ESPN’S CORSO CRACKS UP ON DALLAS RADIO: ESPN college football commentator Lee Corso joined radio hosts Bob Sturm and Dan McDowell on KTCK-AM in Dallas on Tuesday from the SMU Athletic Forum Luncheon, as Corso prepared to attend the Doak Walker Awards in Dallas Tuesday night. (story link)
What started out as a cliched collection of Corso’s college football yarns, quickly turned unexpectedly awkward and increasingly tense after ESPN’s clown prince of college football (ironically) objected to good-natured ribbing from McDowell. A heated on-air exchange ensued, with Corso eventually departing in a huff.
During the interview, Corso, who roomed with Burt Reynolds at Florida State, initially delighted in telling the duo the well-worn story about Reynolds posing nude in Cosmopolitan magazine. At the end of his story about Reynolds’ naked layout, Corso gushed, “He was the first guy basically to post nude … in Cosmopolitan, and one thing lead to another … and he became the leading movie star in the world.” KTCK-AM host McDowell then followed up Corso’s comments about Reynolds by joking, “And not a lot of people know this, but Lee Corso was actually the second person to pose nude … correct?”
Following the McDowell quip, an apparrently offended Corso went stone silent, with a stunned McDowell then saying, “Or did I read that wrong?” After a long pause, Corso muttered, “I won’t even give you … next question.” He then said, “I think that was very sarcastic and I don’t appreciate it. And I’m not kidding.”
Corso: “Why would you say that? It’s not funny at all. The people out there that don’t know me, would say, ‘what kind of jerk is this guy?‘”
McDowell: “Well wouldn’t you think most people out there listening know me?”
Corso: “They probably think you’re a jerk … you are a jerk.”
McDowell: “We’re having fun here. You’re telling us funny stories about Burt Reynolds and now all of a sudden I’m a big jerk?”
Corso: “You are a big jerk, because of the fact you take a shot at me. Because you inferred the fact that I posed naked.”
McDowell: “How is that a shot?”
Corso: “Because that’s against what I would do.”
McDowell: “And that’s not a joke then? The irony of the whole situation? Lee Corso certainly wouldn’t do that. Burt Reynolds would.”
Corse: “Not to me. I don’t appreciate people taking shots and joking at my expense, when I don’t do that to anybody else.”
McDowell: “Well I think that’s real silly. I really do. I don’t think you should be offended at all. And I thought we were laughing here and having a good time … ”
Corso interrupted: “Not at my expense.”
McDowell then essentially showed Corso the door, saying, “I guess I should thank you for stopping by then?”
Corso: “Thank you very much. My pleasure.” *Sound of Corso abruptly taking off his headset and bolting from the broadcast location* Click here to listen to audio of the tense exchange (mp3 format). (direct story link)
McDowell and Sturm then said after the interview that the entire time that Corso was complaining about the comment, the radio hosts thought they were being pranked (which is a very common practice among show hosts at KTCK-AM).
Sturm: “It seemed a like prank. And he actually shook our hand (when he left), and he seemed like he had the best time of his life.”
McDowell: “To do a 180-degree mood swing like that almost seems not human.”
Sturm: “I kept waiting for a Joe Pesci reaction (from the ‘am I a clown to you, do I amuse you?’ Goodfellas bit). For him (Corso) to say … ‘Gotcha!’ … he (Corso) didn’t look mad.”
Sturm next reported that Corso walked past their radio broadcast location about 30 minutes later, and “he (Corso) gave me a smile and pointed and smiled again. And he gave me a thumbs-up!” At the end of segment, McDowell, referring to the ESPN commentator, said, “Well I’m sorry he (Corso) was such a wuss, and offended by throwaway comments.”
Corso’s constant comment about ‘the people that are listening who don’t know me’ is absurd. He’s been a fixture on ESPN for nearly 20 years and was appearing on a highly-rated sports radio station in Dallas - in a city that is a well-known haven for college football fans. How many people listening to him on the show didn’t know who he was - or his self-deprecating act?
he obvious point of McDowell’s quip was that Corso is pushing 70, and would never pose nude anytime, anywhere. Evidently that was lost on a man who has made millions making fun of himself. It’s all the more hard to swallow when a former football coach with a career 41-68-2 record at Indiana objects to a harmless joke about him.
Finally, if Pete Carroll or Bob Stoops made a similar remark, do you think Corso would’ve made such a big stink? The best part of the interview was that Corso tried to “big-league” host McDowell into an apology for a blameless one-liner, and the host refused to yield.