jump to navigation

Anatomy of an Internet Hoax: Nikki Leotardo June 24, 2007

Nikki Leotardo?  FuggedaboutitTwo weeks ago, just after the finale of HBO’s The Sopranos aired, a tornado of an Internet hoax began circulating in cyberspace. Rumor was that rather than the ending being an inconclusive steaming dump, David Chase gave it concrete closure: Tony Soprano is certainly killed by Nikki Leotardo, the man in the members only jacket and nephew to Phil Leotardo. Hundreds of thousands of gullible morons propagated the misinformation — blogging, commenting, and pumping it up until Nikki Leotardo finally made it into google’s top 10 search terms, a home on wikipedia (now removed), and a place in faux Sopranos history.

We’ve got mixed feelings about the idea of an Internet hoax. One the one hand, disinformation kind of blows, but on the other, mischief, mayhem, and making idiots look like asses they are totally rocks. Regardless, we’ve tracked down the operative who originated the whole fiasco, the creator of the Internet’s favorite fake Mafioso, Nikki Leotardo. Regardless of what your feelings are on the subject, it’s a conclusive case study on how the virtual world is filled with non virtual morons. Here’s the sordid details, straight from the horse’s mouth:

I am here to officially proclaim what you should already know by now. There is and never was a “Nikki Leotardo” on any episode of the Sopranos. I know this not because HBO spokespersons said so but because I wrote the damn thing after the show ended on Sunday night. If you never heard about this theory, here it is in its original form:


OK, at first I was really angry. I mean really, really angry. I can’t believe though that no-one has posted by now what happened. The only thing I saw that was right, was that in the last scene we are seeing through Tony’s eyes. Remember when he was speaking with Bobby…basically saying that you don’t see it happening?

So here is what I found out. The guy at the bar is also credited as Nikki Leotardo. The same actor played him in the first part of season 6 during a brief sit down concerning the future of Vito. That wasn’t that long ago. Apparently, he is the nephew of Phil. Phil’s brother Nikki Senior was killed in 1976 in a car accident. Absolutely Genius!!!! David Chase is truly rewarding the true fans who pay attention to detail.

So the point would have been that life continues and we may never know the end of the Sopranos. But if you pay attention to the history, you will find that all the answers lie in the characters in the restaurant. The trucker was the brother of the guy who was robbed by Christopher in Season 2. Remember the DVD players? The trucker had to identify the body. The boy scouts were in the train store and the black guys at the end were the ones who tried to kill Tony and only clipped him in the ear (was that season 2 or 3?).

Absolutely incredible!!!! There were three people in the restaurant who had reason to kill Tony and then it just ends. This was Chase’s way of proving that he will not escape his past. It will not go on forever despite that he would like it to “don’t stop”. Not the fans!!! Tony would like it to keep going but just as we have to say goodbye, so does he. No more Tony and I guess we are supposed to be happy that Meadow didn’t get clipped as well (she would have been between the shooter and Tony) since she is the only one worth a crap in that family.

Thank you David Chase for making it so obscure that I feel bad for hating you at first. Absolutely amazing!!!!

You might say Nikki Leotardo was Chianti inspired. Like everyone else following the series finale of the Sopranos, I was a bit in shock. To celebrate the end of an era, I had prepared a Sopranos themed feast for a couple friends with veal parmesan, chicken piccata, sausage and peppers and of course, plenty of Vino. Little did I know that onion rings would have been more appropriate.

My first response was to rewind and watch again. Nothing new. I looked at the credits and Googled everyone who was credited in the diner. Nothing. In fact, Paolo Colandrea (guy in members only jacket) didn’t even have one hit at this early hour. I found myself getting even angrier and feeling betrayed and abandoned after years of commitment and dedication through all the bull crap story lines. Next step in my drunken rage was to find answers on the message boards.

Few posts had anything to offer. Mostly people were like me, angry and looking for blood. The Chianti and fervor of the Sopranos community started to infect my creative genius. You see I’m a giver. I give people what they want and I couldn’t ignore such a demand for answers. It hurts me to see people in need. I believe that when stuck in a desert without water, it’s best to convince someone that eating sand will quench their thirst. There’s no water to be had, what’s the harm. Thus “Nikki Leotardo” was born with his less infamous siblings the trucker, black guys, and the boy scouts. Seriously, I didn’t expect anyone to buy a story that took minutes to create and would take less than that and Google to debunk. It was so obviously crap and my facts were terribly wrong but like my one other great accomplishment in life (creating life, my daughter), I was drunk and it took about 3 minutes from start to finish. I didn’t even stay up to read anyone’s response to what I wrote.

What happened next, I can not quite say. From what I understand, someone pulled it from the message board the story was posted on a NY Times blog, put in an email and left to cultivate in the World Wide Web. Within two days, the theory had been on the major networks, debated on Howard Stern, ESPN radio, Opie and Anthony and written about or referenced in numerous new articles (my favorite was Tom Maurstad’s in the Dallas Morning News citing my poor grammar! How brutal is the truth!). The blogs kept coming and most recently the existence of Phil Leotardo’s nephew was denied by HBO spokesperson, Quentin Schaffer in a Reuters news article.

My favorite take on the end of the show is obviously my own. My least favorite was that the onion rings represented communion or flawed confession of some kind. You might call this my own confession. However, although my intentions were not to misinform to this immaculate degree, I’m actually not that sorry. If it weren’t my b.s. story, it would have been someone else’s. And I discovered new talent. This misinformation thing is actually not that difficult. Maybe I have a future in the current administration…

Got comments? Want to hate on our anonymous operative? Post ‘em below — he’ll read them for sure.


1. danielle - June 26, 2007

Genius! I love it. It is insane how quickly it spread! Tom Maurstad spells Nikki’s name wrong - so much for poor grammar - he can’t spell!

2. Stones - June 27, 2007

What an asshole! Just think of how many people this guy made look stupid as they spread this rumor as fact to their co-workers, church groups and grandparents. It’s like today when I told my whole office they needed to register their cell phone numbers on the do not call registry and that water bottles left in a hot car can cause cancer. Everyone laughed at me. I felt so small. What good is the information highway if it’s all bullshit? I guess I’ll have to stop using internet blogs as a reliable source for my grad school papers.

3. Anonymous - July 13, 2007


4. Mike Thomas - August 9, 2007


We would like to do an interview with you about your blog for
www.BlogInterviewer.com . We’d like to give you the opportunity to
give us some insight on the “person behind the blog.”

It would just take a few minutes of your time. The interview form can
be submitted online at http://bloginterviewer.com/submit-an-interview

Best regards,

Mike Thomas