Yesterday, a video made its way around the internet purporting to be a series of lost voicemails (or more accurately, answering machine messages) from “Hollywood Super Agent Warren Klein.” The Funny or Die description reads:
In the 1980’s, Warren Klein was the most powerful agent in Hollywood. He represented the biggest stars of the era. These are his voicemails. Presumed lost, the Warren Klein Voicemail Archive was discovered last year in a foreclosed storage unit in Brentwood, CA. Warren Klein was ranked #74 on Time Magazine’s “100 Most Influential People Of 1986.”
You can listen to the series of messages below, to people like C. Thomas Howell and Jamie Gertz, with Klein making pronouncements like:
“I’m telling you, do not pass on this. It is Karate Kid, but instead of Pat Morita playing Mr. Miyata, we’ve got Roy Scheider. And I don’t know if you heard, but Roy is very happy to be in a film like this, because he was not happy with the way Blue Thunder was cut. Now, are you sitting down? For the money: thirty five. Thousand. Dollars. Guaranteed.”
“Call me in the car, or at this great new place. It’s called Benihana. This place is insane, they cook the food on the f*cking table. Some ninja. I swear on my children’s eyes, I’m sitting there, this ninja is cuttin’ up shrimp, on the table, flips one into Charlie Slaughter’s beautiful mouth from five feet away. I’m going there tomorrow with Matty Broderick to talk him out of Max Dugan Returns.”
It sounded a little too good to be true, and I’ve always suspected “Warren” to be a name that exists almost solely in fictional comedy. So is he real?
Nope, he’s fictional, but still pretty damn funny.
Writer-comedians Jody Lambert and Matt Oberg are the creators, after Lambert came up with the character while joking with friends about obscure movies from the ’80s and imagining who was the real-life behind-the-scenes cheerleader of such projects as James Garner’s Tank and Rob Lowe’s Oxford Blues.
“My own manager called me and said ‘This sounds so real I’m going to use some of Warren’s lines with my other clients,’” said Lambert. “But we never intended for people to think it was real.”
They didn’t want to make him an Entourage-style Ari Gold super-douche. “He’s not some young turk,” Lambert says. “He’s an older guy who knows how to coddle the fragile egos of C. Thomas Howell and Jami Gertz.” It’s no surprise the clip is appealing to those currently associated with Hollywood, he added, because “the stakes are the same, but the movies have come and gone, or in the case of the movies we choose, they are somewhat relegated to the dustbin of history.”
Oberg (currently on Comedy Central’s Ugly Americans and Onion SportsDome) is the voice of the agent. “The poor audio makes it sound more real, but that’s due to our incompetence more than anything,” he says. “We don’t tip our hats too much, and it’s great to get any attention we can, but ideally we’d be credited as guys who found the tapes in some archive.” [EntertaintmentWeekly]
I think people respond to it because of how true it rings. I’m sure that for a few months, everyone in Hollywood was (and/or will be) buzzing about Hugh Jackman training robot boxers in Real Steel like it’s the most important thing in the world, but is there any doubt that in 20 years, people will look at it like a bizarre curio from a bygone era like Peter Horton in Sideout? I already look at it like that now.