Jeff Pearlman

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Kyle Brandt

#188
This is the true story of a former Real World cast member, a Princeton halfback, an amputee NASCAR racer, a Days of Our Lives star, Brad Pitt's imaginary best friend and the victim of Randy Johnson's silent dodgeball assault. Oh, and he's Jim Rome's producer. POSTED January 7, 2015

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So this is sorta weird, but today’s Quaz features a man who—until a month or two ago—I never considered for this space.

Oh, I’ve known Kyle Brandt for quite a while now. For the past three years I’ve been a semi-regular panelist on Jim Rome’s CBS Sports Network show. Kyle is Jim’s (radio and television) producer, so whenever I arrive at the studio, I’m greeted by a guy who has three important virtues: A. Genuinely nice. B. Genuinely funny. C. Respects Hall & Oates.

That magical trifecta, however valuable, isn’t enough to be invited into the selective and dignified Land of Quaz. Then, a few months ago, something happened. I was speaking with Jim after a day’s taping, and Kyle’s name was brought up. “It’s funny going out with him,” Jim said, “because people still recognize the guy from The Real World.”

Um, what?

“You didn’t know Kyle was on The Real World?”

I did not. So I returned to my abode and operated the magical Google. And I immediately remembered Kyle—the wife and I used to be regular Real World viewers. But that wasn’t all. Kyle played halfback at Princeton. Kyle spent three years as a Days of Our Lives cast member. Kyle appeared in a really weird commercial featuring Randy Johnson. Kyle was the object of affection for a website designed in 1982. Kyle, um, judged a Miss Teen USA pageant alongside an ogling Nick Lachey.

In short, the 188th Quaz is the quintessential Quaz.

One can follow Kyle on Twitter here, and view his IMDB page here.

Kyle Brandt, shirtless dunker, welcome to The Quaz …

JEFF PEARLMAN: Kyle, you’ve had a truly fascinating career. So I have to start with what must be considered the defining moment: In 2003 you were a judge at the Miss Teen USA pageant. Um … what? Details, please. Details …

KYLE BRANDT: First thing’s first. It’s creepy to judge a teenage beauty pageant. There’s a bikini category. They’re minors. You’re judging their bodies. More on that in a second.

Nick Lachey was a fellow judge. His wife Jessica Simpson was performing during the show. (So was Justin Goddamn Guarani. That breaks the #2003 scale).  Anyway, another judge was Vanessa Manillo. I remember thinking it was odd that Lachey was flirting with her. Because not only was he married to Jessica, but they had just premiered their reality show … which is all about them being married. Guess what happened eight years later? He marred Vanessa Manillo!  Also—Cobi Jones was also a judge, he was the only American soccer player I had ever heard of, and he was a cool dude.

Back to judging teenage girls’ bodies. There was a lot of coaching from the producers about that category. They kept telling us we were looking for “symmetry of form.” Which, is just some bullshit term to cover their asses. So, as it turned out, there was exactly one moment in the live broadcast when I spoke on camera. They went to commercial after the bikini category. The producer tells me that Mario Lopez, the host, is going to go to me with a question when we come back. For whatever reason, probably ego, I was expecting the question to be something about myself.

Two minutes later … they’re counting us back: “5….4….3…. (2)….(1) ..  WELCOME BACK TO THE 2003 MISS TEEN USA PAGEANT. I’M HERE WITH KYLE BRANDT FROM DAYS OF OUR LIVES … KYLE WHAT DID YOU THINK OF THAT SWIMWEAR CATEGORY?”

I was caught totally off guard. Had no idea what to say to AC Slater. So for some reason, I went full pervert: “Whew! Man! I’m still trying to recover from it!”

I’ve never felt more Megan’s Law in my life. I’m still trying to recover from it. From ogling those high school girls? Barf. I should have been maced. Or arrested. Even Slater, who is a renowned Casanova, responded with an awkward laugh and didn’t ask a second question. He shouldn’t have asked me a first.

