Tour De Pharmacy, the latest mockumentary from Andy Samberg, Murray Miller and Jake Szmanski, debuted Saturday night on HBO. And like it’s predecessor 7 Days In Hell, a Wimbledon spoof, this look at doping in the world of cycling was hilariously ridiculous and raunchy.
It’s the second installment of their Legends of Sport series and the trio has hit on something so painfully simple it’s hard to believe it hadn’t already been done. The sports world is ripe for a series of mockumentaries like these.
The best mockumentaries do just what the name implies. They recognize the inherent absurdity of a topic people take far too seriously and, to borrow a phrase from the godfather of the genre, This is Spinal Tap, they crank it to 11.
Not every comedy that uses a faux-documentary style is truly a mockumentary. The Office, for instance, is a humorous slice of life, but it loves its characters. It doesn’t mock them.
Legends of Sport is merciless in taking on the myriad of jerks who inhabit top-level athletics. Here’s hoping the series continues because there are so many topics in the sports world ready for the mockumentary treatment from Sandberg and Co. Here’s a few we came up with:
The New York Jets have been the punchlines of countless jokes, most often because of perpetually mediocre results on the field. But the team they share a stadium with has avoided taking the brunt of it thanks to a few Super Bowls.
But let’s think about it for a minute. The New York Giants have had a player shoot himself in the leg. And another blow fingers off with fireworks. And another stab himself in the ear drum with a Q-tip. And another suffer a career-ending injury tripping on his cleats on the way to the pregame coinflip.
A mockumentary based on the franchise could expand on the legacy of Spinal Tap’s ill-fated drummer by having players continually meet their demise in increasingly absurd, self-inflicted ways. Because there’s some creative license allowed, they could borrow a bit from around the NFL.
It would be hard to leave out former Jaguars punter Chris Hanson, a crazy injury Hall of Famer. Hanson not only severely burned himself and place kicker Jeret Holmes in a fondue accident, he also chopped his leg with an ax brought into the locker room for motivational purposes.
MERGERS AND ACQUISITIONS
Sandberg’s fellow SNL alum Will Ferrell already took on the American Basketball Association, the league that went toe to toe with the NBA in the 1970s. And Semi-Pro was funny, just not as funny as the real thing.
One player, Marvin Barnes, was supposed to make a short flight from Louisville to St. Louis without understanding time zones. When he saw his ticket listed an arrival time “earlier” than the departure he refused to board saying “I ain’t getting on no damn time machine.”
Rick Barry bad mouthed the Virginia Squires until they let him go without ever playing a game because he was afraid of his son, Scooter, growing up with a Southern accent. Those same Squires, who at one point had both Dr. J and George Gervin, somehow couldn’t make a go of it financially and eventually ran out of money. They folded just a few weeks before a merger with the NBA, the result of which would have been a buyout that made the owners rich.
Rich, like the Silna brothers, who owned the Spirits of St. Louis. They negotiated a deal that, instead of a $3 million buyout, gave them $2.2 million up front and 4/7 of a share of an NBA franchise’s TV rights. The Silnas made hundreds of millions over the next few decades.
That’s just scratching the surface of ABA insanity, folks.
It seems crazy to anyone over the age of 3 or so, but there was a time when the college football national championship was decided by voters and computers rather than a playoff.
You don’t have to stretch the truth far at all to highlight the absurdity of what happens when two or more unbeaten teams are judged arbitrarily. In 1969, Texas was awarded the title because, well, mostly because Pres. Nixon said so.
In later years coaches would lobby for votes through the media and rank rivals too low or high to manipulate the system.
And remember, this was done for decades under the guise of pretending to care about the players’ academic schedules.