This PRO Had a Brush With Fame and Didn’t Even Know It

A driver for Massachusetts company Araujo Brothers unwittingly played a starring role in Bill Murray’s new baseball web series.

This PRO Had a Brush With Fame and Didn’t Even Know It

im Kneiszel

How does a portable restroom company not realize one of its drivers stars in two episodes of a Facebook web series with funnyman Bill Murray that is seen by millions of people? Frankly, after talking to the nice folks at Araujo Bros. on the island of Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, I still don’t get it.

This story falls under the strange, but true category. Let me explain.

I recently watched the first two episodes of Extra Innings, which stars Saturday Night Live legend Murray and his brother, actor Brian Doyle-Murray, who yuck it up as they tour minor league baseball parks across the country. The famous baseball fanatics (Murray owns the minor-league St. Paul Saints in Minnesota and is a renowned Chicago Cubs fan) started by visiting the home of the Martha’s Vineyard Sharks.

What appears like a slightly confused PRO is caught up in both episodes, as Murray stumbles into the service technician while he cleans a ballpark restroom, asking him questions about portable restrooms, his vacuum truck and other random topics. This goes on for several minutes spread over the two episodes, as Murray seems to be amused and fascinated by the gentleman and his cleaning regimen.

DETECTIVE WORK

I couldn’t see a name on the vacuum truck, and there was no label on the restroom shown. So I messaged the Sharks, who shared the name of their restroom vendor. They clearly thought it was peculiar that I wanted to know who cleaned their restrooms … and seemed to not believe there was a magazine dedicated to this fine industry. But, of course, I’ve heard that before.

That’s how I ended up calling Araujo Bros., based in Vineyard Haven, and got Bridget Araujo on the line. I explained the reason for my call. She had no idea what I was talking about. In fact, she was baffled at first and maybe thought I was a prank caller. So I emailed her a link to the new show and told her to take a look.

She was dumbfounded to see the company’s truck on film and Murray with her service technician.

“Oh, my God, this is hilarious. I can’t take this: I gotta show everybody this,” she says. I think she may have even dropped the phone as she watched in disbelief.

I couldn’t believe it, either.

“You mean your guy was on camera with Bill Murray and this video has had more than 3 million views in a few days and you didn’t know about it?” I ask.

Um, that’s right, she replies. Confused and overwhelmed, she says she’d have her son, Kane Araujo, who is in charge of day-to-day operations for the company, call me right back.

Araujo did call me back. He says his mom called him, hysterical, telling him to watch the videos. “She was screaming. I had no idea what this even is. Then when I watched it, I thought, ‘Oh wow, that’s a big deal to be in there with Bill Murray,’ and then I saw the amount of views.”

BIG SURPRISE

Then Araujo tells me something truly amazing. He says his driver, Alanza Murphy, likely didn’t recognize the comedian and had no idea they were filming a web series.

“I honestly don’t think he knew what was going on. He did mention something about it (at the time). He thought it was a home video being filmed by someone following him around,” Araujo says.

And even after the videos were released, no friends or family mentioned the video to the Araujo family. It’s hard to believe — in the social media-crazy world we live in — that not a peep was heard about this around the island. Especially since the Araujo family is so plugged into the community and would seemingly know about everyone in the popular vacation spot that shrinks from about 100,000 people in the summer to only 15,000 in the winter.

The Araujos are well-known in the Vineyard, even Murray himself — a regular vacationer there — seemed to know the name, referring to “old man Araujo” at one point during Extra Innings. The old man is Joseph Araujo, 74, who founded the septic service and restroom company 46 years ago and who still comes in at 6:30 a.m. daily to check on the crew, according to Kane Araujo.

“Absolutely, to stay in business this long is definitely an achievement; I can tell you that,” Araujo says. “Since I was 7, I was riding in the trucks with my grandfather.” Kane Araujo, 22, joined the company full time four years ago when he graduated from high school. Bridget Araujo answers the phones, and the crew is rounded out by Murphy, Keith Hamilton and Elijah Lerue. 

The company runs two septic service trucks, has a flatbed delivery truck, and the vacuum rig featured in Extra Innings is a 2006 Ford with a 400-gallon waste and 200-gallon freshwater slide-in tank (Progress Tank) and a pump (Masport). Araujo Bros. has an inventory of 250 tan PolyPortables restrooms and a restroom trailer from Comforts of Home Services, which is popular for summer weddings and beach parties on the island.

There was a good reason I didn’t see a sticker on the restroom in the Murray series. The unit was brand-new, and Kane Araujo hadn’t had time to add the label. Too bad because millions of people would have seen the company name.

RIFFING ON RESTROOMS

If you watch the videos, you’ll see it’s almost as if Murray knew Murphy didn’t know who he was when the two bantered back and forth. Murray seems amused that Murphy played a deadpan straight man … because he didn’t know comedy was happening. 

“Are there certain girls that want to ride in the truck or what? What’s the deal?” Murray asks as the pair look at the pump truck.

“No. No girls ride in the truck — just men,” Murphy answers.

“No one wants to ride on the back? There’s no girls with really long legs that want to ride on the back of this thing?” Murray continues.

“No, you’re not allowed to,” Murphy answers.

At one point, Murray asks about the Murphy’s first name.

“Alanza? With all A’s? I’ve never heard that one before. Where does it come from? It’s probably a mistake,” he jokes.

“It’s not a mistake. My dad gave me it,” Murphy responds.

The closing scene to the second episode shows Murray approaching Murphy cleaning the unit and says their interaction was “awesome,” then walking away as the credits roll.

PSAI Convention and Trade Show March 21-24

The Portable Sanitation Association International will hold its 2018 Convention and Trade Show later this month at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland, Oregon. The event runs Wednesday through Saturday, March 21-24. To register or get more information, go to the association website, www.psai.org.

The trade show will feature displays and representatives from many of the manufacturers serving the portable sanitation industry. The event will also feature speakers and workshops, roundtable discussions, receptions on the trade show floor, and training opportunities. Training sessions will cover:

  • Portable Sanitation and Special Events.
  • Servicing and Maintaining Portable Sanitation Equipment.
  • PSAI Basic Service Technician Training Course and Certification Exam.


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