The Real-Life “Mouse Dropping” That Inspired a Tina Fey Joke on SNL
Over the weekend, Tina Fey and Jimmy Fallon portrayed undecided voters from Clifton Heights in a Saturday Night Live Weekend Update skit.
It went about as you’d expect: Fey was excellent, and her Philly accent was great, while Jimmy Fallon broke character and giggled a bunch. Mayor Jim Kenney even made fun of Fallon’s faux Philly accent.
But there was one joke from Fey that was actually referencing a real story in her hometown of Upper Darby. “Hillary’s husband cheated on her, and I don’t like the way she handled it,” Fey’s Denise McDonough character said. “I don’t like that she didn’t finish the job.… when a girl so much as flirted with my husband, I released mice into the drop ceiling of her pizza place.”
That’s referencing an actual arrest made in 2011. In real life, the mice-in-the-ceiling bit wasn’t over a romantic rival. Allegedly, it was an attempt by a rival pizza shop owner to ruin his competition.
In March 2011, police accused Nicholas Galiatsatos, owner of Nina’s Bella Pizzeria, of putting bags of mice in two other local pizza shops. Cops said he bought the mice from a pet shop earlier in the day.
This was not exactly a well-planned crime. According to Fanis Facas, owner of Verona Pizza, Galiatsatos came into his shop and asked to use the bathroom. He made a racket while in there, so Facas checked the bathroom afterward. He noticed footprints on the toilet seat and an askew ceiling tile. When he went up to check, he found the bag of mice.
As it so happened, two police officers were eating in the restaurant at the time. Facas told them what happened, and they said they spotted Galiatsatos going into Uncle Nick’s, another pizza shop.
“He can’t get started over there,” Upper Darby Police Superintendent Michael Chitwood said to ABC. “Apparently he’s having a problem getting started, so I guess that’s his way of putting the other guys out of business.” Chitwood said Galiatsatos blamed the rival pizza shops for his mouse problem, but there was no evidence of that.
The owner of Uncle Nick’s couldn’t wrap his head around it. “I don’t know, I had a guy come up to me and say, ‘Oh, it’s the times,’” Harry Saritsogleu told WPVI. “Times? What, are you kidding me?” Two days after the incident, Upper Darby officials ate at Verona Pizza in a sign of support. “I’ve never seen mice used as a criminal tool — ever,” Chitwood said.
Galiatsatos was arrested and charged with criminal mischief, cruelty to animals, disorderly conduct and harassment. Per court records, he pleaded guilty to criminal mischief and cruelty to animals; other charges were dropped. He was sentenced to 60 days electronic monitoring and 144 hours of community service.
His pizza shop is no longer in operation. Uncle Nick’s closed sometime in 2012. Verona Pizza is still in business.