Eavesdropping

An Easter Bunny that Will Haunt Your Dreams

Comedian and actor Matt Walsh co-founded the The Upright Citizens' Brigade comedy theaters and been prolific in his film and television career, including roles in "The Hangover," "Arrested Development," and his current series, "Veep." He recently penned The UCB Comedy Improvisation Manual.

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I grew up in Chicago. I’m one of seven children so our holidays were mass produced or they were done on the cheap. My father would tell us, if we went to bed early, we might see the Easter Bunny. So we all ran upstairs in excitement of possibly catching a glimpse of the Easter Bunny.

My dad would go in the garage, tape two hockey sticks together and then he would put two tube socks, white tube socks, on the hockey sticks and it looked like bunny ears. You know, little cute rabbit ears. And then he would open the garage door and take a ladder with him and go to the side of the house and prop the ladder against the house and climb up to the second story window, which was our bedroom.

And he would tap on the window with the hockey sticks. We would hear the noise and we’d go to the window and pull the curtains aside and then he would just peek the socks up from down below standing on the ladder really quick and then he would pull them down. And he would pop it up, back down, really quick glimpses and that was it, like a thirty second show. And then he would quietly sneak down the ladder, take the socks off the hockey sticks and then put everything back in the garage.

As a child I remember it being magical because we were up on the second floor so we were like, “How is that Easter Bunny getting up so high?” Also it seemed like it was happy because it was a hopping little furry thing bouncing in front of your window, almost saying, “Go to bed, I’m going to bring you candy tomorrow!” None of my friends had a Easter Bunny sighting before Easter so it was very special. I felt like a special kid.

So this was a lo-fi tradition that I wanted to continue for my children. I did it one year. I have two boys and it was the two year old and I started telling them, “I think the Easter Bunny is going to come tonight, you better start getting ready!”

And I had recruited my brother Pat to play the puppeteer of the Easter Bunny. We’re waiting in the room and I’m like, “I think he’s coming, I think the Easter Bunny’s coming, are you guys nervous?” and they’re like, “Yeah, yeah!” and get ready to have your mind blown, here comes the Easter Bunny.

Outside their window is a large bush that is very thick so my brother couldn’t get flush to the wall so he had to come at the window perpendicular while staying low and it was a very awkward position. So when the Easter Bunny finally appeared, he flew at the window and smacked it really hard and almost broke it and made this huge bang.

Instantly, Emmet started freaking out, and then my brother Pat tried to give him another show of Easter Bunny and he swung at the window again, and he hit it kind of cockeyed. Emmet got more upset with each appearance of the Easter Bunny and I’m like, “Okay Easter Bunny, that’s enough.” But my brother was outside and he couldn’t hear me.

So just imagine you’re Emmet, my two year old. You’re seeing the crest of an animal that’s probably seven feet tall trying to climb in your window and get at you. Finally, after like three or four swipes at the window, my brother realized that, okay, it wasn’t going over and he kind of crawled away from the window.

Emmet finally calmed down but he was still full of adrenaline and his face was flushed from crying, so my wife pulled out some of the normal soothing bedtime stories that we read the kids. And the first one she pulled out was “Guess How Much I Love You” and when she opened it up, it is the story of a father rabbit telling his son how much he loves him. It conjured up the apparition that was at the window minutes ago.

The next morning when there were treats and marshmallow Peeps and chocolate eggs in their Easter baskets, Emmet was a little leary…”Dad, this is from the Easter Bunny? I like the chocolate but I don’t really like the Easter Bunny.”

So it was kind of like when you work for an employer who you hate but pays you a lot of money, like I’m being gratified with material things but ultimately, spiritually I’m being damaged. That was my “Happy Easter” for Emmet.