'Shut Up Little Man!' The Comedy of Sausage & Mitchell
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE
Because we wrote a nice article for you, and you CRUCIFIED it!
By Eugene S. Robinson
“If you want to talk to ME then SHUT YER GODDAMNED MOUTH!!!” Raymond Huffman — or was it Peter Haskett? — thundered, and their next-door neighbors, Eddie Lee Sausage and Mitchell D., laughed their asses off while holding the mic outside their bumptious neighbors’ San Francisco window. The year was 1987.
Argument after argument, the Section 8 housing heroes crossed swords over everything from “Why do you always giggle falsely?” to “I had dinner ready and YOU CRUCIFIED IT!” and Sausage and Mitchell documented it on a CD with titles painstakingly noted. “On the Floor Again,” Parts 1 and 2, detailed the fights; “A Night in the Stony Lonesome” the low points and arrests; and about 30 other entries. All from the neighborly vantage point of an open window.
Anti-comedian Neil Hamburger turned us on to Sausage and Mitchell’s discovery of Raymond, Peter and, later on, the linchpin around which some of the most piquant apartment drama occurred, the louche Tony. “This is great. I don’t know if it’s legal or not, but it’s the best kind of audio vérité,” said Hamburger, passing over what at the time had just been a cassette tape of endless drunken high jinks. High jinks that, when transferred to CD in 1993, caught on like cultic wildfire.
What? Hunh? Why?
Though Raymond and Peter both died in the 1990s — Raymond in 1992 from a heart attack brought on by colon cancer, pancreatitis and alcoholism, and Peter in 1996 from alcoholism-fueled liver problems — their endless and completely politically incorrect diatribes were oft-quoted, and in the pre-Internet era, came closest to being a sort of in-the-know meme. That spread into pubs that were either inspired by them or directly about them, theater productions, music and even movies, the first being the 2002 indie Shut Yer Dirty Little Mouth. Johnny Depp was even at one time considering a run at a motion picture framed around the irrepressible drunken cut-ups.
Finally, 2010 saw Shut Up Little Man! – An Audio Misadventure released as a documentary by a filmmaker far from San Fran, Australian director Matthew Bate, who rode it straight to Sundance and then Down Under for the 2011 Adelaide Film Festival, where it won a Special Jury Mention. While the star-studded notice can feel a little touristy, weird and voyeuristic, Raymond and Peter had some sense of what their neighbors were up to, and had a little taste of the subsequent fame that was launched out of their hard-fought labors of love. And drunkenness. So enjoying it as a somewhat guilty pleasure is a skosh mitigated.
But their collective response to anything other than drinking and the love/hate that bound the two of them together till death did they part, could best be summed up by something Peter matter-of-factly growled mid-argument one, or a dozen, times: “I’m perfectly willing to kill anyone who thinks they’re tough.” The best and blackest kind of humor.