Tuesday, June 16, 2009

'Joe Buck Live' Buzzworthy, But Not Very Good

I actually watched most of the first ever "Joe Buck Live" on HBO last night. I turned it on for the curiosity, stayed to watch the Brett Favre interview, wanted to stay for the Chad Ochocinco interview but a bad storm blew through the area that screwed up my satellite. I did catch the rest of it on a later showing.

The show has created a lot of buzz this morning ... but not all of it good. I like Buck's interview with Favre because he actually asked the questions I wanted to know. Is he coming back? What's the deal with the Vikings? Does he hate Green Bay? Favre was, I think, honest but didn't really reveal anything new. Still, to actually hear him talk about his future is more refreshing than hearing updates every other day.

There was also the Chad Ochocinco interview that really never happened. For some stupid reason, they had he and Michael Irvin on at the same time. Chad didn't really get to say much because Irvin kept interrupting him. And the two don't match. I agree with Chad that he hasn't had any legal issues like all these other players in the league. He's just an ass the wants to have fun. Meanwhile, Irvin has some baggage in his past that he doesn't need to act like it's the media's fault.

The other buzzworthy part of the night was Artie Lang. Now, I'm not sure where I fall on this whole deal. The show was about athletes being celebrities and, for some reason, Buck brought on three guys who are more C-list sidekicks than anything else. SNL's Jason Sudekis, actor Paul Rudd and Howard Stern's Artie Lange came on to talk about the celebrity aspect of the athletes (as if they would truly know).

Lange, as you may know, took the opportunity to make some funnies. He called Tony Romo gay and called Jessica Simpson a "fat chick" (I think two Jessicas would equal one Artie, by the way). He also spent most of the segment making fun of Buck. Still, he was the most refreshing part of the show.

I think Buck has promise, but he doesn't really have that style yet. He has a dry sarcastic humor that I like in moderation, but it doesn't work with the athletes. He did the one thing I hate in interviewers in that he talked too much and didn't allow that extra time to the people he was asking questions to. His jokes came off cheesy. He wanted to show everyone that he isn't this uptight guy who chastised Randy Moss but a fun guy to be around.

That all went out the window when Lange showed up with his schtick. Buck spent the first 45 minutes with his mild humor setting up the show and then Lange just tramples over it. Look, it's HBO and I'm fine with comedians doing there thing. You invite Artie Lange on the show for a reason, so don't be pissed if he acts like Artie Lange. I love comedy and I'm not a big fan of Howard Stern's show ... but you wanted that edgy guy for your first show. You got him.

Since this show is only on four times a year (the next episode is in September), it gives Buck ample opportunity to figure out what works for him and what didn't. Bob Costas, who previously had the show, played his role well and carried the show well. Yeah, he was grumpy at times and always seemed to wax poetic about the good ol' days (which there are no "good ol' days") but he kept the show at a level where even if the guests got out of hand, it didn't feel that uncomfortable. This was Buck's Buzz Bissinger and he didn't take it very well.

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