How it all began…

250px-Omni_Main_area.jpg

We wrote a whole world of characters and storylines around a Chicago independent grocery store. Think of that old Butera on Wilson in Uptown. It’s that scale. But the original idea for Phudie Mart can be attributed in many ways to Len Kaufmann. Yep, my Dad. During high school, I worked at Omni Foods. This inspired him to always talk about “Supermarket: The Movie!” He and my brother Josh thought it would be a great vehicle for one of those made-for-TV movies featuring all the network stars. Kurt Cameron and Bob Uecker would be in it. Working at the Omni Foods exposed me to the inner-workings of the grocery store. The store was the best high school job. Sure there are fast food places and maybe mowing lawns, but the grocery store was the best job to whitness several types of people. There were the high school workers, there for the 4.75 an hour (6 if you took the cashier’s test). Then there were the ones who worked there because they realized they needed money to support their families. Or the ambitious types, the bigwigs who wanted to get ahead and make salary in the Dominicks corporation. My favorite though? The ones that started there in high school and never left. They were the middle managers. They wore the red ties (we all wore black). They said great things like “You got time to lean, you got time to clean” and they were the ones that really despised you. They hated that you were probably going to leave, get on with your life. And we did. But we took those great memories and observations, put them in our pocket and took them out when we needed to write sketch comedy and ultimately a movie.
I’m kind of like the Henry Hill of the Omni. They took me in, but they knew I really wasn’t one of them. And in the end? Well, I ratted. And that was the genesis for the Schadenfreude/Phudie Mart existence. Everyone in Schad has touched Phudie Mart and it is nothing like the Omni was, but whenever any of the scenes from the movie go down in my head, it’s in the same aisles, the same parking lot and the same breakroom that I spent a good 5 years of my life.

250px-Omni_Main_area.jpg

We wrote a whole world of characters and storylines around a Chicago independent grocery store. Think of that old Butera on Wilson in Uptown. It’s that scale. But the original idea for Phudie Mart can be attributed in many ways to Len Kaufmann. Yep, my Dad. During high school, I worked at Omni Foods. This inspired him to always talk about “Supermarket: The Movie!” He and my brother Josh thought it would be a great vehicle for one of those made-for-TV movies featuring all the network stars. Kurt Cameron and Bob Uecker would be in it. Working at the Omni Foods exposed me to the inner-workings of the grocery store. The store was the best high school job. Sure there are fast food places and maybe mowing lawns, but the grocery store was the best job to whitness several types of people. There were the high school workers, there for the 4.75 an hour (6 if you took the cashier’s test). Then there were the ones who worked there because they realized they needed money to support their families. Or the ambitious types, the bigwigs who wanted to get ahead and make salary in the Dominicks corporation. My favorite though? The ones that started there in high school and never left. They were the middle managers. They wore the red ties (we all wore black). They said great things like “You got time to lean, you got time to clean” and they were the ones that really despised you. They hated that you were probably going to leave, get on with your life. And we did. But we took those great memories and observations, put them in our pocket and took them out when we needed to write sketch comedy and ultimately a movie.
I’m kind of like the Henry Hill of the Omni. They took me in, but they knew I really wasn’t one of them. And in the end? Well, I ratted. And that was the genesis for the Schadenfreude/Phudie Mart existence. Everyone in Schad has touched Phudie Mart and it is nothing like the Omni was, but whenever any of the scenes from the movie go down in my head, it’s in the same aisles, the same parking lot and the same breakroom that I spent a good 5 years of my life.

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