It Looks Like ESPN Is Trying To Be More Humorous, And It’s Uncomfortable

  • Eric Goldschein

sportscenter humorYou know in movies, or in life, when somebody at a party is holding court and making jokes and everyone is laughing, and then some guy who feels upstaged butts in and tries his own brand of humor, which fails miserably? And then someone else has to change the subject because the mood in the room is so uncomfortable and you just wish the upstager would go home? That’s kind of how it’s feeling nowadays on the set of “SportsCenter.”

Perhaps thinking they need to compete with the funny guys over at Fox Sports Live — which, if they’ve seen the ratings so far, they should know is ridiculous — there have been a couple of segments over the last couple of days that have us scratching our heads. Because they seem to making jokes, but the jokes are lame, and definitely not in the ESPN wheelhouse.

The first example is this bit from yesterday, in which David Lloyd is booed by a bunch of staffers until he drops his papers, in obvious reference to Johnny Cueto getting jeered and rattled by Pirates fans in Pittsburgh on Tuesday. As pointed out by BI Sports’ Cork Gaines, it seems beneath ESPN. As pointed out by us, it’s not funny:

Then there was this beard bit from today. Because the Red Sox have beards. The only thing that was “SNL” about it was when Kevin kept breaking character, not dissimilar to how Jimmy Fallon used to “act.”

Should ESPN be allowed to have fun? Of course. Am I saying that these things are objectively “not funny”? I won’t sit here and say that I am the arbiter of comedy. But ESPN, you do several things very well, most of them relating to live coverage and presentation. Stick with that. Don’t try to be the class clown — be the valedictorian. You won’t be as popular, sure, but you’ll be the most successful.