Shut Up, Little Man!

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Shut Up Little Man
Poster for the 2010 documentary "Shut Up Little Man! – An Audio Misadventure"

Shut Up, Little Man! is the title of audio vérité recordings of two argumentative and violent alcoholics, Peter J. Haskett and Raymond Huffman in San Francisco. Bananafish magazine arranged for a commercial release of the tapes in 1992.

The recordings were made by "Eddie Lee Sausage" and "Mitchell D.", who lived in a bright pink apartment building dubbed the "Pepto Bismol Palace" in San Francisco's Lower Haight district.[1] Eddie Lee and Mitchell moved into the apartment in 1987, and discovered that their neighbors, Haskett and Huffman, argued nearly constantly, with Peter often shouting "shut up, little man!" at Ray. Eddie and Mitchell began tape recording the arguments, and distributing copies among their friends.[2] Eddie Lee and Mitchell sometimes goaded Ray and Peter with prank telephone calls.

In 1992, Huffman died of a heart attack brought on by colon cancer, pancreatitis, and alcoholism.[3] Haskett died in 1996 of liver problems due to alcoholism.[4]


The first Shut Up, Little Man! compact disc was released in early 1993. A number of other volumes were issued later. The recordings quickly gained a cult following, and were adapted into comic books, zines, a theatrical production and the 2002 independent film Shut Yer Dirty Little Mouth, starring Gill Gayle and Glenn Shadix as Ray and Peter, respectively.

The recordings found fame far beyond San Francisco. Lee reports that:

I went to see (New York City-based) John Zorn, one of my favorite jazz composers, performing with his experimental game-playing ensemble, Cobra. The keyboard player had sampled Shut Up Little Man, and thus, throughout the evening — amidst the saxophone squawks and grinding guitar breaks — there would be sampled little blasts of: “Shut your fuckin' mouth!” or “I want to kill!”[5]

Documentary film[edit]

In 2010 a feature documentary called Shut Up Little Man! – An Audio Misadventure was selected for the 2011 Sundance Film Festival as part of the World Documentary section, where it had its world premiere.[6][7]

Popular culture[edit]

  • This American Life featured a lengthy segment in episode 7 from its first season, exploring the topic in the context of quitting.[8]
  • The band Devo had a side project, the Wipeouters, and on their only album there is a track titled "Shut Up, Little Man" using many samples of Ray and Peter.
  • San Francisco indie rock band the Thinking Fellers Union Local 282 sampled Peter and Raymond on their 1991 album "Lovelyville" and their song "Raymond H" appeared on their following album, Mother of All Saints.
  • Boston indie rock band Swirlies exceprted a snippet of Peter and Raymond's dialogue on their 1993 album, Blonder Tongue Audio Baton.
  • An episode of SpongeBob SquarePants, "Banned in Bikini Bottom", uses the phrases "You are a nuisance to my community", "…said this ninety times", and "cops, I need you!" In another episode, "Porous Pockets", SpongeBob says, "And I said, go ahead, let’s do it right now! I got too much hair, anyways." referring to what Raymond claims he told the police. In "The Algae's Always Greener", Mr. Krabs says to Plankton "You're just a dirty little man". In episode 17 of season 5, Spongehenge Patrick says "I wanna watch something decent, like..." which may be a reference to the recording when Raymond and Peter are arguing about what to watch on TV, and Raymond says that exact line.
  • Songwriter Red Label Catharsis featured samples of Ray and Peter in the song "Black Label The Old Crow" which relates the dregs of alcoholism from the 2006 release "Chrystie"
  • On a commentary track for the animated series, Mission Hill, creators Josh Weinstein and Bill Oakley claim that the characters, Gus and Wally, were based on Ray and Peter.


External links[edit]