NOTE: This skit has been posted and is now scheduled to air on Sunday, Dec. 9.
The content on ESPN’s Outside the Lines set was definitely outside the box Thursday when comedian Frank Caliendo commandeered Bob Ley’s pulpit for a faux report on the Dallas Cowboys.
Things returned to normal when Ley chased the intruder, reclaimed his throne, and introduced the day’s OTL topic: “Comedians and sports, and how they can quickly fall off the face of the Earth.”
The action was all part of skit which will debut on Sunday NFL Countdown (10 a.m.-1 p.m. ET throughout the season).
While Caliendo’s Countdown counterparts have been among his sports subjects, he feels heading cross-campus to ESPN’s Studio D and the news aura of OTL’s home to team with Ley added to the bit.
“When you do impersonations, and the person is there with you, people know they’re in on it, and that adds to the humor,” Caliendo said. “Bob is a legend, known for journalism, and to have him agree to do it multiplies that humor 100 times.”
The concept came from a collaboration of Caliendo, NFL Countdown Senior Coordinating Producer Seth Markman, Coordinating Producer Greg Jewell, and Feature Producer Luis Aldea, who was in-studio for the shoot.
“It’s tough not to laugh at the end of each take since you’re holding it in to make sure we got it,” says Aldea, whose laughter caused Caliendo to break up once and necessitate another take.
The co-stars had more in common than just matching red ties and pocket squares: mutual respect for the other’s craft.
“I’ve been a big fan of Frank’s work for years,” Ley says, “so when they asked, I was certainly glad to do it.”
While Aldea said, “Bob is a great sport because he didn’t mind we were making fun of him, and brought tons of energy and delivered on every take,” Ley could only join in the laughter of being Caliendo’s latest Countdown caricature, saying, “Now I’m going to be incredibly self-conscious for weeks.”