The 5 Most Hilariously Awkward Press Conferences Ever
Being a reporter must be an awful job. If you're doing live interviews, all of your mistakes are captured forever on tape for the endless enjoyment of people like me. I can spend all day watching clips like this one, in which a guy is trying to report on a fire, only to have some crazy redneck pop up behind him, demand he get off his land, and calmly say "fuck" into the camera, using the voice of a 1950s superhero.
But nothing provides more opportunities for live TV awkwardness than sports interviews. The combination of Type A egomaniac jocks and reporters asking unfathomably dumb questions creates moments of cringe-worthy magic that you just can't take your eyes off of.
Bobby Knight Can See the Future!
Let me get something out of the way: Bobby Knight, legendary former coach of the Indiana Hoosiers, is a piece of shit. He's never made an effort to hide that fact, and in many ways, he wears it like a badge of honor. In that respect, fuck Bobby Knight. BUT ...
He does have moments where his pitch black evil can be used for priceless entertainment. In the above video, he was asked what he thought one of his players, Damon Bailey, would look like next year. He started to respond with his normal asshole tone, pointing out that there is no way he could possibly know that without waiting to see him play next year. But in the middle, he interrupted himself and any other questions to grab a drinking glass, turn it upside down, and start rubbing it like a genie's lamp.
"Stop! You're summoning a massive dickhead!"
And he didn't just do it quickly, making his point and moving on. No, he continued doing it for about a minute, just rubbing the piss out of that thing and pausing to gaze into it as if he were reading the future. "I see ... I see Bailey ... the image is fading ..." On and on, he jammed the joke clear into the core of the Earth until even polite laughter wasn't an option anymore, finally ending it with "I see Bailey ... being better." Ah, great. Sarcastic point made. Good show, old chap.
But then the same guy asked his follow-up question: "Do you see him being the playmaker for next year's team?" Every reporter in the room erupts with laughter as Knight's eyes roll up into his head and he reaches for the cup again. Same deal, only this time he ends with "Wait a minute, there's something forming here ... forming. It says ... 'What a shitty question.'"
Tony Stewart Is an Amazing Smartass
For those of you (like me) who couldn't give the most tepid of flickering fucks about racing, that's Tony Stewart -- one of the most sarcastic dickheads in the history of the sport. He publicly mocks the announcers for making things up and blatantly calls them (and many other drivers) stupid. He's also been known to intentionally wreck other drivers as payback for ... well, whatever happens to be pissing him off in that particular moment. But don't let me paint him as a supervillain, because it's a lot more common than you'd think.
To really get how funny that video is, though, you have to understand the background. In 2011, Stewart won the Sylvania 300 in New Hampshire when the guy in front of him ran out of gas with only two laps to go. As weird as it sounds to us "fuck racing" people, it's another thing that's pretty common -- it happened to Stewart the year before in a reverse situation with the exact same driver. In the embedded video, they talk about that parallel quite openly, because, hey, who wouldn't? It's one of those "Did you know Lincoln's secretary was named Kennedy?" moments that you just have to call attention to.
That's Stewart, taking first place as the yellow car winds down like a limp dick.
So when they opened up the press box for questions, the first one came from a guy who 1) obviously didn't pay attention to or even watch the race and 2) didn't pay attention to a single second of the press conference he was attending. He asked Stewart about how he knew it was time to make his move in order to take the lead and what strategy and technique he used to pull it off. Without batting an eye, Stewart said in a straight-man, monotone voice:
"I planned it for 280-some-odd laps. I knew he was going to run out of fuel right at that moment, and as opposed to just driving through him and running over him, it just seemed like it may have been an easier option just to turn left and drive around him. So I guess that was my strategy all along. I knew kinda that's what we were going to do, I just had to wait for that opportunity."
Jim Calhoun Gets Real on That Ass
This one isn't funny, but it's extremely satisfying when you understand what's going on. The guy in the video is Jim Calhoun, a Basketball Hall of Fame college coach with a list of credentials that makes most other college coaches look like drooling dumbasses in jean shorts flailing around on a playground court. At the time, he was coaching at the University of Connecticut, so he was considered a state employee ... one of the highest-paid state employees at that, exactly when Connecticut was going through some pretty bad budget problems. The guy asking the questions is Ken Krayeske, an extreme left liberal activist who had a huge hard-on for anything controversial. The guy would fuck a pig into bacon strips if he thought it would promote his agenda.
Krayeske asks right off the bat about his salary, to which Calhoun interrupts, "Not a dime back." He is referring to a request from the governor for state employees to give some of their salary back in order to help cut the state's deficit. Because that's totally logical and not at all stupid. The coach follows it up with an extremely dumb comment about wanting to be able to retire someday, and you are perfectly within your rights to want to punch his face completely off of his rich, entitled fucking head for that. But we can't let that cloud what happens next, because it is a thing of beauty.
