Alan Abel in Gelf

Gelf Magazine has an article about Alan Abel, who will be speaking at Gelf's Non-Motivational Speaker Series on Thursday, April 24 in New York City.

The article gives a quick overview of Abel's career: The Society for Indecency to Naked Animals, his obituary in the New York Times, Citizens Against Breastfeeding, etc.

One interesting part at the end, which I've heard people speculate about before, is how Abel funds himself:

This subject is the only one which he's vague about in the interview. He mentions I am probably better off watching his daughter’s recent documentary about him—Abel Raises Cain—to ascertain the details of his day-to-day affairs, but says he works as a consultant, and then gives some examples of the kind of consultations he’s done in the past. Rather than traditional consulting jobs in which one is brought in to advise on business or personal matters, all three of Abel’s stories involve tracking down people or money in cross-country adventures, leaving me with the idea that perhaps Alan Abel is some sort of vigilante mystery-solver, a cross between Harvey Keitel’s character in Pulp Fiction and Encyclopedia Brown. As for securing funding for his hoaxes, Abel is similarly ambiguous, attributing his financial backing to an anonymous millionaire from Florida.

I wonder if this "anonymous millionaire from Florida" would care to fund the Museum of Hoaxes?

Jenny Abel, Abel's daughter, recently sent me a copy of her movie, Abel Raises Cain. I plan to watch it sometime in the next two weeks (right after I finish work on the proposal for my next book), and will post about it then.


Posted on Wed Apr 23, 2008


At the risk of seeming immodest (yeah, I know, too late), I would like to mention that I am prominently featured on one of the "Extras" on the Abel Raises Cain DVD.

In February 2006, Alan, his daughter Jenny's boyfriend Jeff and her friend Nancy and I flew to Nebraska. The then-record Powerball had just been won in Lincoln and we were there so I could pretend to be the winner. That Monday was Presidents Day so we knew the state lottery office would be closed, giving us a small window of opportunity.

We found a Denny's-type place called The Village Inn where we gave the manager $2000 and announced that I wanted to buy everyone there lunch to celebrate my "win." As expected, it took less than fifteen minutes for the TV crews to show up.

For the next two and a half hours, I was surrounded by cameras, microphones and guys with pens and pads. It was madness (but incredible fun).

The whole incident is pretty well captured on the Abel Raises Cain DVD in a 20-minute mini-documentary; I laugh every time I watch it.
Posted by Cranky Media Guy  on  Thu Apr 24, 2008  at  01:21 AM
CMG - now that's what I call a classic prank! The thought of that will make me giggle at inappropriate moments all afternoon. (Far better than zebras in halls.)
Posted by Nona  on  Thu Apr 24, 2008  at  05:24 AM
wow, I could have some incredible fun by spending $2000 too, CMG, but I don't think it would involve a Denny's. The cameras might be included, but I don't think I could post any of the footage. Noone wants to see a grown man acting like a fool, hence the reason noone watches GWB's news conferences. Nice segue', eh? I'm sorry, I think I misspelled that. Ehh. Better
Posted by Hairy Houdini  on  Thu Apr 24, 2008  at  10:44 AM
It was really fun, Nona. The people in the Village Inn were so nice to me when they thought I was the big lottery winner that I started to feel guilty about deceiving them. They kept coming up to me, thanking me for paying for their lunch. I tried to convince them to take a pie home with them, but I couldn't talk anyone into it.

Back in the 80's, there was a wrestler named Ted DiBiasi whose gimmick was calling himself The Million Dollar Man. He said in an interview I read that Vince McMahon, his boss, would give him money and tell him to buy meals for everyone when he went to a restaurant to keep the gimmick going. I always thought that it would be great to have that experience at least once in my life and, thanks to our hoax in Nebraska, I actually did get to do it.
Posted by Cranky Media Guy  on  Fri Apr 25, 2008  at  01:37 AM
cool grin Well now, who does that guy think he is, fooling all those people in Nebraska about the Powerball win. That''s dirty pool and I think he and his whole team should be ashamed of themselves. Especially picking up the cost of meals in order to establish believability. That is a dirty, filthy, rotten trick. What if someone choked on their food and died? A subsequent lawsuit would have put the restaurant out of business. And if the owner has a wife and kids in college he is going to have to declare bankruptcy, go on relief, enter a shelter. Then his wife will certainly divorce him because he's broke. The kids will run away, turn to drugs, get pregnant, even commit suicide. There's terrible damage down that road, as I see it. Heaven help us keep those jokers at bay and we pray they will finally see the light and get a life! Hermadite cool grin
Posted by Bruce Spencer  in  P.O. Box 2247 Westport, CT 06880  on  Sun Apr 27, 2008  at  09:31 AM
Mr. Spencer, are you telling me that if you happened to be in the Village Inn in Lincoln, Nebraska on the day when I bought lunch for everyone, you wouldn't have taken me up on that offer?

Would you have sued me if your tie fell into your soup? Would it have been my fault if there was no soap in the bathroom? What if you overate because I was paying for it and you developed indigestion?

I performed an act of kindness for the hard-working, salt of the Earth people of Lincoln, Nebraska and brightened their otherwise humdrum existence and you try to turn it into something bad. Shame on you, Mr. Spencer. You are a bad American.
Posted by Cranky Media Guy  on  Sun Apr 27, 2008  at  05:52 PM
Great stuff. I'm also happy to say that 'Abel Raises Cain' is now debuting on American television via non-profit Link TV, and can also be watched online at til Nov 30!
Posted by andy  on  Mon Nov 17, 2008  at  04:53 PM
This cranky media guy sounds like a tattooed constipated biker without a life or any socially redeeming values. If he has any of the gumption left he displayed in Lincoln, Nebraska, I recommend he enlilst in the Marines and give up his life for his country. At least he will have a nice burial in a veterans' cemetary. Hermadite
Posted by Bruce Spencer  in  Westport,CT  on  Thu Jul 09, 2009  at  12:40 PM
In response to the Q. about my funding for hoaxes, I had a backer from 1965-1985, when he passed away. Maxwell Sackheim was a multi-millionaire whom I met on a N.Y. Subway in the early 60's. We were both standing in the same subway car and became acquainted. Max had never ridden the subway and was retiring the next day. His wife insisted that he ride the underground just once to say he had done it. So there he was and me too. Call it serendipity. He invested thousands to finance my capers with only the request that he remain anonymous and that I do nothing physical or criminal with my stunts. Also, no money would be earned and none accepted from the public. I would receive a salary, expenses and funds to finance hoaxex on a caper by caper decision. I would have complete creative control. What a great way to function in life! No "abominable 'no' men" to kill an adventure with insipid suggestions. BTW Max Sackheim had foundedthe Book of the Month Club where he made his fortune. Subsequently to Max's demise I have not had another backer. Nevertheless, I've had a hoax on the internet that has been running for the past two years without being revealed. This one was funded by a very talented composer/singer/pianist soon to be discovered. She is waiting for the right timing to come forward and tell her fascinating story. Meantime, daughter Jennifer's documentary on my adventures, along with her partner Jeff Hockett, has been selling nicely. Check it out: Next question? Happy Holidays everyone!!!
Posted by Alan Abel  in  Easton, CT  on  Sat Nov 28, 2009  at  10:41 PM


Posted by Alan Abel  in  Easton, CT  on  Fri Jul 09, 2010  at  09:22 PM
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