Friday, July 24, 2009

The Couch Potato Series: Running With The ESPYs

"Ladies and germs, welcome to our coverage of the 16th Annual ESPY Awards! That's right…it's the only award show on television that rewards sports employees for…gasp…trying to be the best at their jobs! I'm your host, Michael Benjamin, and I just sold my dignity to the highest bidder on EBay! I've been practicing my fake-laugh for weeks! Let's Go!!!!!!!!"

(You have now entered Mike Benjamin's official retroactive diary of the ESPY's – and there's no turning back. Just don't give me sass about my decision to write an epic post-show diary of the proceedings. Hey, if ESPN's gonna show the awards on a five-day tape delay, why can't I do a retro-diary based on the rerun of the rerun? I can't wait to hear the high-pitched sound from a bleeped-out expletive!)

Like I was saying...LET'S GO!!!!!!!!!!!!!

6:31pm (EST): Our host Samuel L. Jackson, wearing a silky white three-piece, stops mid-walk to pose with Venus and Serena, who happen to get front-row seats to the ceremony. Next to them on the front row: Michael Phelps (and MOM!), Kobe and Vanessa Bryant, and…Matthew Stafford? (Just kidding.)

6:32pm: Any opening bets on the over/under for camera shots of Phelps' mom's tonight? 10? 20?

6:44pm (EST): Jeremy Piven and Marisa Miller (your typical smoking-hot supermodel) walk out to present the first ESPY – Best Championship Performance. Ten years ago, did you ever think that Piven would be one of the go-to actors in Hollywood? He was George Costanza's understudy, for Pete's sake.

6:47pm: Phelps takes home the first ESPY of the night, with Mom failing to hold back her crocodile tears. Why Phelps? Because as Sammy J predicted, this is the only year that anyone gives a crap about swimming. 6:50pm: Just so you know, I'm going to start calling Sam Jackson by his various movie roles for the rest of the retro diary. Like DJ Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince, I'm all about breaking up the monotony.

6:51pm: Jules (Pulp Fiction) introduces Will.I.Am and Danica Patrick to present the "Best Upset" award, which is accompanied by a pre-recorded "Damn!" to openly gawk at her hotness. Personally, I'm starting to get sick of the media fawning over Danica, even though she's won like NO races since entering Formula 1. Plus, she's just not that hot. She's like the sports equivalent of Erin Andrews. 6:54pm: The U.S. Soccer Team wins "Big Upset" award, with Landon Donovan hosting a bitter "Yeah, We Know Nobody Really Gave a Crap About Us Before Last Week" look on his face. He's just happy to be back in the tabloids after telling his ex-teammate (Beckham) where to stick his 25 million dollar salary.

6:55pm: Ahh! NOOOOO!!! Stuart Scott's eye in Hi-Def! He just broke my HD tuner. Crap.

6:56pm: Oh boy…they just showed Stacks Edwards (Goodfellas) acting like a bama for TV again. (Why does this sound so familiar?) I've got to give ESPN some credit here. It takes skill to squeeze references to chicken, weed, Obama, and F-bombs into a three-minute segment.

7:01pm: Rashida Jones and T.O. engage in some stale banter, with T.O. coming across as really lame. Since his off-field career has taken off, T.O. has always rubbed me as an athlete that just wants to be seen as funnier than he is. Dude, you don't always have to bring home the funny. That's why they created Ad Libs.

7:02pm: I can't believe Matt Ryan's taking home the "Best Breakthrough Athlete" award over D-Rose. Okay, so I guess it's cool to vote a perennial second-tier QB over a basketball player that will be no worse than Michael Ray Richardson before the coke. This looks like it's gonna be one of those ESPY awards that I'll be laughing out loud at in ten years on ESPN Classic.

7:05pm: Great thing about being a black man: Shaving your head takes 10 years off your appearance. Just ask Gary Payton. By the way, did you know that Sam Jackson's now 60?

7:07pm: Yes! Sylar (Zack Quinto) from NBC's Heroes and a woman wearing a dress littered with glitter are on stage now. Go ahead, Sylar! You know you just want to tear her head off! She deserves to be punished for her fashion felony!

(*Personally, I'm just excited at the fact that there's another Zack in our lives. Shoulda been you, Mark-Paul Gosselaar.)

7:11pm: It's a crime against sports that "Best Game" award was given to the Super Bowl in a year that had the Phelps relay, the Celtics Game 4 comeback, and the Tiger/Rocco duel. Plus, I've already had my fill of Ben Roethlisberger for the night. Just saying.

7:12pm: I just got faxed a transcript of Santonio Holmes acceptance speech: "Hey yall, thanks for letting me win. I look forward to performing more crotch grabs next year."

7:13pm: Similar to the Oscars, ESPN is doing a quick rundown of all the crappy winners that won't get any television time during the show. Why cut the ESPYs short? It's not like we're in a rush to watch WNBA highlights.

7:15pm: Sam Jackson: "It's nice to see all the true fans out there." Uhh, who's he talking to? Isn't he in a theater full of athletes?

7:16pm: Mace Windu and Wyclef collaborate on an old-school blues rendition praising sports fandom. Here's hoping that Will Leitch or Bethelhem Shoals jump on stage and start doing the Charleston.

