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In Hollywood, what's the difference between a brown noser and a shit head?

Depth perception.

How John Landis evaded Universal Studios edict to hire Chevy Chase and instead cast John Belushi, aka the Albanian trainwreck in the funniest movie ever made:

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The character description was simple: “Cookie Monster Meets Harpo Marx.” Not so simple: finding a human being who could pull it off.

In fact, the task was keeping John Landis, 27 years old and a hyperactive typhoon of energy himself, up at night. As director of Universal’s frat-house comedy National Lampoon’s Animal House, Landis knew he had to bag the right person for the pivotal role of John “Bluto” Blutarsky, the biggest animal in a movie stuffed with them. Bluto was id incarnate, a Rabelaisian slob with the potential to boost the picture to new outlandish heights. “He’s a cartoon,” was Landis’s take on it. “He is appetite.”

Early in the summer of 1977, the director made a short list of potential Blutos. On it were three names: rock star Meat Loaf, Broadway actor Josh Mostel, and Saturday Night Live’s John Belushi. Really, though, only one of those felt right.

To read more on Vanity Fair:

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