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Winging It, Vol. 7
VITRIOL KILLED THE RADIO STARS
9.26.01

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PRODUCER: OK, quiet on the set, people. We're at three ... two ... one ... and ...

(applause)

RED CLAD LOON: All right. Welcome to "Politically Incorrect." For those regular viewers of the show who haven't heard yet, Bill Maher is taking a leave of absence. Some think he's also taken a leave of his senses, too, but we won't get into that tonight. As many of you know, Bill's comments about terrorism the other day prompted KLKN-TV in Lincoln to boycott the show. So, in an effort to mend some fences in our nation's 74th largest market, they've asked me to host the program for a few nights.

(applause)

Tonight's topic, it's safe to say, is on everyone's mind all the time these days. The issue strikes at the very fabric of our society and threatens to compromise our way of life. That's right, I'm talking about who should be the play-by-play announcer for the University of Nebraska football team. So, without further ado, let's meet our panelists -- my first guest was the play-by-play man for KFAB from 1984-1995. Today, you can catch him doing commercials for local Ford dealers. Please welcome Kent Pavelka.

(applause)

PAVELKA: Thanks, Loondoggie. And hi again, everybody, and welcome to Nebraska football.

RED CLAD LOON: Also with us tonight is a 33-year veteran of the airwaves -- current announcer Warren Swain. Warren, who has called NU's action since 1996, was named 2001's Nebraska Sportscaster of the Year, believe it or not. I don't THINK that's a typo on the TelePrompter. Come on out here, Warren.

(applause)

SWAIN: It's great to be here, Mr. Duck.

RED CLAD LOON: Er ... (pause) tonight, Warren will be protected from a Pavelka stranglehold by ex-Husker and current Pinnacle color man Adrian Fiala. (applause) Good to see you, big guy. And rounding out our panel is our token conservative, Debbie Schlussel, a right-wing pit bull whose comments actually begin to make sense if you hold your breath long enough. Welcome back to the show, Debbie.

SCHLUSSEL: This is deplorable. Almost as deplorable as Tom Osborne, who has harrassed me because he wants to have sex with me. I am appalled.

RED CLAD LOON: Now, come on, Debbie. We're all friends here --

FIALA: (interrupting) Absolutely, Loon. Hey, before we start, I just want to say a couple things: Tony Fonoti. I get $5 every time I say his name on the air. That's Tony Fonoti. Tony Fonoti.

RED CLAD LOON: OK. So as everybody knows, the Rice game wasn't on TV and a lot of people listened to it on the radio. Many were complaining afterward that they were having trouble following the action. What do you think about this critique of your work, Warren?

SWAIN: Mr. Goose, I just want to say this. I am a terrific play-by-play man. I believe this with all of my heart, and so does my boss Paul Aaron. I think if you ask most folks in Nebraska, they'll tell you that it's true. Just as true as the fact that you're sitting right there on my left. I mean, my right.

PAVELKA: (rolling eyes) Oh, come on. Take off those rose-colored Coke-bottle glasses and smell the coffee, Warren. You're a bargain-discount, corporate yes-man lap dog. Tell me, pal, what's the mascot of the University of Nebraska?

SWAIN: That's easy, Kent. They're the Huskers!

PAVELKA: (pointing) Ha! See? He doesn't even know who he's working for. They're the CORNhuskers, fella. Look it up in something besides your directives from Bill Byrne.

SWAIN: You think you're gonna goad me into an argument? Well, NOTHIN' DOIN'! You know, Kent my boy, you're not exactly --

FIALA: (interrupting) Heyyyyyyy-oooaaaah!

SWAIN: -- Mr. Popular, either, you know.

RED CLAD LOON: I'm sorry ... Adrian? I missed what you were saying there.

FIALA: Oh. Nothing. I just like to interrupt Warren while he's talking, is all. By the way, Tony Fonoti.

SCHLUSSEL: This is going nowhere fast. I just want to say ...

EVERYONE: Oh, SHUT UP!

PAVELKA: Fact is, Swain, you're about as authentic as a three-dollar bill. And it's my belief that the Cornhuskahs need a home-grown announcer to help them make the plays.

SWAIN: What?!?

PAVELKA: It's a fact. They performed better while I was calling the action. Consider -- my last game was the Florida game in Tempe. Remember that blowout? There were a ton "Touchdown! Touchdown! Touchdown!"-s to go around that night. But what did they do the next year in Tempe under your watch? "Safety! Safety! Safety!" Pretty clear to me who these boys want to play for.

SWAIN: I won't even dignify that with a response. That assertion is absolutely INNNNN ---

(long pause)

SWAIN: -- COM-plete!! Why would they play better with a one-sided, excuse-making cheerleader as the play-by-play man? Or did you forget your classic call when Corey Dixon's punt return score was called back against Florida State, Captain Objectivity?

