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Chris Elliott Makes the World Safe for 'Hot Air'

Chris Elliott was destined for the very tippy top.
Chris Elliott was destined for the very tippy top.

Comedian Chris Elliott conquered late-night TV, first on Late Night with David Letterman and then on Saturday Night Live. From there, he ascended the very high Hollywood hills, with roles in the sitcom Get a Life and the movie Something About Mary.

Now he has a new novel about a different kind of summit: Into Hot Air: Mounting Mount Everest.

The story begins when the diary of Elliott's great uncle Percy B. Elliott shows up, anonymously, in the mail. Never mind Sir Edmund Hillary — Elliott thinks his ancestor might have been the first person to reach the summit of Everest, but the only way to know for sure is to go there himself. It's a dangerous undertaking.

"Everyone who goes there comes back missing a nose," the writer says.

To help fund the expedition, he assembles a cast of rich celebrities that includes Lauren Bacall, Martin Sheen and Tony Danza, and Michael Moore films the arduous feat for Imax. Elliott says the documentarian was something of a heavy load: "I basically had to haul him all they way up to the summit."

On our blog: Chris Elliott plays Marlon Brando.

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