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24 Aug 2010

http://www.aolnews.com/weird-news/article/fcu-fact-checkers-unit-investigates-bizarre-celebrity-trivia/19600782

 

Weird News

Fact or Fiction: Is Luke Perry's House Really Haunted?

Monica Garske

(Aug. 24) -- Is former TV heartthrob Luke Perry's house really haunted? Does "Jeopardy" host Alex Trebek shave against the grain? Does sexy supermodel Karolina Kurkova use SPF 125 sunblock at the beach?

Well, those weird -- and totally questionable -- "facts" are just the kind of obscure allegations being meticulously researched in the new NBC Digital Studios Web series "FCU: Fact Checkers Unit," airing new episodes every Tuesday on factcheckersunit.com.

Image from NBC's digital short series, FCU: Fact Checkers Unit.
NBC
From left, "FCU: Fact Checkers Unit" stars Brian Sacca and Peter Karinen and Luke Perry huddle close while trying to verify if Perry's house is, in fact, haunted.

The five- to six-minute digital shorts follow two overbearing, overzealous fact checkers who work for the fictional men's magazine Dictum, played by Upright Citizens Brigade comedians Peter Karinen and Brian Sacca.

Their job as the sole members of the FCU division is to research every absurd celebrity "fact" in every article, in every issue. And they take their duties very, very seriously.

That means breaking into former "Beverly Hills, 90210" star Luke Perry's house -- and winding up in bed with him -- to find out if his home is, as one "Dictum" reporter claims, haunted by ghosts.

They also must do whatever it takes to verify whether Jane's Addiction rocker Dave Navarro does, in fact, insist that the tears of a virgin, beetles and finger sandwiches be provided backstage at each and every venue he plays.

Although Karinen and Sacca told AOL News they personally have a lot in common with their wacky characters' "anal and unreasonable" nature, that whole checking for accuracy bit is foreign territory.

They admit traditional fact checking isn't common practice for comedians. The only thing they check is whether a joke is really funny or not.

"One of the benefits of writing comedy is that we don't have to check any facts in anything we write -- ever," said Karinen. "The most research we do is figuring out a way to change a joke just enough so people can't tell we stole it from someone else."
mage from NBC's digital short series, FCU: Fact Checkers Unit.
NBC
Funnyman Brian Sacca in the middle of a serious fact-checking effort.

That's not to say the guys haven't had to verify so-called "facts" about themselves.

Sacca says the weirdest tidbit he's ever had to address about himself was as a freshman in college, when students started a rumor that he worshipped the devil.

"They all said I was a weird devil worshipper, but no one came up and asked me about it. No one talked to me on the dorm room floor that year," he lamented.

Meanwhile, Sacca has also heard gossip floating around Los Angeles that Karinen likes to "drive around with a blindfold on," but Karinen would neither confirm nor deny the claim.

As for bizarre celebrity details, the comics believe there are just some things nobody should ever know the truth about.

Karinen said the celebrity factoid he'd least like to investigate is "what kind of deodorant Rosie O'Donnell wears," while Sacca doesn't care to find out "what they're going to do with all that extra skin now that John Goodman lost weight."

"FCU" writer Dan Beers, however, is much more curious about celebrity dirt. He told AOL News he's dying to find out if the late reclusive millionaire Howard Hughes really did bottle his own urine, as some say.

But one thing all three men really want to spread the truth about is how tough real-life fact checkers have it. They all agree that the tedious task is one of the hardest and most under-appreciated jobs out there, and they're hoping to finally give the group a voice.

So far, Sacca said they've been receiving great feedback about the show from actual fact checkers, who get a kick out of their heroic portrayal of the profession.

Now, the next thing on their "To Do" list is to continue finding random celebrities to guest-star on the series and be willing to lampoon themselves for a laugh. Karinen thinks the incentives are there, and they've been bribing stars left and right.

"To get Alex Trebek to do an episode, it helped to have our characters completely obsessed with him, as if he were a trivia God. For another episode, ["Friday Night Lights" actor] Zach Gilford got to wear a superhero costume the whole time," he explained. "Who wouldn't want that?"

However, there are ups and downs to working with the famous.

For example, the guys agreed that filming with the hunky Perry in bed all day for his "FCU" episode was obviously a "pro," but having "Scrubs" star Donald Faison vomit "lukewarm soup into our laps 14 takes in a row" was a "con."

Ultimately, they want to get elusive screen icon Bill Murray to appear in an episode because the entire series is based on an original "FCU: Fact Checkers Unit" short film that Karinan, Sacca and Beers created back in 2008, starring Murray.

In it, the FCU guys go to great lengths to fact-check an arcane Wikipedia claim about Murray's love for warm milk before bed.

The flick has a notable fan following online and was an official selection at the Sundance Film Festival -- and that's a fact.

 



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