PAVELKA: What was wrong with "Oh my sweet lord, there's a penalty flag back at the 28 ... please, God, don't do this to us" ? That's damned good radio if you ask me. Hey, at least I saw the flag, Mole Man. You wouldn't have caught it at all.

SWAIN: Harrrumph. Yeah, you've never loused up a call before. Who was it again who caught Brook Berringer's touchdown pass in the '95 Orange Bowl?

PAVELKA: Shaw! Matt Shaw! No, wait .. it was Mark Gilman with the ball! Mark GILMAN for the touchdown! ... (grumbles) Hey, what the hell do you know? You aren't even from Nebraska. Didn't you go to Drake or something? Is that where they taught you that ballcarriers are "spun down" instead of tackled?

SWAIN: That's right. Pretty good school. In addition to a pretty good education, I learned to check my ego at crucial points in my career. Like, say, when renegotiating my contract, for example.

PAVELKA: Whaaa? Listen, bub, I'm part of Nebraska football lore. Or am I the only one who notices the similarities between Bob Devaney hand-picking Tom Osborne and Lyell Bremser hand-picking me?

SCHLUSSEL: Frankly, I don't think there's ...

EVERYONE: Oh, SHUT UP!

RED CLAD LOON: OK, OK. Everyone calm down. It's time to take a call. It looks like we've got ... Kelly in Milligan, Neb. Kelly, welcome, you're on the program.

KELLY: Hi. I just want to say that I really don't like either of you guys. In fact, I'm pretty sure I could do a better job. I just might launch a Web site to oust Warren and make sure Kent is barred from ever returning, too.

PAVELKA: Yeah, well, once two guys built a "Bring Back Kent and Gary" Web site. So, there.

RED CLAD LOON: Anyone can have a Web site, Kent. I'm living proof.

KELLY: Oh, and hi, Debbie. Love your column.

SCHLUSSEL: Well, thank you! You sound quite nice -- unlike that sexual predator and bleeding-heart liberal Tom Osborne. I was watching him on C-SPAN the other day and I swear, he was looking RIGHT at my breasts. He's another Gary Condit waiting to ...

EVERYONE: Oh, SHUT UP!

RED CLAD LOON: (rubbing brow) The subject is broadcast media. And now, before we go to a break, we're going to run a famous video clip of a famous play in Husker history. Each guy will call it as if it were happening live. Then we'll let the only non-Husker on our panel -- that's you, Debbie -- decide who's better.

SWAIN: OK. Here goes ... Annnnd here's the kick. It's high, end-over-end. He takes it at the 23. He's nearly spun down. It's ... Rodgers! Slips a tackle annnnd now he's running right. Now left!

FIALA: Heyyyy-ooaaahhh!

SWAIN: He's to the 50, to the 40, to the 30, to the ... OHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!

FIALA: (simultaneously) OHHHH! WHAT A BLOCK BY JOE BLAHAK!

SWAIN: He barrels in there! TOUCH-dowwwn Hah-skers! (short pause) What a great play by the Hah-skers! Say folks, the American Soybean Council wants you to know that the Monsanto Company likes beef. Beef ... It's What's For Dinner.

(strained applause)

ADRIAN: Oh, doctor! Take me home to the doorbell, or something like that! Man! Actually, I believe that was Tony Fonoti who got the key block, Warren.

RED CLAD LOON: Kent. You're up.

PAVELKA: Not exactly a hard act to follow. Cue it up. (pause) Here's the punt and it comes down to Johnny, who takes it. Johnny withagreatmove. Johnny with anothergreatmove. Breaks off left side. He could go! Across midfield to the 45, 40! Thirty-five, 30! Twenty-five, 20! Fifteen, 10, 5 ... he's in they-uh! He's in they-uh! Touchdown! Touchdown!! TOUCHDOWN ... Johnny ... Rajauuuuuhhhhs!

(strained applause)

RED CLAD LOON: OK, now we're going to let Debbie ...

PAVELKA: (continuing) Oh, Johnny was dead to rights, but he cut that puppy back. He scooted off left side, got a block from somebody, Gary's looking for the number, did a little shake-and-bake and then outran all those Soondoggies to the zone for the touch.

RED CLAD LOON: Uh, thanks, Kent. Now ...

PAVELKA: Hell-o-o-o? Are you listening, pollsters? Oh, all you wise-crackers on ESPN and who knows where, picking the Cornhuskahs to lose. Well, folks, you're seeing what Nebraska football is all about. ALL ABOUT! Bring that troph-ay back to Lincoln!

RED CLAD LOON: All right. Before we go to commercial, let's get an idea of who Debbie liked better.

SCHLUSSEL: ......

WARREN: Holy smokes, she's speechless.

RED CLAD LOON: And they said it couldn't be done. I think she short-circuited while searching for the words for how bad you both were. Wow. (looks at camera) Uh ... I guess we'll go to a commercial. Adrian, take us to a break.

FIALA: OK. We'll be right back, folks, after these words from Tony Fonoti. No flipping!

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==STEVE==
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Show your true colors at THE POND,
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