Was Confuse Strangers"

Posted By on Fri, Apr 20, 2012 at 7:37 AM

click to enlarge Justin Becker, according to his Tumblr
  • Justin Becker, according to his Tumblr
Justin Becker, according to his Tumblr
Justin Becker, the author of the incredible, and now-viral, satirical Mr. Peepers screenplay, Peepers, a canticle, has emerged from secrecy. He is a 27-year-old writer living in Los Angeles. It turns out, he didn't really go out of his way to hide his involvement with the book.

"Justin Becker, Sr.," after all, is the name of the "Chairman Emeritus of Cinema Studies, Durrod University," who wrote the preface and (fictionally) interviewed Chris Kattan in the Q&A at the end of the book. ("Becker Sr.," a footnote reported, was "deceased, balls cancer.")

"I didn't think I was being anonymous-- my name is all over it," Becker tells SF Weekly. "And like Mark Twain said, 'Reports of my death due to balls cancer have been greatly exaggerated.'"

Naturally, the rise of Peepers, a canticle demanded a review of its author's previous work. This review revealed that the screenplay was not the only hilarious thing Becker has unleashed onto the internet this spring.

On March 29 he posted on his tumblr a business plan for a company called "Single Sided Industries."

The company's innovative strategy is explained in the About Us section:

Interest in double-sided dildos are at an all time low. Now is the time to buy them wholesale, cut them in half, and re-sell them online as normal dildos. Pure profit.

Anytime a screenplay remaking an intellectual '70s dramedy by inserting an "enigmatic but deeply sexual creature" pops up in books stores up and down the Pacific Coast, questions inevitably arise. Like, "What kind of person would write this?" And, "Why?" And, "Does he really think he's going to be friends with Chris Kattan now?"

Justin Becker spoke with SF Weekly and answered some of these questions.

Why? Why Mr. Peepers? Why Being There?
The real question is why not Mr. Peepers? But also, the more real question is the one you asked, "Why Mr. Peepers?" And to that I can only say that I thought it would be funny to find out that a Mr. Peepers movie had been written, and it was very serious and pretentious and political, and it had been shelved because of 9/11. Being able to ruin a wonderful script like Being There was just icing on the cake.

How long did it take you to write?
Writing it didn't actually take very long, but actually figuring out how to make the books and website and such took a while because I am bad at computers. So I enlisted my friend Amy Fortunato to help design the book and website, my friend Matt James to design the Durrod banner, and my friend Will Patrick to draw the Durrod duck. Also Dan Cohen gave some technical advice, but fuck that guy, am I right? Oh, also my comedy partner Steve Clemmons punched up some jokes. I told them I would pay them, but I have no intention to so please don't print this part. (That's a joke, you can print it if you want.)

What do you do for a living?
I do work part-time at a newspaper, but the print industry is in enough trouble without me dragging their name into this idiocy. I also write part-time for a kid's show, but I doubt they would want their name mentioned in a news story where I can only hope that double-sided dildos play such a prominent part.

How many places did you plant the book at?
I traveled all across the West Coast planting these books like a demented Johny Appleseed. Chris Kattan's Wikipedia page says that "one thousand" books were put in stores, but I can neither confirm or deny that number. I can say that since there are no bookstores in Megler, Washington, when I was there, so I just tied a copy to a stray dog.

Anyway, the plants were the real joke-- I just wanted to put them in stores and see if people found them and were deeply confused. I never thought the internet would pick up on it. All I wanted to do was confuse strangers. Also, I gave Scribd a lot of web traffic, so I feel I am entitled to a Scribd mug. You helped too, Albert, so put yourself down for a mug as well. You know what? Scribd mugs for everyone.

Any plans to try to make money off the book?
No, only lose money. Mission accomplished.

Do you feel your life changing? Did you anticipate how much
attention this would get?

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. 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.

What else would you like the world to know about you?
This stunt is all viral marketing for Prometheus. I invite you to try and disprove that, possibly by seeing Prometheus when it opens nationwide on June 8th.


And with that, we'll sign off with some words from Durrod U.'s late Chairmen Emeritus of Cinema Studies. An excerpt from the preface of Peepers, a canticle:

Peepers, a canticle is a work sui generis, but that is not to say it is without literary antecedents. Mr. Peepers' oft-repeated "Bah" owes no small debt to Bartleby, the Scrivener's invocation "I would prefer not to," his rise to the heights of power through misconstrued impassivity reminiscent of The Good Soldier Švejk, but it is from the greatest story ever told that Kattan draws most heavily: the Bible. The character of Eve and the centrality of apple as metaphor for knowledge are but the most obvious of biblical allusions throughout a canticle, itself a liturgical term. No doubt an enterprising theologian could make great hay of the dying man whom Peepers redeems-- Eleazar, from the Hebrew name for "Lazarus." There is a treatise in even his license plate, "ELEZ 11." A reference to the resurrection of Lazarus from John 11 or a sly nod to Chapter 11 bankruptcy and the moral deprivation of the financial sector that Eleazar represents? It is a fertile vein, which I plan to mine further in a future exegesis concerning Mr. Peepers as progenitor of the Occupy Movement.

Also, there's this:


A fine blurb for the second edition.

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Albert Samaha


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