Fantasy Football guy talks (and talks and talks) about his show appearance

Discussion in 'The Howard Stern Show' started by nearly.normal, Aug 9, 2013.

  1. nearly.normal

    nearly.normal Well-Known Member

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    [​IMG]


    On Love, Hate and Howard Stern


    Posted on August 9, 2013 by admin

    Howard Stern did the impossible.


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    For anyone who has followed the King of All Media’s career closely, as I have for more than two decades, that shouldn’t be a shock. He has consistently done the impossible. But even for me, as big and as huge a fan of his as I am, I was impressed and surprised he accomplished it because I didn’t think anyone could.


    But let’s hold that thought. And let’s back up to a few weeks ago. I was on the phone with Gary Dell’Abate, known as “Baba Booey†to millions of fans, the longtime executive producer of SiriusXM’s “The Howard Stern Show.†He’s also been a friend of mine for a number of years, ever since we did a fantasy football event together a while back.


    “So,†I say to him. “I wrote this book …†I’m a little nervous. Like any author, I’d love to be on Howard’s show to pitch the book, but more importantly, I know this might be my only shot to be on his show. A show I’ve loved for more than 20 years. The thing about Howard is there’s no such thing as a casual Howard Stern fan. If you’re a Stern fan, you’re a hard-core fan. He inspires that kind of passion, and I’m among the many millions who count themselves as faithful.


    So getting on the show would be a total bucket list moment for me in many ways. I have a book publicist who pitches me for most of my media appearances, but given my friendship with Gary, I thought that would be weird for him to get a call about me from someone who isn’t me. So I picked up the phone, trying to ignore how awkward I felt, and made the call myself.
    ‘Fantasy Life – The Outrageous, Uplifting, and Heartbreaking World of Fantasy Sports from the Guy Who’s Lived It’

    [​IMG]

    Between celebrating every aspect of fantasy — the trash talk, the trophies, the insane draft day locations, the punishments, the clever attempts at cheating and surprisingly uplifting stories — Matthew Berry chronicles his journey from a 14-year-old player to ESPN’s senior fantasy analyst.


    To order or for book tour dates, see the “Fantasy Life†website.



    I apologize for putting him in the position, but Gary, bless him, quickly puts me at ease. “Hey, I wrote a book, I get it. I hear pitches all the time, no worries, let me hear what you got.†So I tell him about “Fantasy Life.†I know Howard isn’t a huge sports fan, I say, but the book is all about the craziest and best parts of fantasy. You don’t have to be a sports fan to know that a guy losing a fantasy league and being forced to get a Justin Bieber tattoo is funny. Like all of my columns, the book also mixes in stories from my life, and I know Howard enjoys Hollywood gossip, so I tell him the expanded story of what happened when I co-wrote “Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles†and the ensuing drama with Paul Hogan. It’s the best thing I’ve ever written, I tell him; it’s getting great reviews, and it even made the best-seller list. I am self-promoting like never before (and that’s saying something), hoping something, anything will resonate.


    Gary says, “I’ll be honest with you. It’s a long shot.†He explains what I already know as a longtime fan. That Howard isn’t really a sports fan and doesn’t play fantasy sports. In addition, there are only so many shows in the summer, and they’ve already booked a number of big-name stars. Even if he’s into it, they don’t even have many open slots, period. But, Gary says, he knows a lot of Howard’s audience plays fantasy football, and he personally likes the idea, so they’ll discuss.


    I knew it was a long shot when I made the call, but a long shot is still better than no shot, and I thank him for even considering it. I then pick his brain on his experiences when he was out doing his book, and as always, he is gracious with his time and advice.


    As I hang up and start hoping, I quickly dismiss it, thinking there is no way it will happen. And maybe it’s better this way. It’s hard to put into words what Howard means to me. Howard was different. As a human being, I mean. Awkward as a kid, awkward as an adult, and he admitted everything, flaws and all, to his huge audience every day. Like many others, I found humor and solace in that. And admired the hell out of his guts and ability to communicate that in a wildly entertaining way that made you understand and root for him, to embrace his outsider status and find solidarity in it.


    Before you non-fans roll your eyes right out of your head, understand that even if you are not a fan of his edgy brand of humor, he is an unbelievably smart businessman and a pioneer. The number of things that he created or was the first to accomplish is staggering and too long to list here, but one thing that often gets overlooked about Howard is that he redefined what it meant to be a morning DJ. Before the books, movie, TV shows, celebrity friends and huge national radio show, he was, like thousands of others, just a local morning DJ. Playing songs, introducing traffic and weather, reacting to the day’s news. A morning DJ. There are thousands of them all across America and the world.


