Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Tell me something I don't know, HBO. That's what HBO is staying today after one of the most awkward exchanges in television history, SI's Richard Deitsch was on hand to witness the whole thing. Deitsch got to talk with both Joe Buck and HBO President Ross Greenburg, and here were their thoughts....
Buck said after the show that he was aware of Lange's comedy "but I didn't think it would go to that degree. But I don't want it to ruin what I think was a really good show. For whatever happened [with Lange], live is live. There were things said at the end that I am not fan of but people can judge what Artie said however they want."For all that Buck went through last night, he certainly has a calm viewpoint following the venom. Obviously you don't know what you're getting with Lange, but I'm sure that was above and beyond what anyone was imagining beforehand. Lange, on the other hand, is saying that Greenburg told him to go there if Rudd and Sudeikis "were boring", and had some choice words for him on the Stern Show this morning.
Before Lange left the stage, Buck said he asked him, 'Was I good? Was that great?' "That's his M.O.," Buck said. "That's what he believed he was brought here to do. And, you know, he can. He's a guest and it's live TV. At some point short of hitting a trap door, what are you going to do?...He came out and did his thing. I can't blame him for that but I wish it was a notch lower. I was thinking, 'How much longer do we have in the segment?' I thought that spending time on a treadmill felt long, but that [segment] was eight or nine minutes turned into an eternity."
Lange walked off the stage to mostly applause. As he departed the stage, he said, "Waaagggh. I'll never be on here again." Prior to show in talking with a reporter who asked him about throwing out a first pitch at a minor league game in Trenton soon, Lange cracked, "I'm going to be thrown out the first minute here."
HBO Sports president Ross Greenburg said Lange "bordered on bad taste" and had a "mean-spirited" tone. Greenburg said the segment made him uncomfortable at times, but he hoped that the Favre interview (which Buck handled very well) would be the story that carried the day. "This feels like they are not going to be too complementary to his [Lange's] appearance, just judging from the reaction of the crowd. But it really is the public's judgment. Live television is all about risk-reward and we knew who Artie Lange was when he was booked. There was a certain degree of a risk factor where he would go and where he would take us."
While the event was certainly shocking, the best take I've heard on the situation comes from The Big Lead, who posed the question, "If Artie Lange Hadn’t Appeared on Joe Buck’s Show, Would There Be Any Buzz About the Debut?" The answer.....probably not.
Joe Buck, HBO respond to wild Artie Lange appearance (SI)