I should have just said, “These girls are looking really symmetrical out there tonight, Mario.”

Kyle, left, as part of a dream panel along with Manillo, Jones and Lachey.

Kyle, left, as part of a dream panel along with Manillo, Jones and Lachey.

J.P.: Until recently, I only knew you as Kyle, the cool executive producer for Jim Rome. Then, while on the set one day, Jim mentioned that people still recognize you from The Real World. And I thought, “Um … what?” Then I Googled, nodded—wife and I watched that season, I just never made the connection. So, to get this out of the way: Real World Chicago—how? Why? Good experience? Bad experience? And how much of your career can you credit to that experience in one way or another?

K.B.: Dude, you can’t imagine how many times I’ve been talking to someone at a bar, or a party, and they’ve said to me, “So, I just have to ask …” It happened last night. That show is a life tattoo. I got it when I was a second semester senior in college. They came to campus and did an open casting call. My friends and I got drunk and went to it for shits. This is way back before the term “reality show” existed. This is when The Real World was must-see TV. Naked Ruthie in Hawaii. Stephen slapping that girl with lyme disease in Seattle. So we went to the open call.

I remember the late Mary-Ellis Bunim asked me how I would feel about a gay man telling me I was attractive. Odd question, but I said, “Well, it’s already happened twice today and I appreciated it both times.” She laughed. Four months later she casted me and I did that show in my hometown of Chicago, two weeks after graduating from college.

I’ll rattle off the answers to the Kyle Brandt Real World FAQ:

• Yes, we got paid. About $5,000 for a four-month shoot. You sign away everything, you get nothing, and if you don’t like it—they’ll just find another fratboy to take the position. I had no problem with that.

• No, I don’t regret doing it. Great life experience. Don’t get me wrong, I wish I’d done things differently. I was so nervous and uptight the whole time. I so worried about looking like a douche, that I ended up looking like a douche.

• And of course, “Is The Real World REAL?” People think they’re going to blow your mind with this question. Like, wow. Incredible stuff, Mike Wallace! It was pretty real. They didn’t create scenarios. But they edit it to create characters. I have a huge problem with anyone who goes on a  reality show and complains how they were portrayed. Of course you look terrible. That’s what those shows are for—to put your face on a dartboard so the country can make fun of you. Shut up.

Kyle with Jim Rome

Kyle with Jim Rome

J.P.: You spent three years, I believe, playing Philip Kiriakis on Days of Our Lives. Soaps have always fascinated me, because they’re both corny and riveting; widely watched and widely panned. How did you land that gig? Did you enjoy it? And why did you stop playing Philip?

K.B.: Awesome time in my life. So fun. I was an ordinary auditioning actor in Los Angeles back in 2003, albeit with some notoriety from MTV. When I went in for the part of Philip, I remember thinking it would be cool because Philip’s dad Victor is played by John Aniston, soap legend and father of Jennifer. I had this whole plan that I was going to befriend him, meet her, hang with Brad Pitt and become a movie star. But first I had to land the part.

My agent advised me to wear a really tight shirt because they were going to want to see what my body looked like. “For those shows, they need to see the goods.”  She also said I should be tan. So I spray tanned for the first time in my life … then I went to Banana Republic and bought the smallest T-shirt they had. It was a light blue Extra Small Lycra cotton T-shirt. It honestly looked like baby clothes. I looked like such an orange dipshit. Exactly what they were looking for. It worked.

I loved that job. So many bizarre experiences. My character was a Marine who loses his leg at war, so I did a scene with Paul McCartney’s then-wife and real-life amputee Heather Mills.  My character then became a NASCAR driver (with one leg!) so I got to meet Jeff Gordon and Dale Jr. and all those guys. Regarding how cheesy soaps are—of course! That’s why they work. And we absolutely knew it at the time. I remember dozen of times standing on the set saying, “There’s no way I’m saying this. I can’t stay this without laughing.” We would laugh through half the scenes. You honesty think we didn’t know how bad/funny this scene was?

