Bill Simmons is–in the words of comedian and screenwriter Michael Rapaport–the podcast stickman. Listening to any other podcast aside from Simmons’ is like watching a minor league baseball game or eating store brand cereals. It’s obvious that the Boston-native as perfected the art of podcasting and writing, but he is still a TV fledgling. HBO’s Any Given Wednesday is Simmons’ second attempt (last year’s Grantland Basketball Hour being the first) to launch his brand in the television world.
The show premiered last night and the first episode was mediocre. Charles Barkley was the first guest and the conversation was engaging, but it was almost identical to the conversation the two had on Simmons’ podcast a few months earlier. The second bit on Steph Curry’s stardom was both funny and well-thoughtout. The history of basketball players in commercials and ribbing of Curry’s current commercials was probably my favorite part of the speedy half-hour episode.
Simmons wrapped up the show by talking movies and Deflategate with Ben Affleck. The interview had SO much potential and it just fell flat. Affleck seemed uncomfortable and that led to some shortened answers and unnecessary swearing from the actor. If they had just shut off the cameras, I bet the discussion would’ve been 50 times better. Maybe even extend the whole thing by like 40 minutes. Maybe just make that interview into a podcast. Nonetheless, here is Affleck’s rant on Deflategate:
Overall, Any Given Wednesday could use a little work. Simmons’ has a giant network of friends so I expect some cool guests in the future and that should breathe some life into what felt like a very dull show.
(Also Simmons needs to stop saying “my show” all the time…it’s starting to sound overly narcissistic)