LOGAN SQUARE — Audrey Earleson has been getting a lot of weird voicemails lately. A lot.
They’re of strangers roaring and growling in the style of everyone’s favorite Wookiee.
But, in a way, the voicemails aren’t that weird. The strangers are just following directions.
Earlier this month, fliers announcing a “Chewbacca roar contest” started popping up in Logan Square near the California Blue Line station and around Ukrainian Village.
“Call 312-517-6*** and leave a voicemail with your best impersonation! Prize: $50. Winner will be determined by funniest/loudest impersonation,” the flier reads below a photo of Chewie. (Block Club is leaving out a few digits of the number to lessen the damage).
Turns out, the person who put up the fliers isn’t casting a “Star Wars” show of some kind. He’s not even trying to find out who does the best impression in Chicago (though there have been some good ones in the bunch). He’s just trying to mess with his friend, Earleson, 26. That’s her phone number.
Listen to some of the Chewbacca roars:
Earleson’s friend and co-worker Dan Patelski, 30, is responsible for the fliers. Patelski did it to play an epic prank on Earleson. It’s just the latest prank in their ongoing war.
The two routinely pull pranks on each other and on their co-workers in their Downtown office. They once filled their boss’s office with 1,000 balloons. They also once teamed up to prank their co-worker, who’s staunchly opposed to President Donald Trump, by covering her desk in Trump-themed decorations.
Recently, Earleson changed all of the photos and icons on Patelski’s computer to photos of Nicolas Cage using a Chrome extension. Patelski said it took him a couple of days to figure out how to change it back. That prompted Patelski to go big with his next prank.
Patelski knew he wanted strangers to call Earleson. At first, he considered asking people to make the “funny noise” Jim Carrey makes in “Dumb and Dumber,” but ultimately he decided that was too obscure, which is when he landed on the Chewbacca roar.
“Everybody knows Chewbacca,” Patelski said.
Last Wednesday, Patelski plastered 200 “Chewbacca roar contest” fliers to light poles and signs in Ukrainian Village, where Earleson lives, and near the California Blue Line station, where he lives.
Right away the calls started flooding in. Earleson said at first she was confused, but as soon as someone mentioned “a flier” she knew it was a prank devised by Patelski.
“He kept talking about how he was going to get me back. I was waiting for something to pop up at my desk, but I was not thinking about what was going to happen in my neighborhood,” Earleson said.
True to form, Earleson quickly figured out a way to forward the calls to Patelski’s number during non-work hours, and soon they were both getting calls at all hours of the day from roaring strangers trying to win 50 bucks.
“This is the funniest prank we’ve done,” Earleson said. “We played [the voicemails] for our vice president and I’ve never seen him laugh so hard. It’s so silly. How can you not laugh at this?”
Said Patelski: “I’m very happy with how it turned out even though the prank turned itself back on me. I have a feeling there’s going to be retribution. I have a couple of other pranks that I’ve been sitting on. …”
The pair said they’ve collectively received at least 200 voicemails since the fliers went up seven days ago.
“My voicemail holds 20 voicemails at a time, which I didn’t know I had a limit. I’ve cleared that at least six times. That’s 120 voicemails right there,” Patelski said.
Even though Patelski only framed it as a contest to get people calling Earleson, he said they’re thinking about awarding the best impersonator with the promised $50.
“I didn’t think anyone would call in so the fact that we got so many responses, yeah definitely,” Patelski said when asked if they’ll give out the cash prize.
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