But the best part of that time were the gigs you’d go to on the weekends. They’d send you to a department store in Tuscaloosa, or a hardware store in Birmingham. You’d get a really nice check to sit at a table for two hours and sign head shots for housewives. Sometimes they’d wait in line for two hours. I’m serious. And let me assure you … when a big soap opera fan waits that long to meet Philip, they’re going to get their money’s worth. Big hugs. Hand holding. Butt grabbing. Last-minute cheek kisses before the camera click. You name it. The picture below this answer has become infamous on the radio show. It was taken on the dance floor at an event I was paid to attend in Greenville, S.C. in 2004. It’s known as the Southern Sandwich. After that weekend, I went on my blog and referred to the event as a “Grope Fest.” The people got pissed and didn’t invite me back. Most of the soap fans were really nice. Some of them were really grabby. Most of them were clean. Some of them smelled like old ham. For people who loved soaps, they didn’t seem to love soap.

I only stopped playing Philip because at some point you have to leave college and get a real job. That’s how it felt. Unfortunately for me, that job was not becoming a movie star and The Aniston Plan never panned out. Plus, soap operas are a dying genre. I thought I’d have a better future in the fresh, emerging market of sports radio.

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The Southern Sandwich in all its glory.

J.P.: So I know you’re from Hinsdale, Illinois, I know you played football at Princeton, I know you’ve acted and Rome. But how did this happen? Birth to now? When did you decide this was the sort of career you wanted? Why did you stop acting? What are you trying to accomplish?

K.B.: My career path has been so strange. I remember during my first-ever meeting with Jim, I said to him: My background’s pretty odd, man, and I’m not sure you’re going to like it. But he loved it, because it’s so different. Football … acting … sports media.  I used to want to be Walter Payton. (except for that weird nitrous thing). Then I wanted to be Matt Damon. Then I wanted to do what Jim does. I stopped acting because I wasn’t going to be 40-years old, living in a one-bedroom apartment, and praying that I get a callback for some shitty TV show. That’s the life. These Channing Tatums, Chris Hemsworths? They’re lottery winners. They’re holding the giant check and the balloons. The are the 1 percent. Less than that, really. The other 50,000 hunky white dudes who want those parts? They’re going to eventually get their real estate licenses or become a personal trainer. I wasn’t going to risk that. You have to be an extremely good actor or incredibly lucky. I was neither.

J.P.: In a 2010 interview with Princeton’s alumni publication, you said, “If you appear on a reality show, be prepared to answer questions about it for the rest of your life.” I can hear you groaning with that reply. How true it is? How annoying does it get? Is there any possible escape?

K.B.: When The Real World season was airing in 2002, I was 23. My friends and I used to play a game when we’d go out and people would approach me. We’d rank the interactions from one to 10. Getting a one meant you were the most obnoxious asshole ever. Like someone who walks right up to your table and starts berating you for the way you treated somebody on the show. A 10 was somebody just saying, “Hey man, saw you on that show. Good luck.” There were almost no 10s. Lots of twos and threes. A few ones. I think the biggest lesson I learned from that dynamic is that when you see a public figure out somewhere, and you think they don’t notice that you’re talking about them or talking a picture of them—you’re wrong. They do. They always do. You’re not being nearly as subtle as you think you are. I saw Jenna Jameson at a restaurant a few months back. It’s odd seeing a ’90s porn star in person because you feel like you’re running into an ex-girlfriend. But I tried to take a picture of her and act like I wasn’t. She knew exactly what I was doing. Sighed and turned away from me in her seat. So busted. I’m sure she gave me a one. I deserved it.

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J.P.: As a former Delaware Blue Hen, I’m a big I-AA football guy (I still call it I-AA). You were a really good running back at Princeton. I’ve always wondered if there’s something special or unique about playing sports in the Ivy. Do you think it’s any different than being a Blue Hen or New Hampshire Wildcat? Does it come with expectations? Standards? And why’d you go to Princeton?