    But Howard said, I don’t care what everyone else says a morning DJ is supposed to be, I’m gonna do it how I want. And the way Howard did it was, among other things, being totally honest and making everything he could all about himself. Brilliantly.


    You ever see the movie “Private Parts� Based on Howard’s best-selling book of the same name, there’s a scene where the disbelieving program director, “Pig Vomit,†is being told by a researcher that Howard Stern has hit No. 1 in the ratings.


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  2. nearly.normal

    nearly.normal Well-Known Member

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    RESEARCHER: The average radio listener listens for 18 minutes. The average Howard Stern fan listens for — are you ready for this? — an hour and 20 minutes.
    PIG VOMIT: How can that be?
    RESEARCHER: Answer most commonly given? “I want to see what he’ll say next.”
    PIG VOMIT: OK, fine. But what about the people who hate Stern?
    RESEARCHER: Good point. The average Stern hater listens for two and a half hours a day.
    PIG VOMIT: But … if they hate him, why do they listen?
    RESEARCHER: Most common answer? “I want to see what he’ll say next.”


    I thought there were a lot of lessons in that little scene. When I was starting out in the fantasy sports industry, I quickly realized I was different from everyone else, a theme that had resonated throughout my life. I’ve always been different from everyone else. Sometimes in a good way, sometimes in a painful way, but always, consistently, never failing … I was different. If you’ve ever read me before, you know that, and if you never have, well, we’re 1,000 words into a fantasy football article and I have yet to talk about a player, so it should be hitting you any minute now.
    And people don’t always react favorably to different.


    Howard’s bravery to be his own man, to stick to his convictions of how he thought radio should be done, to keep plowing on in the face of criticism or bosses who didn’t understand him inspired me. I was a 35-year-old screenwriter who was miserable, and the thing that made me happiest was my dumb little fantasy sports websites I had started. I wanted to chase happiness by trying to make a full-time living at fantasy sports at a time when only a few people actually did that.


    Howard’s journey gave me the confidence to hang tough, as I heard “no” a lot, and others in the fantasy sports industry even questioned my sanity as I started down my own path. I had no idea whether I had the talent, the appeal, the luck, the ability and everything else that goes into making it full time in this or any other industry. And in the dark places of my mind, the small crevices of my psyche that I held tight and never let anyone see, my honest feeling was … no way.


    Other people had been in the business longer, had more of a track record, had more of a head start. I’m a decent writer, and I had some solid predictions. That was pretty much it. It couldn’t possibly be enough to make a full-time living at this … could it? And when I would lie awake at night and doubt myself, I would cling to the thought of “Well, Howard did it.”


    So yeah, I’m not just a fan of Howard Stern the entertainer. The entirety of his story means a great deal to me. His influence on me is significant. Which is why I flipped out when I got the email from Gary.
    “You’re on with Howard. July 30th, 7 a.m. Will be in touch soon with details.”
    ARE. YOU. FREAKING. SERIOUS?????


    I didn’t tell anyone for two days. I didn’t believe it was real. I thought for sure I was going to get bumped or Howard would wake up and be like “Wait? We’re having a fantasy football guy on? Scratch that.”
    But no, apparently Howard was into it. He thought my show-business-to-fantasy-sports story was interesting, he wanted to hear dish on Paul Hogan and the cast of “Married… With Children” and he couldn’t believe what was going on with the guys who work on his show. I’m in a league with Gary, Jon Hein, Jason Kaplan, Will Murray, JD Harmeyer, Steve Brandano, Scott Salem, Ben Barto and David Heydt, all members of the Stern show and many of them well-known to listeners. There’s lots of infighting among us, so Howard wanted to hear more about that.


    The day of the show I am probably as nervous as I have ever been before an on-air appearance. I’ve been on live national TV in front of millions of people; I’ve done radio in various forms since I was 14 years old; I’ve had 45-second hits that would determine my future (or lack thereof) at ESPN. All nerve-racking, yet none of them compared to what I feel as I approach the SiriusXM building at 6:45 a.m. that Tuesday with Ronnie Mund, Howard’s head of security and driver, standing there with the door open, ready to take me up. I shake hands with Ronnie and I’m like … Holy crap, this is really happening.


    Obviously, I’m nervous because the platform of the show is huge. I’m nervous because although Howard’s unpredictable nature is what makes him great to listen to, it also makes you nervous when you realize you’ll be sitting across from him. I have such tremendous respect for him and the show, I don’t want to be a bad guest. I know that for me to get on the show, Gary, Jason, Will and Jon had to go to bat for me in a big way, so I don’t want to make them look bad. So I’m nervous about all that.
    But I’m probably most nervous about meeting him. I’ve listened to this man for more than two decades. I have built him up in my mind to a standard that is unfair to hold anyone to. Thanks to my careers in Hollywood and at ESPN, I’ve met a lot of athletes and celebrities in my life. And not often, but sometimes, I come away disappointed. Because they are rude, or not what they seem, or I catch them on a bad day; there have definitely been times when I have approached someone as a fan and left never wanting to see or hear from that person again.


