Artie Lange Terrorizes Joe Buck on “Joe Buck Live” Debut

In Uncategorized on June 16, 2009 at 1:56 pm
Go crazy Joe, go crazy!

Go crazy Joe, go crazy!

Last night marked the first – and possibly the last – episode of Joe Buck’s new HBO sports/comedy/talk show, Joe Buck Live.

Now, I’m going to go out on a limb here – I actually like Joe Buck. A lot of people don’t, I realize that. They think he’s pretentious, overly moralizing, and tire quickly of his penchant for dry humor.  But I’ve never had a problem with him. While certainly not a legend like his father, I think Buck is a pretty good broadcaster, especially for baseball. He’s just been saddled with the unfortunate burden of having Tim McCarver as a partner in the booth. And, while opinions may be split on Buck, I’m pretty sure no one in the world likes McCarver. So, I’m convinced that a lot of people – especially Red Sox fans – think they hate Joe Buck because they lump him right in with McCarver, unable to distinguish between a solid announcer and a vicious Yankee cheerleader. Hey, it’s not Buck’s fault that he comes to work every day with a giant, McCarver-shaped albatross around his neck.

Anyway, Buck has this new show on HBO which the network has been hyping for a while now, and the debut episode – of what turns out to be a weird, four-show-a-year arc – was last night. The big guest was supposed to be Brett Favre and his “Will I or won’t I play?” routine, and his interview led off the show (after Buck’s ill-fated introductory monologue during which he swayed back and forth like a drunken sailor). The Favre piece was decent, and the subsequent David Wright interview-over-lunch segment was interesting. Michael Irvin and Chad Ochocinco then made a fairly awkward appearance and, with one series of interviews left to go, it looked like the debut  would end as a relatively bland talk show with flashes of potential.

Little did we (or Buck) know what was coming next.

Artie looking slimmer than usual

Artie looking slimmer than usual

Buck soon rolled out the final guests – Paul Rudd, Jason Sudeikis (the guy who plays Joe Biden on SNL), and Belushi-wannabe Artie Lange (drugs and weight problem – check; comedic genius, not so much)  – and the show seemed like it was winding down. Almost immediately, Lange took over and the show started careening out of control as Joe Buck looked on in wide-eyed horror. Dropping F bombs and slinging offensive barbs, Lange quickly made everyone else in the room wildly uncomfortable. He took no prisoners, tossing shots at Buck, Michael Irvin and Tony Romo. Even nice-guy Sudeikis was hit with a couple one-liners – at one point Artie reminded him that he makes $80,000 a week on the Howard Stern Show while Sudeikis  picks up “$11 an hour on SNL.” It made for riveting, albeit cringe-worthy, television and even I have to admit, seeing Mr. Smooth Joe Buck completely rattled was pretty funny. I thought Artie came off as more of a jerk than anything else, though many around the interweb are praising his performance today. Mostly Stern fans, I assume. I actually like Artie usually – he was great in Beer League – and he probably just thought of last night as a chance for some easy publicity. My guess is that Joe Buck Live will reach a different demographic than Lange’s work on the Stern show, and he decided to use Buck’s platform to advance his own career. (I use the terms “advance” and “career” lightly).

Only time will tell whether this little stunt helps or hurts Joe Buck Live, or even Joe Buck’s Life, for that matter. Controversy generally equals ratings in this day and age and you have to think that little fact was on the mind of HBO exec’s when they decided to book Artie on a sports show in the first place. If Artie hadn’t shown up, would anyone be talking about the show today for any reason other than to say how boring it was? Probably not.

Anyway, I won’t post the link to the Artie-Buck segment here in the interest of not offending certain factions of my readership, but it’s there in all its glory on YouTube if you feel so inclined.

Just don’t blame me if you wind up walking around for the rest of the day wearing a version of the Joe Buck Face (see above).


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