K.B.: A lot of the time playing sports in the Ivy League means you are a enough student to get in, but not a good enough athlete to play at a big-time program. Unless you play squash or lacrosse. For me, when I was getting recruited out of high school, my options were this: 1. Play running back at some place like Western Michigan or Toledo, maybe get on the field as an upperclassman. 2. Walk on somewhere like Northwestern or Purdue. Maybe cover kicks some day. 3. Be a three-year starter and get the best possible degree at Princeton.

It was so easy.

I can’t speak to being a Blue Hen or playing for New Hampshire, but I don’t think the actual experience of being an Ivy League athlete is that different. Not on the field. There are the same idiots talking the same kind of moronic trash talk in a Princeton-Harvard game as I’m sure there is in Alabama-Auburn. It’s not like everybody insults each other after a tackle with enlightened insults or sonnets. I remember being a little disappointed that everyone didn’t seem like a genius or something. It was the same cast of characters you’d see on any football team. Dirtbags. Idiots who forget their assignments. Cheapshotters. The two-to-three guys who can barely stay eligible, and the one guy who gets kicked off the team for plagiarism.

Another thing about being an Ivy League athlete? Nobody goes to the games. Princeton built a brand-new stadium that debuted in 1998. My first game as a starter. The place was packed. The governor was there, more than 30,000 fans. Electric. And then the final score was Princeton 6, Cornell 0. About 70 percent of those in the stadium left at halftime. I don’t blame them. They probably went to a squash match. We blew it.

J.P.: You’ve been with Jim Rome for a long time. When I inevitably tell people how great Jim is, I get a lot of, “Really? He seems so [Fill in the blank]. What’s it like working with Jim? And what do you think people are misunderstanding? And why?

K.B.: Of course you think Jim is great. You’ve actually met him. And you’ve worked with him. Ask any journalist or author to fill in that blank and they’ll glow about the guy. Because he’s totally professional and respectful of what they do. It’s like Howard Stern with comedians. They love him because he makes them look great. Anyone with something negative to say about Jim falls into one of three categories. 1. Other people in the industry jealous of his career. 2. Die-hard sports fan types who don’t like him because he laid out their team. 3. Mouth breathers still cackling about the Jim Everett thing back in the fucking 1990s. So who the hell cares what those people think? He has great friends in his personal life. And great respect from those who have worked with him in his professional life. Most of all me. It sounds like I’m kissing my boss’s ass. I get it. But I’ve worked with him for seven years because I like it. The worst bosses are the ones who are unfair, or who send mixed messages. There’s no bullshit working for Jim. Get up early. Know what the hell you’re talking about. Work your balls off. Get to the weekend and do whatever the hell you want.

People ask me what he’s like, too. I think they can’t grasp that when the show’s over … he doesn’t just stand around spitting fire about the Lakers or dropping “manual buzzers” on people in conversation. He’s a fun hang. He loves alt rock. He has great stories He’s funny when he drinks. He hates himself after he eats a bunch of Halloween candy late at night. Like a normal dude. Better than that. An awesome dude.

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J.P.: Greatest moment of your professional career? Lowest?

K.B.: I haven’t had my greatest moment yet. But my proudest moment thus far went down the first time I hosted The Jim Rome Show in 2012.  Just me. No co-host. No wacky sidekick. Three hours of radio to 250-plus affiliates. In fact, I talked so fast that I think I actually delivered eight hours worth of content that day. I’ve never done cocaine. But I imagine if I did, that first show is how I would sound.

The low point? About five years ago, I met Bo Jackson. He lives the same Chicago Suburb as my Dad. The idols of my adolescence were Jordan, The Ultimate Warrior, and Bo. I had all his posters. I had his cross trainers. I had 13 touchdowns in one game with Bo in Tecmo Bowl. And then as a 31-year old I had a chance to meet him.

I was so nervous, that I shook his hand and said, “It’s great to meet you. I’m Bo.”

