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How Playing a Fake Singer in Animal House Turned Otis Day Into a Real R&B Star

Otis Day (DeWayne Jessie) in Animal House.

Otis Day (DeWayne Jessie) in Animal House.

Still from Animal House

Check out all Slate’s interviews from the 2015 Sundance Film Festival.

Before National Lampoon’s Animal House became a surprise blockbuster in 1978, Otis Day was an actor known by the name DeWayne Jessie. After the movie was released and became the third highest-grossing movie of its year, he was an R&B star, with agents looking to book the same singer who, with his band The Knights, brought the house down at Delta Tau.

Day was in Park City this weekend to celebrate the premiere of the new National Lampoon documentary Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead (he played a toga party), and we asked him how he got involved with Animal House and how the role changed the course of his career.

Slate Sessions video edited by Rob Naylor. Interview booked by Raquel Bruno. Executive produced by Ayana Morali.

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