CHICAGO – Standing up at the Lyric Opera house in Chicago is unusual before a show. But in this case, it was the night after a tragedy, and the operetta “The Merry Widow” – set in Paris, France, in 1905 – was about to unfold. The orchestra struck up La Marseillaise, a reminder that we’ll always have Paris.
Film Review: ‘Shut Up Little Man! An Audio Misadventure’ Documents Viral Legacy
CHICAGO – Raymond Huffman and Peter Haskett were viral before that word meant anything other than an adjective for pneumonia. Perhaps you’ve heard of Peter and Ray, a pair of irascible roommates in San Francisco who became audio tape icons after their neighbors recorded their drunken exchanges and started circulating them among their friends. “Shut Up Little Man! An Audio Misadventure” documents the phenomenon that started when two hipster kids moved in next door to a pair of fascinating drunks.
What starts as a clever comedy piece about the popularity of the actual recordings becomes something more poignant when director Matthew Bate starts asking questions about privacy and unwanted celebrity. The film still feels a bit dragged out to meet a theatrical running time and might have made a tighter short documentary but it’s funny, interesting, and entertaining. You never know who might be listening your arguments and you never know the impact of the birth of a viral celebrity has on everyone involved.
|Read Brian Tallerico’s full review of “Shut Up Little Man! An Audio Misadventure” in our reviews section.|
When two guys calling themselves Eddie Lee Sausage and Mitchell D. decided to move from Wisconsin to San Francisco, they could have had no idea what they were about to get themselves into. They found a place in a decrepit apartment building nicknamed the Pepto Bismol Palace because of its hideous color and woke one night to an odd sound. It turns out their neighbors were a pair of loud, obnoxious drunks who constantly berated each other. After an encounter that caused them to fear for their lives, they began to tape the arguments, ostensibly as evidence should someone find their lifeless bodies. Of course, they quickly realized that their audio recordings were more than just evidence and started sending them around to friends who found them quite hysterical. They even began provoking Pete and Ray with prank phone calls.
As recordings of Pete and Ray started making the trendy San Francisco circuit, they gained legions of fans. Pete and Ray would become subjects of comic books, a play, and even an eventual film. Quotes from these two maniacs would make their way into the cultural landscape to the point that they’ve even been referenced on “SpongeBob SquarePants” and samples in music by Devo. As these two men became semi-celebrities against their will, questions of integrity began to haunt the two men who secretly recorded them. Years later, the documentary about them makes clear that they still aren’t sure how they feel about invading privacy for not just laughs but eventual fame and financial gain.
Shut Up Little Man! An Audio Misadventure
Photo credit: Tribeca Film