I said the wrong name. He goes ,”Oh yeah? There aren’t a lot of us.” Understand, I work around athletes for a living. It’s no big deal. I never get nervous. But for some reason, Bo reduced me to that kid in the Mean Joe Greene Coke commercial. Only way less clutch.  So what to do? How to salvage the encounter?  At that point, I had two options. Either I could double back and say, “Wait. Actually, my name’s Kyle”—and look like a total asshat. Or I could just play along and pretend my name is actually Bo. Guess what I did.? You already know. If I ever run into him again, and I probably will,  I will do it as “Bo Brandt.” Bo knows.

J.P.: Is acting hard or easy? Being serious—do you feel like it’s a craft that needs to be perfected? Pretending? Do we overrate the ability? Underrate? And how would you rate yourself?

K.B.: Of course it’s hard, Pearlman. Let’s see you get up and do a dramatic monologue or read some lines from The Mentalist. It’s funny, because when you’re auditioning for a part, you try so hard to really a-c-t. Like get into the role, think about your character’s past, all that shit. And then when it comes to being on camera, it’s about doing as little as possible. Every acting coach I ever had would preach about “stillness” and “subtlety.”  Basically—they would teach us to just do nothing.

I think it’s very hard to do good acting. It’s like rapping. Anyone can do it badly. Just come up with some stupid rhymes and talk with your hands. But to rap and actually look cool? There are like, 20 people on the planet who can do it. I feel that way about acting. Daniel-Day Lewis becomes Abraham Lincoln like it’s no big deal. Liam Neeson could have probably done it. Kevin Spacey. But imagine the rest of the population in a top hat trying to do that voice. We’d all look like imbeciles. Because acting is goddamn hard.

By the time I was done, I think I could hold my own. Not great. Maybe not good. But strongly passable. Somewhere between Van Damme and Van Der Beek.

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QUAZ EXPRESS WITH KYLE BRANDT:

  You were the president of Beta Theta Pi while at Princeton. I’ve long stereotyped frats as asshole plantations. Tell me why I’m the asshole here: You’re not. And as president I was the asshole plantation owner.  True story: One night in 1997, our fraternity rented out this little Chinese restaurant for the night. I was a pledge at the time. And the rest of the pledges and I were forced to chug Jim Beam until we puked. No big deal. I was game. But the brothers wanted to dial up the entertainment factor. So there was this giant window across the front of the restaurant looking out on the parking lot. They made each one of us go outside,  press our faces against the window and barf all over the glass.  We all did it.

Assholes? We were savages. Just wildly disrespectful to the poor people who ran the place. I think about it all the time. Like—it wasn’t enough that this pack of jackals puked in rice bowls and flower pots all over their restaurant. No, they had to desecrate the exterior too. Look at this poor place. Of course they’re closed down now. I feel terrible. So I guess you’re sort of wrong. We weren’t a plantation. We were more efficient. We were an asshole factory. Looking back, I wish the Tri-Lambs had shown up with their sweet jheri curls and kicked our asses.

• You’ve never appeared on an MTV spinoff show. It sorta seems like free money for little work. So why not?: Jeff. Have you seen the promos for those things? If I ever got an itch to do one … and I started to think it might be a fun little gig like you’re saying … all I need to do is see one promo for whatever Challenge is airing and I’ll say, “Hell No.” It’s always a montage of people crying, screaming, getting injured, having sex on night vision, and getting sucker punched by six-packers in bandanas. I’m not doing that shit. Not to win a surfboard, or a Saturn, or whatever they give to the winners. Pass.

