Wednesday, 29 August 2012

DLHQ: An Appreciation

I've noticed something that is consistent across the sports shows I love in the last few years, mostly that I've gravitating towards shows where pundits are having fun, are passionate about what they discuss and yet don't take themselves too seriously. It is true in the case of Pardon the Interruption and College Gameday, and has also become the case for Dan Le Batard is Highly Questionable.

My knowledge of Le Batard the journalist goes back quite a while. I remember him being one of the more significant writers in the Miami media to notice how bad a coach Dave Wannstedt was, and while I loved those columns I thought considerably less of him when he defended Ricky Williams' sudden retirement ahead of the Dolphins 2004 season. I held that against him while he occasionally appeared on PTI, but slowly grew to enjoy the self-depreciating humour and subsequent parodies of him. By the time of his epic radio celebration of Lebron James joining the Miami Heat I was back to being a fan of his.

(Yes, I like Dan Le Batard. There, I said it.)

An overload of television (by my standards) meant that I didn't pick up Dan LeBatard is Highly Questionable (or DLHQ, as it is known in both @DLHQ and #DLHQ form) when it started on ESPN America. I felt that PTI were especially keen to promote it (which on reflection was pretty mild). I gave the show a try, and found that while most of the show consists of Dan talking he isn't the real star - that's his Dad, Gonzalo. Or Papi, as he is more commonly referred to.

This leads me onto the other thing I've begun to enjoy on television: slightly eccentric older gentlemen who are unintentionally funny. Tony Kornheiser, Lee Corso, and now Gonzalo Le Batard.

There probably aren't words which can explain this adequately, so let me just mention a couple of (ir)relevant points:

1) The section of the show where Papi introduces "Si O No" has become my two-year-old's favourite thing on television, to the point she can now just about imitate it along with tilting her head from side to side.

2) Papi is genuinely really, really funny. I missed a few episodes while I was on holiday and picked up where I left up from the podcasts. The one where Dan and Papi discussed the National Geographic show "Taboo" and Papi called the Berlin Wall "a home wrecker" nearly had me crying with laughter at a set of traffic lights.

3) As someone with a somewhat dysfunctional father-son relationship I love the dynamic that there is between Papi and Dan. They're clearly comfortable in talking with each other and having fun together. I don't know for certain, but I'd suspect they're very similar to how they'd talk with each other in any other setting (although I'd guess the language would be more, ahem, colourful).

4) As well as being funny the show can also be poignant. After Ozzie Guillen spoke about his admiration of Fidel Castro Papi retold his own tale of leaving Cuba:

That is probably not the most representative clip from the show though. Here are some of my favourites:

And to finish, my personal favourite clip: