For years, Scott Blacklock had made it known he wanted a comedy roast for his 40th birthday. In fact, he says he demanded it.
Blacklock said he loves poking fun at others, and also when people make jokes about him. So his friends agreed to make it happen, and the date was set for this Saturday.
What he didn't know is that the roast got underway early.
Unbeknownst to him — until a CBC producer got in touch — Blacklock was the subject of a phony obituary that was online for days on the Windsor Star's website.
When reached on Thursday, Blacklock said he was in disbelief. But at the same time, the Windsor, Ont., man — who is originally from Hamilton — said he "couldn't be more pleased."
"This is delightful. It's monstrous. It's just horrific. And I'm so glad," said Blacklock, who insists he had nothing to do with the prank.
Mourning an 'OG basement dweller'
The obituary, which cites May 14 as Blacklock's birthday, refers to him with various first names — including Scoot, Scoop and Stool.
It says he "finally" died on Monday after a year of complications stemming from a massive heart attack.
"Scoop will always be remembered for his lack of humour, his hairline, his multiple mannerisms, his inability to cope with life and overall disdain for the world," it reads.
He's called an OG [original gangster] basement dweller — "legend is that the term was coined for him" — and the obituary references a drug problem, and failures as an author and martial artist.
It ends by mentioning a roast will be held in his honour at a Windsor restaurant on Saturday.
The obituary features an image of Dennis Rader, known as the BTK Killer. Blacklock says his resemblance to the American serial killer is a longstanding joke among his friends, who, like him, have a dark sense of humour.
The obituary was posted on Tuesday. By Thursday afternoon, it had been taken down.
A spokesperson for Postmedia, the parent company of the Windsor newspaper, told CBC "this was the result of a hoax and was removed from the website as soon as we became aware."
The obituaries submission form stipulates that a funeral home or crematorium contact must be provided to verify someone's death.
'A little overboard'
It may have been a joke among friends, but not everyone is laughing.
Jason Carter is a regular reader of the obituaries and he recognized the BTK killer's photo. A friend of his called CBC Windsor's newsroom on Wednesday to flag the off-putting tribute.
Carter said the stunt was in poor taste.
"I understand the roast part of it, but to use a serial killer's face for the attention of that is I think a little overboard."
As for Blacklock, he has strong suspicions about who posted the bogus obit. He said his rebuttal speech during Saturday's roast — where he gets to have his say after being ridiculed — will now be much meaner.
And in terms of getting revenge? He's not dead set on any plans just yet.
"I'm still dealing with the newness of this wonderful prank, so I'm still thinking about it. I'm open for suggestions. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any terrible suggestions," he said with a laugh.