• Rank in order (favorite to least): General Hospital, Tonya Cooley, Westminster, Eddie the Eagle, Kyle Korver, Shannon Hoon, Blackish, Eric Dickerson, Felipe Lopez, Yahoo, corn on the cob, Ben Stiller, podcasts: 1. Podcasts. I just finished Serial. I can’t listen to one second without thinking that Sarah Koenig is totally in love with Adnan. The episode where he says she doesn’t really know him? It felt like a seventh grade break up; 2. Kyle Korver. Pure gunner. Good dude. But one time I was out on a date with this PR rep, and she kept texting with Kyle Korver and bragging about it. What a blocker. But the ladies like that guy. Have to tip the cap. 3. Eric Dickerson. Two things I loved about him as a player. His upright style was just begging tacklers to take his head off, back in a time when it was actually allowed. His career shouldn’t have lasted one week. He played 11 years. And the other reason? The Rec Specs. I wore them as a kid. He and Horace Grant helped me avoid getting bullied for it. Respect the Specs; 4. Corn on the Cob. If you’re the kind of person who uses a knife to cut the corn off the cob … you’re a serial killer. Stop doing that; 5. Ben Stiller. To this day, the two hardest laughs I’ve ever had  in a movie theater were #1) There’s Something About Mary when his nuts are caught in the zipper.  #2) There’s Something About Mary when he opens the door with the load on his ear; 6. Westminster. The dog show? Makes me think of Fred Willard doing shi tzuh jokes. The Abbey? Never been, sounds boring.  Westminster CA? Top notch donuts, great vietnamese food, and that’s it; 7. Yahoo.  Remember when we used to “Yahoo” things? It’s like the MySpace of search engines. I don’t like their obnoxious hillbilly jingle. I bet the guy who recorded that jingle is on a yacht right now. Screw Yoooooo-ooooo-huuuue!! 8. General Hospital. It’s like the Spurs of soaps. Long running, respected, can’t be killed. Susan Lucci is Tim Duncan; 9. Eddie The Eagle? Hold on. Let me Google. … A British skier? I was thinking this was going to be some Division I-AA mascot from a school that you like, Pearlman.  But then, you would never include something just because you’re really into it. Oh wait a second … 10. Shannon Hoon.  FINALLY. How the hell did we get this far without a mention of The Melon? My life can be broken into two halves.  The first half, when I thought the only Blind Melon song that anyone knew was “No Rain.” And the second half, when I met Jeff Pearlman. Maybe I sell the band short? Maybe I should spend more time with their music? I don’t know . All I can say is that my life is pretty plain; 11. Felipe Lopez. Back to Google. No, wait. I’m going to “Yahoo” Felipe Lopez … St. John’s hoops. Got the SI cover. Played through 1998. Dude, all i remember about the 97-98 season was watching from the stands as Antawn Jamison, Vince Carter and the Tarheels came to Princeton University and dunked all over some 6-foot-1 Economics major; 12. Tonya Cooley.  I actually know someone who has done soft core porn. That’s pretty cool. Yahoo that. In fact, I LIVED with someone who has done soft core porn. That’s pretty cool; 13. Black-ish. I like Anthony Anderson. I love that they convinced ABC to let them call the show this. I will never watch it. I think almost all scripted comedies are Crap-ish

• The world needs to know—what was it like working with Kristian Alfonso?: She’s disarmingly nice. And she is a modern master of crying on camera. I once heard a legend about Kristian … that she can shed a tear down her left cheek, or right cheek, depending on which makes for a better shot.  An ambidextrous crier.  When I’d have emotional scenes, I’d just squint my eyes really hard and think about my family dying. I ended up looking like I was lifting something really heavy.

• We give Kyle Brandt, circa 2000, 20 carries for the New York Giants against the Dallas Cowboys. What’s your stat line?: To hell with that. If we’re making up magic football games, I’m not running behind the Giants. I want to run behind the Cowboys. But let me clarity. 2000-Me with the 2000-Cowboys? They were horrible. Emmitt barely averaged four yards per carry. I think I might get injured before the 20 carries.

But put 2000-Me behind that old Jeff Pearlman Boys Will Be Boys offensive line? Now you’ve got something. If 2000-Me was running behind 1992 Larry Allen and Mark Tuinei? I’ll get you 104 yards and a Touchdown. That’s 18 fantasy points. Then again, 2015-Me could probably get 80 yards behind that line.