"Let me tell you a little Dunkin' about Donuts, kid ..."
Krayeske asks him, "What's the deal with Comcast worth?" to which Calhoun replies, "You're not really that stupid, are you?" No huge story there -- he had a side commercial deal with Comcast, and he was pretty vocal about not disclosing how much he made with them. This part of the video is important because it's when he realized what he was dealing with: an obviously planned confrontation from an activist blogger who wanted to impose on him how to distribute his wealth and spend his money. Because to people like Krayeske, managing other people's money is extremely easy.
And then comes my favorite part of the video. When the coach starts reaming him for being a douche, Krayeske says, "If these guys covered this stuff, I wouldn't have to." The whole room erupts in groans and one very audible "Oh, give us a break," followed by Calhoun hitting his breaking point:
"Quite frankly, we bring in 12 million to the university. Nothing to do with state funds. We make $12 million a year for this university. Get some facts and come back and see me. Don't throw out salaries and other things; get some facts and come back and see me. We turn over over $12 million to the University of Connecticut, which is state-run. Next question."
Is Les Miles Fake Relaxing?
There is no big background story here. This one is just a straight-up stupid fucking question:
"Coach, all week you've seemed really relaxed. I'm wondering how much of that was actually true, real relaxation -- how'd you sleep last night? I mean, give us a sense of what you actually went through this week."
And with that, LSU coach Les Miles had the only reaction a normal, sane human could have. He burst out laughing and said, "That is not even relevant" in the same tone you use when saying, "What the fuck are you talking about?" He continued, "Who cares? I didn't sleep worth a dang all week. Then last night, I slept pretty good -- hell, I was exhausted." Then a long pause as he desperately looks around for literally anyone else to talk to, followed by a response in the style of mock pleasant conversation, "It was a nice hotel we stayed in. It was in Birmingham. It was really ... I'll tell you about it."
"Sorry, I'm waiting for Ashton Kutcher to come out and tell me I just got punked. He still does that, right?"
This was one of those instances where I was positive someone had just sent an intern in their place because they had a haircut scheduled at the same time as that interview. Or maybe it was a Weekend at Bernie's situation where the real reporter was dead and being flopped around by a couple of college kids, fooling everyone into thinking he was alive. "Shit, ask a question before they notice something's up!" "Um ... were you just pretending to be relaxed yesterday? Do you ever wish that people would just love you for you?"
The only other reaction I could picture happening there is the coach staring at the reporter in straight-faced silence. The taint of seething hatred building up in his gut. Then without saying a word, forcefully spitting in the guy's face and just staring at him until he leaves. Then continuing on like nothing happened.
Steve Spurrier Moves the Whole Fucking Press Meet
OK, let's get this part over with: Steve Spurrier is the coach of the South Carolina Gamecocks. Give yourself a few minutes to get it out of your system.
Alright, now that that's all out of the w- no? Christ. Well, I'm going anyway. Spurrier had a problem with a writer named Ron Morris who, according to him, wrote blatantly false stories about his football program in the newspaper The State. For people outside of South Carolina, the whole story was a dumb, meaningless drama, the details of which aren't even worth repeating. For the sake of excitement, we'll just assume that he was writing gay porn fan fiction about them or something. But whatever the articles actually were, Spurrier took exception to them, and if his allegations were true, he had every right to be pissed.
So in the video, he starts out by pacing and saying he has something he needs to get off his chest. Ladies, let me take a second to say that if you are around a man who's doing that, it typically means bad shit is about to happen. If it happens in a bar, it means you should go ahead and start dialing 911, because before you finish, he's going to have a pool cue in his hand and think he's in the movie Road House.
"I thought you'd be bigger."
Spurrier proceeds to relay a story of how, in his 26-year history of being a head coach, he had only encountered two reporters (and points to Morris, who I'm assuming is both of the people he's talking about) who he's had to disassociate himself from because of fabricated stories. And since Ron Morris sits in on all of those press conferences, by taking part in them himself, the coach is contributing to Morris writing more negative things about him and the football program. Like calling them fat or whatever. And then the ultimate slap in the face happens ...
Steve Spurrier can't just kick out a member of the press from a conference like that. Morris has a right to be there because he has credentials and because the law protects against that sort of shit. But what Spurrier can do is move the entire fucking interview into another room where Ron Morris isn't invited, leaving him sitting there like a dumbass, waiting for any scrap of information to seep out through the crack under the door. He can also refuse to answer any question from any reporter at all if Ron Morris is in the room. And that's exactly what he did.
"We're going in there, and don't tell Morris the password. He can start his own club called the Stupidheads."