    I’m thinking about all of that as my wife and I are shown to the green room. I have a green room. Whoa. I find the room is next to a room with the woman who exchanged text messages with Anthony Weiner. Huh. You mean all that paparazzi wasn’t for me? Well, this should be an interesting show.
    Gary is the first to stop by, giving me a few last-minute notes and wishing me well. Jason and Jon stop by to wish me luck. Howard TV (Howard’s terrific on-demand cable channel) interviews me about what I am about to do. I have no idea what I am saying. My palms are basically small lakes with a layer of skin under them.
    I’m brought in, and there he is. He smiles and says hello. The first thing I notice are his eyes. Alert. So intense and alert. But kind. I’m gonna be OK.



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    I was on for 45 minutes, but it seemed like two. It just flew by, and the whole thing was really surreal. Almost as though I wasn’t actually there but watching someone who looked like me talking to Howard. Listening back to it, if you know me, it’s clear I’m nervous at first, speaking a little fast. Despite not knowing anything about fantasy sports, Howard of course asked all the right questions — he’s truly the greatest interviewer of our time — and we covered my Hollywood life, with me telling stories about Paul Hogan and Ed O’Neill. I’ll just say this: I was actually kind to both guys. We got into the dynamics of the show league, with Will trying to throw me under the bus (semideservedly, if I am being honest) and Jason, Gary and JD defending me. At the end, Howard brought in my wife, saying she was way too hot for me. Which, of course, happens to be true. Howard jokingly asked her for her Facebook, which she gave out on the air. She now has more friend requests than actual friends.


    I wish I had been more relaxed during the interview. There are a couple of responses to questions that I wish I had back, hindsight giving me better lines or answers than I had in the moment. Knowing Howard hates self-plugs, I had just wanted to be real and had been overly quiet about the book, but hey, it is a huge audience, so I wish I had mentioned the book a little more. At one point, I brought up the book and he laughed and said, “You have a book? I didn’t know why the hell you were here!”
    But ultimately, it was a blast, and I couldn’t believe I was really there the whole time. And then just like that, it was over. They broke for commercial, I took a picture with him, he took one with my wife and me, and we made small talk for a few moments.
     
  3. nearly.normal

    nearly.normal Well-Known Member

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    And it was then, in a quiet moment, with the lights and microphones off, with other show members moving around preparing for the next segment, that Howard Stern did the impossible.
    He exceeded my impossibly high expectations.


    Like I said, thanks to my different careers (and having a brother who’s a big-time talent manager), I’ve met a ton of celebs and athletes in my time. I’ve had the few minutes of small talk with more than enough to see through the celeb filter and get a decent read on a person.
    As we took photos and talked, Howard was completely and totally present. He was happy with the segment and complimented me on it (whew!), we discussed photography and “America’s Got Talent” and who knows what else, but he was focused on me and my wife in a completely genuine way. Remember, he’s in the middle of working. This is a show, he has just a few minutes to prepare for the next hour of entertaining he has to carry, and yet he’s right there with us.


    People were very kind about the appearance, and a few days later, I got a note at home. From Howard. Thanking me for being on his show. I am sure he sends it to all his guests, but in all the years I’ve been interviewed by every type of show, it’s the first time I have ever gotten a personal note like that. The whole thing, start to finish, was a complete and total class act. I didn’t think it was possible, but I became a bigger Howard fan in those few moments off air than I had been in 20 years.

    Before your fantasy football draft, you spend a long time thinking about everything, but in the moment you have just a few precious seconds before the clock runs out, and you have to make a quick call. Lots of buildup for one brief moment that will ultimately determine how you will feel about your team for the next six months. Which brings us, meandering very slowly, into this year’s edition of Love/Hate. Here’s hoping your quick moments are ones to remember for a lifetime …
     
  4. knu3421

    knu3421 Well-Known Member

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    I'm watching preseason football the whole game they ask twitter questions!! :facepalm:
     
  5. racerx

    racerx New Member

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    whats funny is, everyone think hes still 90s howard.
    celebrities, other hosts, TV execs, etc
     
  6. racerx

    racerx New Member

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    can we get congress to ban this.
    if i wanted to fkn twatter i would. they starting to do this on a lot of shows
     
  7. AGT Blows

    AGT Blows Well-Known Member

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    I saw this earlier today. Can't remember is it was here.
     
  8. Lostronaut

    Lostronaut Well-Known Member

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