Of course, all of this is contingent upon me not getting stabbed with scissors by The Playmaker during my pregame haircut.

• Three memories from appearing in a 2003 Right Guard commercial?: 1. It was my first paid acting job. I played the part of “odor.” I got hired because I went the extra mile. For my part, they were looking for an arrogant jock douchebag, like a 2003 version of William Zabka. For the audition we were supposed to stare right into the camera and look like a  dick. I decided to ad-lib and say, “Yeah I called you a little bitch. What are you going to do about it? That’s what I thought.” They loved that. I went full Zabka; 2. The director of that commercial, Rawson Marshall Thurber. Not only does he have one hell of a name, but he went on to direct the Ben Stiller Dodgeball movie. So he is the go-to Hollywood director for all dodgeball-based projects; 3. Jim Breuer was awesome. He walked around the gym the entire time singing Metallica songs in a perfect James Hetfield impression. I loved him; 4. (bonus)  Randy Johnson. We were told before he arrived on set not to talk to him, not to ask for autographs or whatever. As if I had brought my Diamonbacks cap with me to the shoot.  He was also the worst actor you could possibly imagine. Remember how I said acting was hard? Well, 71-year old Robert De Niro would have more success as a starting pitcher right now than The Big Unit would have as an actor. By far. He actually had a line. After he pegs the shit out of us with dodgeballs, Jim Breuer goes, “Well that was fun.” And then Randy was supposed to say, “I had a ball!” Get it? Really clever little play on words. But he couldn’t handle it. They gave him 15 takes. With coaching and directing between each one. It was as if he was doing like a bizarre James Earl Jones impression. Drunk Darth Vader. It was so bad, so stiff, that they cut it completely from the commercial. I can’t even imagine how much money they paid him, and he doesn’t even speak.

• I will trade you my (nonexistent) head of hair, $200,000 and my entire Hall & Oates catalogue for your head of hair. You in?: Hell no. First of all, I already have the H&O catalogue. It makes my dreams come true. My wife and I listen to Darry and John all the time. Not even kidding. It’s pop perfection. But all I’d be getting from you is whatever average B-sides and pretentious vinyl you’ve collected. I love those dudes, Jeff. But I don’t want an autographed copy of “Whole Oats” and I don’t need “Private Eyes” on cassette.  Another key factor—I have a massive head. You know bald is supposed to be cool now? Like, shave your  head and you’re Jason Statham? Not me. My head size is bigger than some men’s waist size. No sale.

• Celine Dion will pay you $20 million for one night of romance. You also have to wear a leash and call her, “Mistress Bobby Bonilla.” You in?: Are you shitting me? For 20 million? Of course. My heart will go on. Dude, for 40 million … I’d have a night of romance with Bobby Bonilla and call him Mister Celine Dion. I’m in. (Important Note! I would not have relations with anyone other than my wife, for all the money in the world.)

• What happens after we die?: Not a damn thing. I’m so jealous of people who believe in Heaven. I would love to believe I’m going to drop dead … open my eyes … and I’m 13-years old again. Christie Brinkley from Vacation wants to go play Nintendo with me while I eat deep dish and drink root beer. That would be Heaven. But I think everything just goes to black and we start to rot.

• Five reasons one should make Hinsdale his/her next vacation destination?: Easy. 1. Jim Thome; 2. Bobby Thigpen; 3. Dizzy Reed; 4. Bill Rancic; 5. Morris the Cat. All born in Hinsdale. That’s more than 600 home runs, more than 200 saves, the sixth most important Guns N Roses member, an Apprentice winner, and a cat food mascot. Scoreboard.

  • Cd1515

    I’ve never Yahoo’d anything (or even heard that term before) but this guy seemed cool and interesting.
    Another great find, Jeff.
    well done.

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Once again, Jeff Pearlman has produced an exhaustively researched, elegantly written book that re-creates one of the most colorful and memorable teams of the modern era. No basketball fan's bookshelf will be complete without it.

— Seth Davis, author of Wooden: A Coach's Life