So, what in the name of all that is Stoogey is a Fake Shemp, you ask? Goes like this...

The Three Stooges were a major influence on Sam Raimi, Scott Spiegel, and Bruce Campbell (probably the whole lot of the Ren Men, actually, but this is the group the term originated with), and in watching these wonderfully wacky works they noticed something .

The Stooges (Moe, Larry, and Shemp... oh, and often Curly... then there's also Curly Joe... etc.) would often use whatever standing sets were available from the A pictures being made at Columbia to make their B, short pictures. They'd do this in such a fashion where they'd shoot all the principal photography, and do the pick-up shots much later on. Allowing them to work on mutlitple projects at one time. The shorts were in black and white, and the Stooges never changed much, so they were easy to intercut. Well, poor Shemp Howard died before they had actually finished off a few of these shorts. Eventually, Moe and Larry had to go back and complete these things without Shemp. In order to do this they used a stand-in, a fake Shemp, and then would proceed to work him out of the scene in some cheesy manner. The fellas found this to be hilarious, and adopted the term "Fake Shemp" into their own super 8's, and eventually their feature films, to mean anyone whose face you didn't see. Someone in heavy make-up, a hand, a foot, someone who doesn't have lines -- the stand-in's and extras.

But please, don't limit your usage of the word to mean only faceless onscreen talents! Bruce says:

It became an expanded term-- "What are you doing on Saturday night?" "Nothing, I'm just shemping." "Let's go shemp around somewhere," "What's the guy like, is he an idiot?" "Nah, he's just a shemp,' meaning he's no big deal. "Did you have a good time?" "It was sort of a shemp time, we didn't really do anything." So the term became synonymous with things that aren't substantial, or are fake, or whatever. We've been trying to spread it on different film shoots out here, and it works well, cause you can go, "Ah, shemp that thing over about a foot," or whatever. ¹

Likewise, we here have adapted the term to suite our own ridiculous purposes. Using the term has become shorthand to refer to that great group of filmmakers who coined the phrase, and implement the title in their credits -- and who often are credited as Fake Shemps themselves.

¹ Quotes from the Dark Horse Comic, AOD #2 of 3, interview with Bruce Campbell


A: We were all big fans of The Three Stooges growing up (Sam Raimi, filmmaker friend Scott Spiegel and myself).

In learning more about the Stooges, we found that when they made their films (or "shorts" -- 20 minutes in length), they not only made one at a time, but two or three -- thereby capitalizing on standing sets from the big, Columbia "A" pictures, currently in production. This allowed them, for example, to use a large Castle set (and shoot a pie fight or something) before it was torn down. As a result, they were always shooting pieces of shorts as well as complete ones.

Well, one fateful day, Shemp (the really ugly one with the long, stringy black hair) was incapacitated by a heart attack, and the rest of the Stooges, distraught as they were, had to finish a number of Shorts. So, they brought in a "Fake Shemp." The double(s) they used were often the wrong height/weight and lacked in the true Shemp mannerisms. Even in high school (in the mid-70's), distracted by commercials, eating bowls of Captain Crunch, we could tell whenever the obviously fake Shemp made his appearances -- which is in about 3 or 4 shorts -- and we were amused to no end.

We then began to use the term "Fake Shemp" for a any actor (in our early Super-8 flicks) who didn't have any lines, or was doubling for another actor or who was just way in the background doing ridiculous things. This happened a lot when you couldn't pay an actor to stay around.

So, in the first "Evil Dead" film, we decided to designate Fake Shemps as an official credit category. The names listed were people who we shot "parts" of -- a hand, a foot, someone under heavy make-up, etc. It seemed to be handy, since films (particularly low-budget ones) are usually pieced together in many different ways over a long period of time.