This was posted Wednesday, April 12, 2017 by Rodney Ho on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog
Atlanta resident and basketball legend Shaquille O'Neal endorses a million products and provides basketball analysis for TNT. And for two years, he has done a podcast with 680/The Fan afternoon host John Kincade, an excuse, he said, to goof around and have a good laugh or 20.
They celebrated their 99th and 100th Big Podcast with Shaq on Tuesday night at the Punchline for the first live broadcast. (They taped enough material for two podcasts, which will be released April 17 and April 24, respectively.)
Kincade, before the event, said individual podcasts are heard by hundreds of thousands of people. A particular podcast featuring Kobe Bryant, he said, reached 3 million.
Both Kincade and Shaq credit producer Rob Jenners for making the podcast sound as good as it does. Or more colorfully, Shaq says he's the "dirt in the whiskey of the podcast."
Shaq said this is not a sports podcast although "we do touch on sports."
"He doesn't ever want to be pigeon-holed," Kincade said, noting that a typical podcast might spend 40 percent at most about sports. Most of the rest, he said, is "stupid stuff."
Jenners throws out the topics and the games and Shaq and Kincade roll with it. On the Punchline night, Jenners had them sing karaoke. Shaq tried out fellow Jersey man Bruce Springsteen, eviscerating "Dancing in the Dark." Then Kincade tortured the crowd with Peter Gabriel's "Shock the Monkey," which takes on racial tones when people mistake it for "Shaq the Monkey." Kincade held up a stuffed monkey and a banana while so-called "singing" and Shaq doubled over in laughter. Kincade tried to channel Johnny Carson, resurrecting the "Carnac" bit with mixed results.
Impressionist and guest stand-up comic Craig Gass provided plenty of jokes while doing impressions of Tracy Morgan, Al Pacino and Christopher Walken. He declined to work his Shaq impression too hard. Shaq himself loves how Arie Spears and Jay Pharoah imitate him, though he's confused by the fact they both go cross-eyed when talking like him. "I started looking in the mirror to see if I was cross-eyed!" Shaq said, to laughs.
Brandon "B Dog" Harper, assistant producer, took questions from the crowd, including Shaq's experience on Bear Grylls' NBC show, where Shaq spent three days in the wilderness. He didn't enjoy it at all. He even at moose placenta. Shaq's assessment? "It tasted like Steak Umm." But he didn't mind audience members mocking his movie "Kazaam."
They also included the signature bit called "Borderline," where they play bits of audio that could be "borderline' offensive. In fact, it has become a catchphrase on the show. Whenever they delve into something potentially uncomfortable, someone will utterly "Borderline!" Jenners, who came up with the idea of the live show, even wore a short that said #Borderline for the occasion.
During this show, Shaq talked about receiving a doctorate in education but he is no medical doctor. Kincade said he worries whether his doctor was a C student, not an A student and how would he ever know. "I might end up with a third nipple," he joked.
"As long as he passed," Shaq said.
"You might like that third nipple," Shaq added slyly.
"Borderline!" Kincade said.
Kincade said Shaq travels a lot but is typically in Atlanta to do the podcast every week. "He considers Atlanta home," he said.
He recounted that Shaq was looking for a professional broadcaster to pair with to do the podcast. Kincade was not on his initial list of potential partners. When someone suggested Kincade, Shaq suggested dinner. Kincade felt there was zero chance he'd ever get the opportunity. Yet they clicked.
"It's an amazing partnership," Kincade said. "It's tremendous to work with one of the most famous people in the world by sight. Yet you never met someone with a smaller ego. As a sports competitor, huge ego. As a person, he is exactly on the level with everyone he interacts with. I'm always shocked by his fans. They are 87-year-old moms and five or six year old kids who already know him from his TV commercials."
Endorsers love him, Kincade said, because he makes "every person feel important, makes you feel you're valued."
The show occasionally tackled local issues, including the recent I-85 collapse. Shaq expressed skepticism that a black, homeless person set fire to anything. "Arsonists are not brothers," he contended, half seriously. "I'm just saying. Fire and water. We don't like fire. We don't like a bunch of water!"
At the end, dozens of audience members came on stage for a mass photo. And you know who towered over everybody else :
I will link up to these two podcasts when they become available. You can sample the April 10 version here: