An Ancestry Show With A Funny Pedigree
“Who The Hell Am I?” is a straight-up parody of the enormously popular ancestry-type shows, like “Who Do You Think You Are?” In place of celebrities seeking to unlock the mysteries of their ancestors, our show features actors portraying complete unknowns seeking to unlock the mysteries of their ancestors.
We envision our version as both a comedy and a mystery. Each subject’s story will unfold in four episodes. And each will have a cliffhanger moment to hook the audience in and entice them to return. Failed actor and writer Jimmy Marcus discovers that the father he never knew—Marv Tollman—was a renowned self-help guru in the 1970s. A documentary explains that Marv was a failed actor and writer who eventually found success as the writer of the self-help book, “The Failure Fallacy.” From there, he moved to Hollywood where he thrived as the “self-help guru to the stars.” But at the height of his success, Marv disappeared. There was no shortage of rumors about what happened to him and Jimmy is determined to get to the truth. Interviews with Marv’s brother and an ex-girlfriend turn up several clues that set the story in motion.
Armed with the knowledge that Marv moved to Italy with his Italian girlfriend after flaming out as an actor in Hollywood, Jimmy travels to Rome. There he meets his half-sister who explains how Marv ended up doing odd jobs for his girlfriend’s father, Giuseppe Lupo, a feared Mafia boss. He took a liking to Marv and happily loaned him money for an acting school. And while the school failed and he was out the money, Lupo didn’t mind because Marv made his daughter happy. But she got pregnant, he expected Marv to do the right thing and marry her. Marv panicked and made an early exit from Italy, leaving Lupo none too happy.
Jimmy returns to his hometown of San Francisco where he uncovers the secret to Marv’s success. It was a play Marv appeared in. The premise? A self-help guru whose focus was on failure and success. The show closed after one night as the reviews were horrible. A few days later, the playwright was murdered. And with that, Marv, desperate for success, appropriated the play and turned it into his book. It became an immediate sensation and Marv was on his way to fame and fortune.
In Hollywood, Jimmy interviews everyone from celebrities who bought into his father’s failure/success theories to the detective assigned to the case. However, it’s while speaking with Marv’s former acting teacher—and father confessor—that Jimmy is given the missing link to his missing father. The playwright whom Marv thought had been murdered had faked the whole thing to collect the insurance money. After a year in hiding, the playwright found out what Marv did and went crazy. He threatened to reveal Marv for a phony if Marv didn’t pay him extortion money. Marv countered with a threat of his own—telling the authorities the playwright is still alive. A compromise was arrived at. Marv paid the playwright an undisclosed sum of money and agreed to stop playing the role of the self-help guru. As to where Marv is today, the acting teacher didn’t know for sure. Then he takes out a postcard that was sent from a far-off tropical island. It features one of Marv’s bitterness quotes—and a request for money.