Although I (still) have no say whatsoever in who takes up ol’ Jim-Tim McCarver’s seat at FoxSports’ Roundtable of Sports Insights & Sports Analysis (since the last time we checked in, word is that Harold Reynolds is the front-runner — a sage decision by Fox, for sure), I will nonetheless sincerely and quixotically continue in the process of considering candidates to replace him.
Chad Finn of the Boston Globe has implored Fox to “go bold” in hiring Jim-Tim’s replacement, suggesting Pedro Martinez or Dennis Eckersley. There is no way that is bold enough for me. That is Taco Bell bold. I am looking for Brett Favre bold. So:
Today’s Candidate: Jon Bois
Candidate Profile: from Kentucky; been to Canada; kind of charming beard (via its ginger patchiness); preternatural feel for absurdism; food opinions; top-notch Twitterer; should not be confused with John Boys, Dean of Canterbury from 1619 to 1625*.
A lot of what Jim-Tim McCarver said while broadcasting felt surreal to me. Someone once wrote that he was insightful, but to me, everything Jim-Tim said sounded like a language wherein most of the words are borrowed from English, but they often have different meanings than they do in English, and the syntax is completely different. In that way, I actually sort of came to enjoy ol’ Jim-Tim.
As mentioned in the above profile, Jon Bois exhibits a preternatural feel for absurdist humor — a sort of intentional and comedic surrealism. While steeped in the language and culture of professional sports in America, Bois lives in his own world where his thoughts are molded and presented with the sincerity of Mitch Hedberg. He makes fun of sports cliché and banter, but, somehow, not in a snarky way. Perhaps Bois avoids snarkiness by exhibiting a joy in what he writes in a way that makes him vulnerable.
Many of his tweets are immediately engaging (as they often ask followers a question) yet completely ridiculous. One such:
who is the next fantasy stud & dud; well; guess what it is you
— Jon Bois (@jon_bois) September 8, 2013
I’ve been wanting to do a parsing of why the above tweet (or, say, his “Favre Watch” piece) is so funny — because it seems like they shouldn’t be so funny, yet they make me laugh whenever they pop into my head, which is pretty much every day. In said tweet there are so many basic levels of comedy:
- an insiderness — not everyone will get what a fantasy stud/dud is — which can be leveraged for comedic effect and [select] audience enjoyment
- a fudging of syntax, complete with misplaced and missing punctuation (humorous to nerds and at a basic level to many others, too)
- surprise: a punchline where it seemed like there was no reason for one — obviously surprise is a big part of comedy
- momentary confusion on the part of the audience: was that really a punchline? why?
- awareness of the context of the utterance: while there is probably no reason for anyone to ever tweet anything, one still wonders, upon reading this tweet, why it was tweeted; still, that is part of the joy and the humor of reading it — the tweet suggests a misunderstanding of something on the part of the tweeter which the audience knows is feigned but also which, when presented earnestly, amounts to comedy.
Conclusion: Jon Bois is a comedy savant who knows some things about sports. Therefore, I consider him a strong candidate to replace Jim-Tim McCarver. I can’t really think of anything that I would like more to see on national television than Jon Bois judging, from 1-10, what ballplayers had for lunch that day, or proffering/asking for opinions on random topics that have nothing to do with the game. We’re likely to get as much or more insight from that as from most announcers presently employed.
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