Before I was even halfway into the book, I knew I wanted to see Chris Elliott's Into Hot Air: Mounting Mount Everest (Weinstein Books, 342 pages, $23.95) made into a movie.
Funnyman Elliott made a name for himself hiding under the stairs on David Letterman's "Late Show," and then as a 30-year-old paperboy who still lives with his parents in the vastly underrated and underseen sitcom "Get a Life."
Now he's gone and written another "novel." His first, The Shroud of the Thwacker (2005), was a parody of historical crime fiction. Into Hot Air sends up survival stories (like Jon Krakauer's Into Thin Air), disaster movies, celebrity activism and reality TV...
The story line involves Elliott and a motley crew of inexperienced climbers — including documentarian Michael [Moore], aging actress Lauren [Bacall], sitcom actor Tony [Danza] and "West Wing"er Martin [Sheen] — hiking up Mt. Everest in search of Elliott's frozen uncle Percy, who supposedly was the first to reach the summit — before Sir Edmund Hillary.
Each chapter is more preposterous than the next. Here's a random sampling from somewhere in the middle of the book:
"I was climbing about ten feet below Lauren and was amazed at how agile and capable she was — and at what a great-looking rear end she had. She was supposed to be a feeble eighty-two, and here I was a spry forty-five, and yet I felt like a broken-down old man. Every breath in was a mouthful of needles, and every breath out a mouthful of thimbles. It was only when the sun rose and I could see better that I realized the lid to Lauren's sewing basket had come loose."
Come on now, who doesn't want to see all these people play themselves in the movie version? Given Lauren Bacall's ability to laugh at her own legend (remember when Christopher clocked her on "The Sopranos"?), I think she'd be the first one to sign on.