'Whassup' Storms America

Four Guys From Philly Turn A Casual Greeting

Volumes have been written on the nature of fame. But these four men define fame with one word: Whassup! Correspondent Richard Schlesinger reports.
They're known as the "Whassup guys." Their beer ads have become the hottest in the country. And these four men - Charles Stone, Fred Thomas, Paul Williams and Scott Brooks - have become famous.

The four were really friends before they became really famous. They grew up together and hung out together in Philadelphia. They used to call each other up on the phone and say, "Whassup."

In 1998 Stone made a short film with his friends called True.

"I wanted to use it as a calling card to get into the feature film world," Stone says. "And I guess hanging out with these guys for 20 years gave me a great idea, which was basically a couple guys on the phone talking - talking about nothing."

Budweiser's ad agency liked the film and decided to use it for a commercial. Stone was hired to direct the ad. He cast Thomas and Williams - struggling actors themselves - to be in it, along with Brooks, who was working as a bouncer in Philadelphia.

The ads won a Clio, advertising's most prestigious award.

Fame has arrived. "The last two weeks it finally hit me," Brooks says. "I'm a celebrity. I'm famous. People know who I am. When the lead singer for the Temptations walks up and says, 'Yo, I'm a big fan of yours.'"

Brooks realizes that fame could be fleeting. "The Bud Whassup guy thing could go away tomorrow," he says. "People could have their fill of it But the doors have been opened."

The four men hope their fame will lead to something more permanent. There have already been TV and movie offers. This fall Stone will direct his first feature film.

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