Since there’s no football game this weekend and ESPN can’t be bothered to care about college basketball, or any NBA basketball that doesn’t feature Kobe or Lebron, or hockey, they’re dedicating this week to a celebration of the tenth anniversary of Mike and Mike in the Morning, which is only appropriate. You see, Mike and Mike are the most annoying, self-centered, navel-gazing radio showsters in the history of the medium. I grant you that they suck in myriad other capacities as well, but the average hour of Mike and Mike breaks down like this:
75% - Commercials. These are, ironically, the most entertaining part of any Mike and Mike show, especially if you live in Chicago. My two favorites?
1. Scott Peterson Meats – This is an ad for a butcher shop. You’ve probably already noticed that the proprietor of this butcher shop has the same name as a guy who was convicted of killing his pregnant wife Laci Peterson a few years back, and currently sits on Death Row in San Quentin. There is also a high-profile suspected murderer in the Chicago area named Drew Peterson, a former police officer who probably killed his 3rd and 4th wives. The commercial for the butcher shop is very sweet and sentimental, and attempts to make you nostalgic for Scott Peterson Meats, which has apparently been around for some time. Perhaps this would have worked for Scott Peterson the used car salesman, or Scott Peterson the tax preparer. Scott Peterson the butcher should probably change either his name or his profession.
2. Kars 4 Kids – Certainly on the short list for most irritating commercials of all time, the Kars 4 Kids ad starts with a kid, maybe 8 or 9 years old based on the voice, singing an annoying song. Then, the kid stops singing, and some dude sings the same verse. This is where it gets vaguely creepy. First of all, at no point during the Kars 4 Kids add do they specify exactly how donating your kar will help kids. They do not specify if the kids they are trying to help suffer from some sort of malady. All they tell you is that they are a “recognized 501(c)3 organization” and can get you a “maximum tax deduction” and a “free vacation voucher”. It’s almost as if some cynical bastard decided to see if suckers would donate money “for the children” even if you never told them anything other than it was for the children.
But let’s get back to the male singer. This guy isn’t quite right. His singing is overly earnest, like he’s trying out to be a children’s TV show host, but he’s not a good singer. He has trouble hitting a few notes and his timing is off. He also sounds like he’s enjoying himself a little too much. I think he’s probably a pedophile, just like Brad Childress. In fact, I think he set up the whole charity himself just so people would trust him around children.
“What do you do?”
“I run a charity for children. We’re a recognized 501(c)3 organization!”
“Oh, how noble! This is my son Jimmy. Maybe the two of you would like to sing together?”
And so on.
The third verse is a duet of the kid and the creepy adult. It totally has a weird vibe. Maybe I’ve spent too much time thinking about this, but that’s what Mike and Mike do to your brain. Incidentally, I’ve mentioned this ad to other people I know and they agree with the pedophile theory, so it isn’t just me.
22% - Mike or Mike talking about how humble/honored they are to be included in something vaguely sports related, or possibly entertainment related. Examples include being on Letterman, attending a stupid awards show, meeting some celebrity, meeting a politician, meeting the Jonas Brothers, going to a movie premiere, or simply being on-site somewhere that isn’t Bristol.
Greenberg – And who walks in but (marginally famous person) and (marginally famous person) just couldn’t have been nicer. Just a class act, I mean you hear about so many celebrities being (some kind of unapproachable), but (marginally famous celebrity) just seems like a regular guy.
Golic – You know he really does. And we couldn’t have been more proud to be at (somewhere sort of impressive) this weekend. Greeny of course (describes something unmanly/embarrassing that Greenberg did), but still, an honor.
Greenberg – (Acts proud of wussy/embarrassing behavior)
Me – zzzzzzzz Ah! I’m driving!
1% - Talking about how some pitcher doesn’t have enough wins.
.5% - talking about how some quarterback hasn’t won enough Super Bowls
.5% - Talking about the Jets.
Greenberg is a fan of the Jets and Yankees, which just adds to his whiny, annoying nature. During football season the Mikes “cover” the Jets about 100,000 times more than they “cover” every other team. As the Jets are generally pretty bad, this isn’t the best strategy for entertaining morning radio. There are also brief spells where Golic discusses Notre Dame, but he’s embarrassed enough that this has basically stopped.