7:19pm: The Guy Who Akeem Thrashes (Coming to America) begs the audience to get up and dance. Cameras just cut to Dara Torres awkwardly flexing her guns in place. I guess no matter how much success a white person has, they'll never be able to make up for that inherent lack of rhythm.

7:24pm: Hey, look, it's Barack on the big screen! Didn't you know that he's a big sports fan too? Man, he's so relatable to his constituents! (For the record, Barack's sports fandom is starting to get so played out now. It'd be great if he spent all this time trying to fix our economy. Or, better yet, getting me a job.)

7:26pm: Ahh, they just cut to Condi Rice clapping! My retinas! Too much ugly in Hi-Def!!!

7:28pm: Great piece about Arthur Ashe, Nelson Mandela, and the power of rugby uniting the peoples of South Africa. I'm really impressed by the fact that we're actually watching a second-class sport (played in an African nation, no less) get a serious chunk of television time. I guess ESPN's trying to cover their rugby highlight quota for the year in one fell swoop.

7:35pm (EST): Who's that girl sitting next to T.O. in the audience? Judging by her lack of guns, I'm going to go out on a limb and say that she's not an athlete. Just playing a hunch.

7:37pm: Why does Nelson Mandela's grandson look like a poor man's version of the guy from Blood Diamond? More important, why did ESPN cut to the one guy (Jim Boeheim) who's definitely not going to donate a cent of his cash to the cause? Everyone KNOWS he's gotta save that cheese for his recruits!

7:42pm: Jeff Gordon walks out with Olivia Wilde from House to present the "Best Moment" award. I'm just glad to see that Jeff decided to go with the Filene's Basement look for tonight's festivities. Glad to see that his celebrity status hasn't dissuaded him from shopping at his neighborhood discount retailer.

7:46pm: Wow, they just cut to Mike Phelps' mom about five times in the last twenty seconds. Wait, make that six. She's about twenty camera shots away from taking home the Mateen Cleaves' "Most Face Time For A Complete Non-Factor" award and hosting her own mid-morning cooking show.

7:48pm: Peyton Manning is freaking hilarious. I can't wait for him to host a game show in twenty years. He's our generation's Carl Weathers. Or, more likely, the anti-Rick Fox.

7:54pm: Condi Rice, again, is on stage. I know she's got a lot of free time nowadays, but they couldn't find ANYONE else to present this award? I'm now three HD Tuners in the hole. Thanks a lot, ESPN. 7:57pm: Doesn't Nastia Liukin look like…every single white teenage actress you've seen? I swear I just saw her making out with Pacey on an episode of Dawson's Creek this morning.

8:01pm: I can't believe they seated Mike Tyson directly behind Kurt Warner. Either Kurt's walking out with a tattoo directly above his right eye, or Tyson's gonna end up a born-again Christian by the night's end. I really shouldn't be hoping for this, but I'd like to see Matt Leinart try to give Kurt lip when he's got Iron Mike on speed dial. I know he saw what Tyson did to Andy from The Office. (Or, his friend, anyways.)

8:05pm: Came back from a commercial with a random guy on-stage screaming "I AM THE CHAMPION! I AM THE CHAMPION!" at me in my LaZBoy. (That's gotta be the worst Final Cut dissolve-edit EV-VER.)

8:08pm: Looks like Phelps is going to clean up on the men's side of the awards bracket tonight. Kobe's got to be seething by now. Yup, yup…they just cut to him making that clenched jaw smile. (And you Laker fans thought that he put that one away for good.) I'm holding out hope that we'll see his "chipmunk face" by the end of the night.

8:11pm: Don Meyer's gotta be pissed that he's not winning an award for holding the record for more dubs all-time, but because he got mowed down by a tractor-trailer and is down his left leg.

8:13pm: After what's gone down with the Erin Andrews video over the past few days, doesn't Don Meyer have to feel like he just got hosed? Last week, he would've been another dirty old man. Now, he's a full-fledged pervert. ESPN really should've edited out his "Glad I walked the red carpet behind Erin Andrews! (with a cheesy smile)" comment.

8:14pm: Michael Phelps' mom camera count: 14. Who had 20 in the prop bet?

8:23pm: "BULLETIN, BULLETIN, BULLETIN, BULLETIN! No more Stevie Wonder behind the piano! No more dreads that start at the back on his scalp and continue down his back! No more fake laughs from Kobe in the first row!"

8:27pm: Crap. Guess we're not gonna get the chipmunk from Kobe tonight, since his team brought home the "Best Team" award. Wait, why is Sasha Vujacic on-stage? Did he even hit a three at all during the playoffs?

8:28pm: Mister Senor Love Daddy (Do The Right Thing) jogs out to wisk us away to ESPN backstage coverage with his blessings, and finishes the show with a duet with Stevie Wonder amidst confetti and Matthew Stafford man hugs.

8:59pm: At last, the ESPYs have been signed, sealed, and delivered. Sorry, I couldn't resist.

Who wants to watch the post-ESPY's Backstage Show? Umm, me neither. Adios.

(For more pictures of the ESPYs, here's the link. You're welcome.)

1 comment:

  1. yo i laughed SO HARD at that comment you made about Stevie's dreads... i've wondered for years why he doesn't just cut them jokers off...