Terrible Host, Sad Retort and Great Analysis

Justin December 9, 2013 0

On Friday Night, I went to see Will Ferrell and Adam McKay at the 92nd Street Y.   Some thoughts:

-In the past, I’ve written about the concept of being “Justin Famous,”  which is when there’s someone I see or know about and think they’re a universally big deal, only to find out that no one else has ever heard of them.  This, apparently, is the case with Adam McKay. He’s a founding member of Upright Citizens Brigade, a former head writer at SNL and the writer behind Anchorman, Talledega Nights, Step Brothers and plenty of other Will Ferrell movies. So, when I bought the tickets with Dave from Brighton then Michigan then LA then Jersey City and his wife, I assumed everyone knew who he was. But when we got there, neither Dave nor my girlfriend, nor any of the friends I had told about the event beforehand, had ever heard of Adam McKay.

-We bought these tickets a few months back. But the event wasn’t held until Friday night, which was the tail end of about three weeks of Ron Burgundy being EVERYWHERE. The joke is starting to wear thin. Honestly, if I hadn’t bought the tickets a few months back and you had just asked me Friday morning if I was interested in seeing Will Ferrell, I think I might have said no. I also think the crazy publicity blitz is a pretty good indication that Anchorman 2 is going to be terrible. There’s an excellent chance that it’s just slightly different versions of the same jokes that were great in the first one, with only the slightest hint of a plot. By having Ron Burgundy on every TV show and in every commercial, the producers remind people that the movie is coming out while blunting the potential for bad reviews in the days before the movie hits theaters.

-Luckily, Will Ferrell did not take the stage at the 92nd Street Y in character. He was just Will Ferrell, the relatively quiet but extremely talented comedian. And Adam McKay was the equally funny yet slightly less natural performer that you would expect him to be. The event was essentially an Inside the Actor’s Studio style conversation about the new movie and the careers of both Ferrell and McKay. Except, instead of James Lipton, we got former New York Times reporter Lynn Hirschberg as our moderator. And she was wretched.

-Wretched might seem harsh. It is not. Lynn Hirschberg is a lumpy red head who looks and sounds like an amalgam of Maureen Dowd and Cindy Adams (Two references sure to be familiar to the sports blog demographic). From a distance she could be anywhere from 25 years old to 60. Her voice and inflection are that of a flighty young woman in a bar but her actual comments sound like they’re coming from your grandmother. And it seemed like the only knowledge she had of either Ferrell or McKay was from a last section cramming session which involved watching Anchorman, Talladega Nights, and The Other Guys.  And that’s it. As a result, all of the questions she asked were about those  movies, with a little SNL mixed in. And she called all three “brilliant.” Neither Talladega Nights nor The Other Guys are brilliant.  They are deeply flawed and only occasionally funny. Meanwhile, there was no conversation about Step Brothers, which is arguably the duo’s greatest achievement. Well, at least not until the audience started asking questions. That was another shit show. A moderator is supposed to moderate.  The 92nd Street Y had staffers with microphones walking up and down the aisles, ready to help audience members ask questions after they were called on. But, Lynn Hirschberg decided it would be better for everyone to just yell out questions, whether they had the microphone or not.  And she got none of the references that people made, whether they be about Zoolander or More Cowbell or Eastbound And Down.  She did a truly terrible job and nearly derailed what could have been a really cool event.

Sports Illustrated: December 9th, 2013

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PREGAME:

Nothing too exciting in the first half of this week’s magazine. The Scorecard column is about athletes responding to internet trolls. My favorite part is the response that Astros Outfielder LJ Hoes got from one Twitterer, after firing back against some criticism.

@gracieefreeman I’m sorry ok? I love baseball and the last thing I want is for a player to dislike me

HAHA. What a sniveling response.

THE ARTICLES:

11.30.13 – Breathe In The Chaos by Andy Staples

Andy Staples writes about the Auburn-Alabama game, The Florida State-Florida game, the Ohio State -Michigan game and the Missouri-Texas A and M game. And he does it in a concise, bullet point like format. I really liked it.

Warrior in Khakis by Austin Murphy

Murphy profiles Jim Harbaugh. Essentially he says Harbaugh looks and acts like a jerk, but actually isn’t one. Ok.

What We Lost by S.L Price

“Oh crap. I’m definitely going to cry.” That was my very first thought as I turned the page in SI, saw the picture of Jack Pinto playing little league and realized this was an article about one of the kids who died in Newtown.  And I was right. I was able to hold out until Pinto’s dad told the story about how he let his other son know that Jack had died, and how, to this day, he regrets the way he shared the news. That’s when I lost it. Luckily, I was reading this article in the privacy of my own home and not at the gym or on the subway. That was no coincidence. I planned it that way.

The World’s Most Interesting Unicorn by Ben Reiter

Reiter writes about Marcellus Bennett, who may be the most well adjusted professional athlete I have ever read about in Sports Illustrated. He’s got all the off-field weirdness of a Barry Zito or a Chris Kluwe or a Shane Battier. But he’s the first athlete I’ve ever come across who embraces his quirkiness while still being completely committed to excelling in the base physicality of his sport. Also, his explanation of the hidden message of the movie, ET, is spot on. I’m now completely rethinking that film.

Point After by  Michael Rosenberg

Looking at Derrick Rose’s injuries through the eyes of Danny Manning and Penny Hardaway, who had careers derailed by similar circumstances.

 

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