Was ‘The Office’s Faux Stanley Spin-Off a Kickstarter Grift All Along?
Fans of The Office reached straight for their wallets when Leslie David Howard, who played crossword-puzzle junkie Stanley Hudson, announced a new TV show called Uncle Stan in 2020. The show wouldn’t be based on THE Stanley of course — NBC and the creators of The Office still owned the rights to the Scranton paper salesman. But Uncle Stan was a “new” character who just might have a lot in common with Howard’s former role, and fans supported a Kickstarter campaign to the tune of more than $330,000. News outlets like Entertainment Tonight publicized the show as an unofficial Office spin-off.
The Kickstarter, which ran in the summer of 2020, offered several potential perks, ranging from an exclusive .mp3 of the Uncle Stan theme song ($5) to a personal phone call from Howard ($100) all the way up to a visit to the show’s set ($10,000). The campaign had no problem reaching its funding goal, but three years later, there’s still no Uncle Stan. And according to Reddit user u/Phillies059, who wrote an exhaustive post on the matter, few donors received their promised rewards. Other Redditors backed up the sentiment.
“Just chiming in that I did back at the $25 level,” wrote u/THGoodale. “Should’ve stayed away. I never received anything and clearly the show isn’t happening.”
“I donated 500 as a gift for a friend to have the live 10 min chat with him,” says u/HaZZaH33. “Never happened and never got any of the other stuff i was promised. They made getting your rewards this super complicated process. I was in direct talks with Sardar to try to get the chat to happen but it kept getting delayed. Biggest waste if money in my life”
“Sarder” is Sarder Khan, Howard’s partner in the venture. In 2021, the two teamed with Rocket Bunny to launch a cryptocurrency called Stanley’s Nickels. Again, a different Stanley from the one in Scranton although the name and likeness are exactly the same. In theory, profits would have benefited the Actors Fund, but like Uncle Stan, many of the links to a would-be finished product are broken.
Today’s value of Stanley's Nickels, according to Live Coin Watch? “Stanley Nickels Token (STANLEY) is currently ranked as the #6316 cryptocurrency by market cap. Today it reached a high of $0.000349, and now sits at null.”
As for the TV show, most donors hadn’t heard a peep about Uncle Stan for years. But as online chatter on Twitter and Reddit built to a certifiable buzz this week, Leslie David Howard must have been feeling the heat. Yesterday, he posted an update on his Instagram.
No show for three years because of COVID? WGA and SAG strikes that have been going on for a couple of months? No wonder Howard disabled the comments on his post. But whatever the excuses, at least backers have good news: Howard and Khan say they’re going to return the money to the Kickstarter backers. Or will they? The Instagram post claims that Howard and Khan only received $110,000 of the $330,000 raised due to “a large portion of backers’ pledges that were lowered, or completely dropped.” Hrm — it is possible to cancel a pledge, but only during an active campaign. Two-thirds of the money went away while the campaign was picking up steam? Sounds like there might be more updates to come.
Ah well, Stanley, it was good while it lasted.