Q&A: Don Jamieson, Jim Florentine
Lately, comedians Don Jamieson and Jim Florentine are most recognized for "That Metal Show," the popular music talk show they host on VH1 Classic with SiriusXM DJ Eddie Trunk. But their passion isn't limited to music, or comedy. Emmy Award winners for their work on HBO's "Inside the NFL," Jamieson and Florentine are both full-time sports fanatics, especially football.
Jamieson bonded with his father over sports, woefully inheriting his allegiance to the New York Jets. For Florentine, it was game programs and stickers, sent from an uncle in Miami, that made him a lifelong Dolphins fan.
So far, 2012 has been a big year for the New Jersey funnymen. Their respective albums, "Live and Hilarious" and "Cringe 'n' Purge," have heard praise for Jamieson and Florentine, ranking high on the Billboard and iTunes sales charts. Last month, they shared the bill for several shows with their comedy idol, Andrew Dice Clay. Last week, "That Metal Show" filmed its 10th season.
ESPN sat down with Don and Jim to talk football, sports talk radio and their proper viewing etiquette for the big game.
A lot of people don't realize you have a football background with "Inside the NFL."
Jamieson: We did, like, sports-themed comedy sketches.
Kind of like Frank Caliendo on Fox?
Jamieson: Without the impressions, 'cause we have no talent at impressions whatsoever. [Laughs] We just did these real edgy, comedy-themed sports segments that would air once a week throughout the season.
Florentine: Yeah, like we took a bunch of Dallas Cowboys offensive linemen to an all-you-can-eat buffet. At the end of the bit we all pulled our chairs up and just started eating right from the buffet. [Laughs]
Jamieson: Just to see if it [really] was all you can eat.
Jamieson: Not when you bring 2,000 pounds worth of men, no. They seemed to get a little uptight about that.
How much limitation was put on you? Being that it was HBO, you could probably get away with --
Florentine: No, we couldn't get away with anything. It was like working for ABC Family. [Laughs] Super, super conservative. But we definitely pushed the boundaries on some stuff.
Jamieson: Yeah, which was good. I mean, [Bob] Costas and [Dan] Marino, in particular, loved what we were doing. A lot of people think Costas has no edge, but he does, man. He's got a lot of edge. He loves that kind of really sharp stuff, so we were definitely a hit with those guys.
It seems like all athletes want to be rock stars and all musicians want to be athletes. Who's the biggest sports junkie you've had as a guest on "That Metal Show?"
Jamieson: We had Mike Piazza on, and he's a huge metalhead. If one of us was ever out sick, he could easily sit in our chair and pick right up where we left off. And Chris Jericho, who we had on the show. But there are tons of metal guys who love sports.
Florentine: I was on tour with Anthrax, and Joey Belladonna, the singer, is a huge sports fan. He tapes "PTI" and watches it over and over again, tapes all of ESPN and goes back on the bus and watches stuff from three, four days ago. And Kerry King from Slayer, he's a huge Raiders fan, and he has the NFL package right on his iPhone. On Sundays he just walks around looking at his phone.
Because of the satellite dropout on the bus, Jeremy Spencer from Five Finger Death Punch will fly ahead to the next city to watch football.
Florentine: It's true. It depends where they park the bus. When I was on tour with Slayer, Megadeth and Anthrax, there were a couple Sundays when the building was blocking the signal, and I had to go on Anthrax's bus around the corner.
Jamieson: It's the same thing when we fly out to gigs. During football season, you're either on a 7 a.m. flight back from wherever to get back in time for football, or you stay and watch football all day and take the last flight out at night. You gotta work your travel around sports.
Are you the type of football fans who want your buddies over, or are you solitarily yelling and screaming?
Florentine: I used to be like that. [Now] I like a bunch of people over watching the games.
Jamieson: He's got a good setup. He's got a big, giant screen in his basement, a projector
Florentine: Yeah, HD, all that stuff. So it's great. I was such a huge Dolphins fan back in the Marino era, I said, if they get to another Super Bowl I'm going to rent a generator and watch it on a TV in the woods by myself. [Laughs] The girls come around -- especially the Super Bowl -- they're talking in the middle of it.
Jamieson: "What team's in yellow?"
Florentine: "Who's the halftime [show]? Did halftime start? That was a funny commercial." There's nothing funny when the Super Bowl is on and your team's in it. If my team was in it, I'd probably say only these five people could be there, and we're only talking football. That's it. Nothing else. At halftime you got 12 minutes to talk your other crap, and that's it. I don't care if the house is on fire. [Laughs]
A lot of hard rock and classic metal is played at sporting events and on ESPN on "Monday Night Football." Why does it make the best soundtrack?
Florentine: It pumps up the crowd. It gets people going. It's adrenaline music.
Jamieson: Loud, aggressive Yeah.
Florentine: It's the same thing when you work out. You put that on and you can lift more weights.
Jamieson: Yeah, you're not going to listen to Celine Dion when you're doing weight training. You're going to put on Pantera or Sabbath or something and rock out.
Florentine: And that stuff has stood the test of time, that music. ["That Metal Show" co-host] Eddie Trunk was at a Giants game, he said that the music they play, the hard rock and metal is actually better than the radio stations that play it across the country. They're actually playing more variety in a football stadium than regular radio.
Jamieson: There's no airplay for metal. Basically, there's not that much, so these bands are looking for alternative ways to get the music out there. When I watch ESPN, if something heavy that I haven't heard before [plays] -- you know, they'll put a lower third up on the screen -- I'll go out and check it out.
In addition to the professional relationship, you're friends, talking and texting one another. What's the subject of text messages between you the most, music or sports?
Jamieson: Pretty close to 50-50.
Florentine: Eddie's a big Giants fan, and he needed Miami to beat the Cowboys, so on Thanksgiving he kept texting me: Please, dude, I'm rooting for your team hard today. And then, I'm just like, look, they're bad. I don't know what to tell you. They don't want to score touchdowns; they're happy with field goals.
Jamieson: I put sports radio on all day and listen while I work. I'll take a break and put CDs on for an hour and then go back to sports.
Florentine: Yeah, a lot of the sports. It's funny 'cause some of the people that call in on sports shows -- and Don pointed it out -- you know, someone called about a trade the Mets should make, then the next guy goes, "That guy just stole my thunder!"
Jamieson: No, he didn't. You didn't have any thunder to begin with. If the last 12 people that called in had the same idea, you had no thunder, so don't say that anymore.
Florentine: [Laughs] Yeah, just 'cause you said you would trade David Wright for maybe A-Rod and take the money, that's not thunder. That's something a third-grader would come up with. [Laughs] There's no thunder there whatsoever. And then I always hate when sports radio [callers say], "First time [caller], long time [listener]." Who cares? Nobody cares. Look, I used to call in, too. But I was never, "You stole my thunder" or "First time, long time." It's like, there's no reason for that.
Jamieson: One time I was driving the car and I heard Jim calling into The Fan. All these people were proposing these awful trades, and he called in, like, "Look, this is what you have to do: Get rid of the general manager, you gotta bring this guy in " The next guy called in and he goes, "I don't know who that last caller was, but I'd hire him for GM. That's the first guy that made sense."
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