If there is one thing producers should have learned by now, it’s that you should NEVER put a celebrity in the booth during a sporting event. Never, ever, ever.
Remember ESPN’s disastrous idea to conduct celebrity interviews every week on “Monday Night Football” back in 2006? You’d put that out of your mind, hadn’t you?
Well, apparently so had the producers of ESPN’s Saturday night college football game. Because during a pretty good Michigan-Notre Dame game we got the treat of having Eminem in the booth with Brent Musburger and Kirk Herbstreit at halftime. To be fair, it was at least at halftime and not during the game.
That didn’t stop it from being one of the more awkward interviews ever conducted on TV.
Eminem, consistently billed by his real name Marshall Mathers for some reason unknown to me, has never been a good interview. It’s part of his schtick, but he rarely seems enthused to be talking to anyone. But you know you are in trouble when the question on the obligatory plug of his new album is “What are you most excited about with the new album?” and his response is, simply, “Nothing.”
That calls for an obligatory collar tug.
He opens the interview with a blank stare (again, schtick) that just causes Herbstreit to giggle and immediately realize this is not going to go well. But good job on the 74-year-old Musburger (and, yes, some guy in the truck) dropping the name Rick Rubin in the interview.
I’m also a big fan of Musburger asking whether the Lions will cover 4 1/2 against Minnesota on Sunday. Eminem was apparently not involved with any gambling bookies in his Detroit youth because he seems very confused by the question. He recovers to say he doesn’t pick Lions games.
In the words of Mr. Mathers, Musburger “you are a legend my friend, thank you.”
Follow Metro New York Sports Editor Mark Osborne on Twitter @MetroNYSports. I believe Slim Shady was also Kirk Herbstreit’s nickname in college.