An [Updated] Note from Fatty: The pre-order for 2012 Fat Cyclist gear is now over. To everyone who ordered something: thank you very much.
Another Note from Fatty: For those unfamiliar with the Michael Smith saga, today’s piece may not make sense. I mean, even less sense than usual. So you may want to check out a much less opaque editorial here. And lots of details and a chronology with additional resources here.
News Flash: ESPN to Launch New Show: “That’s Hilarious!” With Michael Smith
New York (Fat Cyclist Fake News Service) — ESPN, The Worldwide Leader in Sports™, announced today that it is launching a new daily TV series, hosted by popular ESPN anchor Michael Smith, called That’s Hilarious!
Said ESPN Spokesperson Deb “Tome” Forte, “This is a dangerous world, and terrible, tragic things happen every single day to completely innocent people.”
Continued Forte, “It’s time we have a TV show that laughs at those people.”
According to Forte, “Once in a lifetime — no, make that three lifetimes — the idea for a show reveals itself to us nearly fully-formed, with a perfect synergy of network relevance, human interest, and an anchor who was born for the job.”
Emphasized Forte, “That’s Hilarious! is just such a show.”
Genesis of a Genius Idea
The idea for the new television show came about quite by accident — literally — according to the host of the new show. “I was with my co-hosts of Around the Horn when we saw this bike race thingy. And — get this, ‘cuz it’s gonna just totally going to make you laugh your butt off — a car swipes one of the riders, causing him and another rider to crash and they both nearly die!“
Smith then broke into uncontrollable laughter for the next seven minutes.
“I’m sorry, I’m sorry. But that is just so funny,” said Smith between additional fits of giggles, tears streaming down his face. “I’m sorry, it’s just that that crash is hilarious. Every. Time.“
At this point, Smith relapsed into laughter, unable to speak.
“Do you see what we have here?” said Forte, smiling at Smith. “Michael Smith has a rare and wonderful gift. While most people would find Smith’s behavior psychotic and reprehensible,” continued Forte as she patted Smith on the head, “We at ESPN see an opportunity. An opportunity, specifically, to take the pain of others and treat it as if it were funny as hell.”
What Viewers Can Expect
In each episode of That’s Hilarious!, Michael Smith will show clips of human suffering. Smith will watch each clip several times, laughing as other people get hurt, always through no fault of their own.”
“That’s one of our gating criteria for showing a clip,” said Smith. “The person who gets hurt has to be just doing their thing. You know, like riding a bike in a race on a road. Or maybe waterskiing.”
“And then I’ll say something insightful that explains why it’s so funny, like, ‘For real, am I wrong for laughing at that? Can’t get over the driver speeding off as if he didn’t know he hit someone!’”
“Oh, sure, I know that the driver didn’t actually go speeding off, but if you just look at the ten-second clip I watch, then pretend nothing happens after that clip, well: pure comedy gold!”
“At least in early episodes, we’ll try to stick with sports as topics for Smith to laugh at,” said Forte. “But let’s face it, there’s a lot of stuff that happens to people who aren’t doing anything even remotely sport-related, and we want to give Michael the opportunity to laugh at them, too. And there are a lot of ways people can get hurt in this world that we don’t want to exclude. I mean, when someone sends us video of another guy getting bitten buy a shark or maimed in a construction accident, how can we in good conscience deprive Michael of the chance to laugh at those people too?”
“Anyway,” said Smith, wheezing and gasping, “after I laugh for a while, I’ll open up the phones and let people call in. I expect that people who are totally unfamiliar with the way the person in the clip got hurt will agree with me, and we’ll laugh together and probably watch the clip a couple more times, making fun of how stupid that person is for even being on a bike, or going waterskiing, or being a construction worker, or whatever.”
“After that,” said Forte, “We expect the offended calls to come in, with people saying things like, ‘Hey, I was out swimming and got my arm bitten off by a shark and I nearly died and it was terrifying and more incredibly painful than you can possibly imagine; how can you find that funny?’”
“Honestly,” continued Forte, “That’s when the real fun will begin. Smith will start by just baiting and taunting the callers. Then, once we’ve gotten enough calls, he’ll offer a few more taunts, and then maybe a fake apology.”
“We’ll then go to commercial break,” explained Smith, “After which instead of me, there’ll be a guy from legal, with his hand in a sock puppet that looks like me, and he’ll offer a carefully worded, stilted apology that nobody in their right minds would ever believe I would actually say.
“And then,” concluded Smith, “POOF! I’ll disappear! Just like magic.”
Co-hosted by Tony Kornheiser, That’s Hilarious! will air thrice daily daily on ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN3.com, ESPNU, ESPN Goal Line, ESPN Buzzer Beater, ESPN Classic, ESPN Xtreme, ESPN5, ESPN Radio, ESPN Kitchen, ESPN for Kidz, ESPN for Left-Handed People, and ESPN Estonia. Check your local listings for times.
Johnny Hoogerland was unavailable for comment, because he was too busy racing his bike several hours per day, with legs held together by about three spools of thread.