My interview with Bob Costas
I know I already wrote something yesterday but last night was perhaps the pinnacle of my sports talk career. I was performing standup comedy at the Fariview Heights, IL Funnybone (just across the Mississippi from St. Louis) with headliner Jim Florentine...Special Ed from Crankyankers, "I got mail, yeah!" He told me St. Louis native Bob Costas was coming our to our 8:00 show. Holy shit! I have a chance to make Bob Costas laugh! And if I'm good enough he'll shake my hand after the show! Normally I'm not nervous before shows but I looked over and there sat Bob in his little blue hat with his buddy. They were safely hidden in the front corner of the room near the sound booth near where I walk to and from stage. So I start my set and all I can think is I wonder if Bob will like this joke? Does this make me gay for Bob? Does he give a shit about those Olympic athletes? Should I tell him I lost a parent, too so he'll narrate a piece about me?
The set went well and he seemed to be enjoying himself as Jim was up. After the show the crowd all headed out but he and his friend lingered a bit at their table. Then he walked up to me and shook my hand, "Rob, Bob Costas, nice to meet you." Ahhhh! He said my name! That voice that has spoken to millions! I invited him back to the green room while Florentine finished up selling his CD's and DVD's to the crowd on their way out. So then it was just the green room with Bob, his friend (who announces soccer for ESPN), and me. Bob says, "So you said in your act you went to Ohio State?" Sweet! Bob Costas is interviewing me! Is HBO filming? (in case you're wondering, no, I'm not being sarcastic, I'm this excited) We talk a little Big Ten as we watch Indiana vs. Michigan State. He tells me that I'm funny and had "great stuff." (Oh face) He's probably said the same about Roger Clemons, I have great stuff as well...me and Clemons. Florentine comes back and baseball talk begins. Unfortunately it was about the Giants. Jim mentions to Bob how he was the first guy to really call out major league baseball's steroid problem. He also asks for Bob's opinion on how Sosa will do this year. Sosa? What? Bob says he'll do nothing, I agree and mention he could be 45 years old for all we know now which gets a laugh (I'm so cool). Bob says, "It was so obvious, I mean in the history of baseball only 2 men had hit 60 home runs and one of them was Babe Ruth, all of a sudden Sosa does it 3 years in a row." From this statement I can only guess what he must think about Bonds. He didn't say it because Florentine is a Giants fan. Instead he moved on to talking about how sweet of a swing Jack Clark had. "When Jack Clark took batting practice, you didn't even have to look in the cage. The sound of hit bat hitting the ball was so different than any other player, the way it took off." Ahh, it was an NBC (or HBO) moment, one where he has that serious look in his eye and he's got his left hand up with his thumb against his fingers moving it with the same rhythm of his words. Speaking of NBC, he's not crazy about Sunday Night Football yet. He said they break everything into 12 second segments and try to pander to... America's, America's..."Short attention span?" I add, "Yes!" Now I'm finishing Bob's sentences. This is why I didn't let myself drink before this. Other interesting info, John Madden LOATHES Frank Caliendo. Can't stand his impression of him. Florentine asked Bob about all the different World Series games he had done. He then asked about some game from way before Bob's time. He politely said, "No, that was before my time." I on the other hand said, "Gees Jim! Why don't you ask if he can recall any coverage on Jesse Owens!" In my 7 years of comedy, no laugh was more satisfying than Bob's at this moment.
I guess in the morning Bob had done an interview with Richard Lewis, "Speaking of Ohio State fans, Rob," he adds. I'm officially gay for Bob at this moment, damn he's got a wedding ring. All I care about is sports and this guy has been to everything, announced it, and knows everyone. He said he doesn't really root for teams anymore, he roots for the people he knows. At the Super Bowl he and his wife had 50 yard line seats under the upperdeck. Only 2 % of the seats were covered and he was lucky enough to have them. We talked more NFL and he went on about what a nice guy Dan Marino was, and how Dan Marino is always the most popular guy in the room anywhere he goes and how Dan Marino has everything. I of course wanted to ask, "Everything?" but instead used the moment to say, "It's too bad Favre is sticking around just to break his records." Bob assured me that they really won't matter though because Peyton Manning will break everything soon anyway. Excellent point, take that Favre!
I could go on and on but I'm starting to scare myself. It was truly magical and for once I didn't screw it up. Sure I could have made an ass of myself and tried to give him my card in case he needed...what would he need? The email address to an unknown comic? As he was leaving he mentioned he's flying in an HBO chartered flight to Nashville to be interviewed and then the flight has to go on to Raleigh-Durham to interview Coach K, then back to his apartment in New York. I'll be returning back to the 4th grade classroom I work in for the next 63 school days. I'll miss you Bob Costas, we'll always have Fairview Heights.