When Mike Sacks published Stinker Lets Loose! last year, he wasn’t thinking of an audio adaptation. The book is already a bit of a conundrum in terms of media – it is a parody of a novelization of a fictional 1977 Smokey and the Bandit-type car chase comedy, lost to time and deteriorating VHS bootlegs. In the introduction, Sacks wrote that for years, he thought he might have dreamed seeing the movie. It does have a strange premise. It features Stinker, a libidinous mustachioed adventure-seeker who is charged with getting a six-pack of Schlitz to the president with the help of his gang of “deep-fried Dixies.” The book is presented as a reprint of the original novelization by James Taylor Johnson. (Hear more about this on the Department of Tangents Podcast EP37, a conversation with Sacks).
Now Stinker is getting the audiobook treatment with an impressive cast of voice talent. Jon Hamm plays the title role, working with Rhea Seehorn, Andy Richter, Paul F. Tompkins, James Urbaniak, Philip Baker Hall, Andy Daly, John DiMaggio, Kimmy Gatewood, and Jessica McKenna. The official release date is January 9.
Sacks is thrilled with the result. “Eric Martin, a terrific voice-over artist and producer and just all-around fixer, the type to make things happen — how rare is that? — got in touch with me after the book was published and asked if he could turn it into an audiobook,” says Sacks. “I said yes, not thinking that much would happen. I was wrong. A lot happened and I owe it all to Eric and to Rooftop Comedy in San Francisco and to Audible.com. Honestly. I just wrote the book. They did everything else.”
Here’s a preview of an early chapter:
And here, the cast shares their memories of Stinker.
The print version includes a lot of amusing details you might have seen in a movie novelization of the time. There are fuzzy stills from the film, a list of books you can order from Sunshine Beam Publishing like other Stinker books, Chucky Esposito on Mars, Smelly Mists of Glover, and Rollerskating Rabbi, and even some cardboard bookcases to store them in. In keeping with that theme, Sacks will release a new novelization parody in April for Kissing the Pink, which he calls “a forgotten John-Hughes type movie from around 1984.” Watch this space for more info.