Sometimes it seems that ESPN's "SportsCenter," with catchphrase-happy hosts and overheated analysis, might be beyond the point of parody.
As exhibit A, we give you two words: Stuart Scott.
But if anyone can properly satirize a program that is often its own punchline, it is "The Onion," the wildly funny online newspaper/website. And starting tonight, "SportsCenter" officially becomes a source to be mined for comedy.
The "Onion SportsDome," a half-hour weekly program, debuts tonight on Comedy Central at 10:30, leading in to "The Daily Show With Jon Stewart."
In his column today, New York Times sports media reporter Richard Sandomir described the program, which is set for now for a 10-episode run, as a "warped, steroidal version of 'SportsCenter.' "
As you can see in the embedded clip, it looks like "SportsCenter." It sounds like "SportsCenter." But it's just a little more . . . well, warped. We're pretty sure Albert Pujols hasn't been given a working key to every home and building in St. Louis. But it's just close enough to the truth that . . .
The "SportsDome" website is already seeded with written commentary from anchors "Alex Reiser" (played by Matt Walton) and "Mark Shepard" (Matt Oberg). Today's insight on Auburn's BCS Championship Game victory comes from Reiser:
"Good for Auburn for winning. I thought they would have lost. No one can ever take your title away from you, although they can say Cam Newton was a cheater and your defense was garbage and you probably just got lucky and wouldn't stand a chance in a seven-game series. But you're still probably pretty happy, I guess."
There are Boston ties to the program. Channel 4's Levan Reid plays a studio analyst named Doc Webb, and video bits include a story about Shaquille O'Neal suffering his fourth heart attack of the season but remaining in the game to a question as to whether former Patriots safety Rodney Harrison knew he was playing football.
Despite these tepid descriptions, trust us, it's funny stuff, particularly if you're already a fan of "The Onion."
And unlike the real "SportsCenter" at its worst, these jokes are actually intentional.
The main contributors to The Buzz are:
- Matt Pepin, Boston.com sports editor
- Steve Silva, Boston.com senior sports producer
- Gary Dzen, Boston.com senior sports producer
- Zuri Berry, Boston.com sports producer