.25% - Badly conceived song parodies/comedy skits, poorly edited and poorly performed by fake British interns.
Here are some bad things about the average Mike and Mike song parody:
1. The two guys who perform the parodies can’t sing. At all. It’s like listening to myself sing, and I can do that at home.
2. A “parody” should attempt to display the absurdity of the subject of the parody through careful, clever, one-off referential humor, or through use of reductio ad absurdum. What we get from Mike and Mike is a popular song with different words that almost, but don’t quite fit, and have nothing to do with the chosen song. You know that movie series of “Date Movie” and “Disaster Movie” and all the other “X Movies”? They’re not really parodies, they just throw a bunch of pop culture at you and you’re supposed to think it’s funny simply because it’s there. Mike and Mike parodies are the functional equivalent of those movies.
3. They tend to be fairly long, which can eat into entertaining commercial time.
4. Example – Tim Kurkjian’s intro music. It’s to the tune of “Like a Virgin,” for no other reason than Kurkjian almost rhymes with Virgin. Topical too.
.1% - Effusively praising said horrible song parody/comedy skit.
.1% - Discussing the nicknames of their staff. These brilliant nicknames include “Liam and Joaquin”, the aforementioned fake British interns, “Stats”, who does not appear to actually know anything about stats as is evidenced by his participation in the show, and someone called “The Gnome” who is apparently quite short and it’s OK to make fun of short people, as we all know.
.1% - Dick Vitale screaming “stock-up stock-down” over and over and over.
.1% - Mike Ditka sounding like the dumbest person in the world.
.1% - Peter Gammons getting one step closer to leaving ESPN.
.1% - Chris Mortenson reporting something that Jay Glazer found out.
.1% - Mark Schlereth talking about his job on a soap opera.
.5% - Greenberg’s terrible, awful, moronic pre-commercial teases. Examples:
1. Coming up, one of the greatest players in NFL history is actually a horse. We’ll talk about that, plus Peter Gammons, when we come back.
2. Coming up, Lebron James can never wear socks again. We’ll tell you why after Sportscenter.
3. Coming up after the break, a certain NFL coach has something in common with Bing Crosby. We’ll tell you what in one minute.
4. Coming up, two famous baseball players both suffer from diphtheria. We’ll tell you about it in one.
There are some minor exceptions to this format. On Friday the Mikes spend some time screaming bad football predictions at you while a poorly produced comedy sketch plays too loudly in the background. During March Madness they spend all of the non-commercial time discussing which 3 #1 seeds and 1 #2 seed they will put in the final four on their brackets. This goes on for about 2 months. There are brief moments when Golic will excuse someone’s steroid use. Other than that, they stick to the format.
Ten years of that. And this show is apparently quite popular. They simulcast it on ESPN 2, because the only thing more boring than listening to them is watching them. But the existence, and popularity, and terribleness of Mike and Mike allows us to draw a few conclusions:
1. It shows that most sports fans are far more interested in celebrity than in actual sport. Mike and Mike is closer to TMZ than it is to anything else. It’s completely focused on the non-sports aspects of sports. Tiger’s affairs, what athletes do in their personal lives (they’re just like us!), etc. It’s a less creative Deadspin without all the dirty words.
2. It shows that the lowest common denominator is still alive and well.
3. It shows that most fans still believe in and care about bad sports stats and are unwilling to learn anything new. Radio hosts talk about “wins” because people want to hear them talk about “wins”
4. It shows the effects of the nationalization of broadcast radio and emphasizes the value of niche stations provided by satellite and the internet.
Mike and Mike are dumb. They’re clean to a fault. There is no edge. There is no insight. There is no desire to learn more about the sports they allegedly cover. They’re a big Jay Leno monologue. They’re “According to Jim.”
And they’ll probably be on for another decade.
When people pick harbingers for the end of civilization as we know it, they tend to focus on rampant promiscuity, or a decline in educational standards, or “too much darn TV”, or not enough church. Things like that. I find the popularity of things like Mike and Mike in the Morning far more disturbing.
2 hours ago