November 7, 2010
Talkin' Baseball with Jerry McKune
I'll tell you after I ask YOU a question...have you heard about the Facebook campaign to get San Francisco Giants closer Brian Wilson to host "Saturday Night Live"?
Well, Jerry McKune started that original movement, folks (there have been others pop up since)...and recently, I had the privilege to catch up with the Fresno, California native to find out why.
HOVG: Clearly you have a love for Wilson...is this a recent infatuation with the bearded one or one that has been cultivated over the years?
McKUNE: I was fortunate enough to have watched Wilson a few times during his stay with Triple-A Fresno Grizzlies. I remember him being very kind and affable to the fans even back then, and taking lots of time to talk with kids and sign autographs. This was all before the tats, before the Mohawk, before the beard. In this day and age of the high-priced, egomaniacal world that is professional sports, baseball is the last bastion for the gentleman-athlete. That’s not to say baseball doesn’t have its share of dirt-bags, but pound-for-pound, baseball has more nice guys than any other sport. And there is no nicer guy than Wilson.
HOVG: Alright, we've seen "B-Weezy" in some pretty entertaining interviews with Chris Rose, Jim Rome and, most recently Jay Leno on "The Tonight Show"...why the effort to get Wilson on as the host of "Saturday Night Live"?
McKUNE: First off, pro athletes and SNL go back a long way. In 1977, former Minnesota Viking QB Fran Tarkenton was the first athlete to host. Most recently, Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps hosted. There have been some winners, there have been some losers, but I think anyone who has seen Wilson’s extensive collection of on-camera work, he’s comedic gold waiting to happen. After watching his interview on “Rome is Burning” it hit me. Brian Wilson has a similar comedic delivery to SNL All-Star Christopher Walken.
HOVG: Do you think it will happen?
McKUNE: I will admit, I think this is a long shot. Wilson doesn’t have the mass-appeal of Betty White. Nor does he have the shock value of being an octogenarian playing a prison gangster. Although some might argue rolling out an obscure reference (“The Machine”) from a fringe film ("8mm") is shockingly entertaining in it’s own right. I also think you have to win over the support of the head honcho at SNL, Lorne Michaels. Ultimately it’s his call, and I get the impression he’s not the kind of guy who will sway to the masses. But my hope is this Facebook campaign gets enough people to notice, and enough people talking about it, and perhaps gets his attention, at least for consideration.
HOVG: Obviously, your grassroots effort has turned some heads. Virtually overnight you went from a few hundred followers last week to close to 35,000 today. Why do you think people are joining the movement?
McKUNE: Brian Wilson is a nice guy, who is drop-dead hilarious and also, a World Champion. If that isn’t a recipe for a shot at hosting SNL, I’m not sure what is. Underneath the sideshow that is the beard, and snazzy retro clothing lays a true comedic genius.
McKune's efforts have been chronicled by a number of major media outlets (MLB.com and ESPN to name a few) in the last few days and by the looks of the number of Facebook users that have been clicking "Like"...he might have struck a nerve.
So what are you waiting for? Head on over to the Facebooks and join the movement!
Your move, Lorne Michaels.