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Anna G. Larson, Published March 23 2014

Making A Scene: Friends get together for 'Drunk Letters to Famous People'

FARGO - Dustin Elliott sent his high school graduation announcement to Jim Carrey.

The actor-comedian responded with a signed headshot.

Ever since, Elliott’s wanted to write letters to famous people. A decade later, the West Fargo man wants to be really honest in those letters. Drunk honest.

Elliot and three friends – Pat Thompson, Nick Boe and Breanna Hinkel – decided to make the idea a reality by creating “Drunk Letters to Famous People.”

“Drunk Letters to Famous People,” or DL2FP as the group calls it, will appear weekly or bi-weekly as only videos based in Fargo-Moorhead. And as the program’s title suggests, there will be cocktails in hand – most of the time.

“There’s that brutal honesty about being drunk. That’s a good vehicle to drive our point home,” Thompson says, adding that everyone will have a sober ride home, and no one has to drink.

“It’s our slant on pop culture. We figure the freshest way is the honesty that comes with being drunk,” Elliott says.

The friends are quick to mention that if anyone has a drinking problem, they should seek help.

“This is for humor purposes, so if you do have a problem, you probably don’t want to watch this,” Hinkel says.

Each episode, they’ll focus on one famous person and “write” the letter on air, giving punch-drunk praise or inebriated insults. The show is partially scripted so conversation stays on track.

A physical letter will be mailed to the celebrity after the episode is filmed, and the friends hope they’ll receive a reply.

“Imagine a panel of Drunk Uncles,” Thompson says, referring to the “Saturday Night Live” skit featuring comedian Bobby Moynihan. “We may need to give some criticism to Justin Beiber. We might need to re-tell Tom Hanks how awesome he is. There are so many possibilities.”

The show follows a similar path of the recent hit Comedy Central series “Drunk History,” in which comedians get drunk and give history lessons that are then re-enacted by celebrities.

For now, the drunken letter segments are filmed in Elliott or Hinkel’s basements, and a few local bars including Duffy’s and Woody’s in Fargo and Stars and Strikes in West Fargo.

Through donations on crowdfunding website Indiegogo, the group is hoping to raise $3,000 to pay for a studio and to purchase sound and light equipment, among other items.

Ultimately, they’d like the show to become their full-time gig. For now, Elliott works in corporate finance, Thompson is a freelance video editor and cameraman, Hinkel sells vintage and handmade items on Etsy and Boe works for the Army National Guard and J.L. Beers.

Catch their show at Indiegogo.com or connect on Facebook at www.facebook.

com/DL2FP or Twitter @DL2FP.

What makes “Drunk Letters to Famous People” different from other projects that need funding?

“Patrick has the video experience to create something that will be professional looking,” Hinkel says. “The production value will be there. Plus it’s humorous. People want comic relief.”

Who’s your target demographic?

“Everybody,” Thompson says. “I don’t think you have to be drinker to watch it.”

Hinkel disagrees, saying it probably appeals mostly to 21- to 55-year-old males.

What are your favorite drinks?

Thompson’s a gin and tonic fan, preferring Tanqueray or Bombay, or Death’s Door Gin if he can find it.

“It’s the best gin I’ve ever had. You could drink it straight, and it wouldn’t disgust you,” he says.

Elliott’s a craft beer drinker who also enjoys Glenlevit scotch, Maker’s Mark Kentucky Straight Bourbon and Jameson Irish Whiskey.

“I can drink that like water,” he says, referring to the blended Irish whiskey.

Hinkel sticks to fermented apple cider like Woodchuck Hard Cider or wine, and Boe enjoys Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandy.

You mentioned Tom Hanks and Justin Bieber. Who else is on your list of celebs to write to?

Actors like Jennifer Lawrence and Kevin Smith, Elliott says.

How do you know each other?

“I worked with Pat’s brother in high school. We grew up in the smallest towns,” Elliott says of Adams, N.D. and Park River, N.D.

Boe and Elliott are cousins who’ve been best friends since they were children.

Hinkel and Thompson met on Match.com and recently became engaged.

“If we go to Vegas, let’s do an away episode, a wedding episode!” Hinkel suggests.

What do your parents think of “Drunk Letters to Famous People?”

“My parents and step-parents think it’s hilarious,” Elliott says.

“My dad laughed at it the same way he did Adam Sandler jokes in the ’90s,” Thompson says. “You could tell he didn’t want to think it was as funny as it is.”

“My parents don’t drink, so I haven’t told them,” Hinkel says.


Readers can reach Forum reporter Anna G. Larson at (701) 241-5525