Dustin Hoffman Started Jonah Hill’s Career Out of Prank Calls

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Remember that obnoxious perv of a teenager in Superbad, or the ironically hipster-cool undercover cop from 21 Jump Street? Yes, I’m talking about Jonah Hill, the Hollywood comedian whose face and pomade-coated hair is pictured on the left.

Everybody loves this guy; and with him starring in big-production, true stories like Moneyball and The Wolf of Wall Street, it’s hard to imagine him kicking off his career with prank calls.

It was in Santa Monica, California’s Crossroads private school that Jonah Hill buddied-up with Jake Hoffman – Oscar-winning actor Dustin Hoffman’s son. Oh the simple joys of private school and hobnobbing with the offspring of the rich and famous — all with a fast pass to their own Hollywood niche thanks to their parents’ golden names.

Anna Tan on prank calls

Anna Tan: There’s definitely a comedic science to prank calls. Who knew?

According to The Jewish Journal, the now 30-year-old Jonah Hill said growing close to the Hoffman family greatly influenced his life and, of course, his career. All thanks to Dustin Hoffman’s penchant for making prank calls, and Hill’s knack at them.

Hill shares Hoffman would have him prank call a bunch of his friends, contacts, and sometimes complete strangers and they would make it their goal to get the person to stay on the line as long as they could. One of the bits he’d do is pretend to be a celebrity’s assistant and ask for ridiculous things. Once, during Oscar season, he phoned a sleazy hotel as Tobey Maguire’s assistant and got the hotel owner to agree to providing a tank for Tobey’s pet seal. Jonah Hill is awesome, and Hoffman agrees with me.

“I’ve always said crank calls are one of the best improv exercises you can do, because you’re never put on the spot that heavily in a scene … It’s the most jagged, maneuverable situation possible because you’re dealing with a real person.” - Jonah Hill

Listen to this hilarious prank call meant to seem like a radio show calling a listener:


Dustin Hoffman helped get Hill a role in his film I Heart Huckabees back in 2004, which snowballed into another part in 40-Year-Old-Virgin, and just recently, in Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street, Hill gets to act out several scenes with his old friend, Jake Hoffman.

See? Great things (and not just mental torment) can come from well-executed prank calls! If you visit us over at My Phone Robot, you can even play a Dustin Hoffman and just enjoy a prank, anonymously from the front seat.

Do you want to perform prank calls totally anonymously? Be sure to visit MyPhoneRobot today to find out how!