you watch Hollywood Game Night?
you don’t… check it out. Mindless fun. Pretty good show to have
on when you are just looking to wind down and smile. (Unless you’re
ultra ultra ultra competitive,
in which case you might not want to watch it just before bed.)
few months ago, Jane Lynch hosted an episode based on sports,
and Rich Eisen was one of the guests. Now, I could tell you a
few of the finer points of the evening (and I think I will)…
a game called Show Me The Music that is designed around charades
and song titles, Eisen was trying. Then they hit one song…
“I Touch Myself” by the Divinyls… and he stepped to the side.
Still, his miming of howling at the moon for “Hungry like
the Wolf” turned into a magical moment. (It was also a brilliant
example of foreshadowing for the team captain and ending,
who couldn’t get that answer even though he was correctly
getting the “hungry” part of the title.)
emotions were on full display as the game of Popped Quiz was
played. Repeatedly he knew the answers… well, there were a
few claims that he did, although it didn’t go as well when
it was actually his turn to respond.
was on fire during Where Ya Goin’? and might have even completed
a comeback for his team. The difficulty? (Back to our hungry
wolf moment.) His team captain stumbled with one of the clues.
He didn’t know that the Hollywood Bowl wasn’t a sports facility
or that the Hollywood Bowl wasn’t an event, and his team lost
way too much time on one failed clue.
that last item is where the real magic happened, and serves as
the true reason I’m writing this about Rich Eisen today.
team captains are the game’s real contestants. They are, for all
intents and purposes, everyday people that applied for the opportunity
to compete for cash prizes by leading a team of celebrities in
these games. The moment his team lost, Rich extended his hand
to the other team’s captain. It was a brilliant display of sportsmanship.
(And one that—while I’m sure does happen from time to time—I had
never noticed previously.)
you want to find Rich, it’s not that hard. He recently worked
on a video with Katy Perry, and appeared a few times on the Matthew
Perry and Thomas Lennon run of The Odd Couple. Unite
those with Hollywood Game Night, and we already have
a trio of some cameo-based work. There is more. But the real fun
from Rich is on television and radio for sports.
Eisen hit ESPN in the mid-1990s. And, during a run of roughly
seven years, he was involved in a bit of everything for the network…
hosting news shows (yes, that does mean SportsCenter),
and radio broadcasts such as for Major League Baseball. And then…
around 2003… he made a gigantic, and for many an unexpected leap.
He was the first on-air hire and effectively the face of the NFL
Network, which continues with multiple efforts there to this day.
Currently, Rich also hosts a weekday show that airs on DirecTV
the craziest thing though… regardless of what he’s doing, I always
find Rich to be that guy extending his hand to the winner on Hollywood
Game Night. And here’s what I mean…
starts with a bit of a cliché… because for a professional
living, Rich gets to do what so many would love to do for free.
Attend the biggest sporting events, interact with celebrities,
and seemingly select a project to work on next based on his interest
and enjoyment of it. Not a bad deal.
moves into a different area… where Rich presents himself, and
I have no reason to believe that his personal life is otherwise,
as a likeable, down-to-earth, approachable everyman that recognizes
and appreciates what he does and his surroundings.
it concludes over here… he gives credit to those deserving of
it. Like spending an afternoon with your best friend, if you invest
a bit of time in listening to him or watching him, you’ll find
Rich boasts a bit about his favorite teams (and his ties to the
University of Michigan... where he completed his undergraduate
studies), shifts conversations to a variety of topics and interests
from the expected sports into current flavors of the day, and
always seems to be ready to shake an opponent’s hand (in victory
have no clue why I started writing this column. Honestly, it’s
a bit of a profile effort, and not quite where I would normally
go. And I will say that someday, I would be incredibly grateful
for the opportunity to meet Rich, speak with him, and perhaps
even interview him for the web site.
note – Rich, that invitation is open. Along with an invitation
to you, your family, and the folks on your show’s team to stop
on by our house and enjoy a barbecue with my wife and perhaps
a few friends. We’d love to meet all of you. Just let me know
what beverages to get on ice ahead of time.)
to this essay however, I find myself impressed by someone that
seems to get it. I may not watch all of his shows or listen to
every broadcast. I do find myself appreciating what he does in
and around industries that so often seem drenched by entitlement
and lacking in maturity.
up the good work, Rich. It’s good to know you’re around.