There are certain word associations that immediately call to mind figures in the sports blogging world (at least to me). I hear Jimmy Olsen, and I think of Will Leitch. Same for Tim Tebow and Dan Shanoff. I think Drew Magary would be honored by the fact that in the Google of my mind, the first result for "dick joke" is undoubtedly his blogging alias Big Daddy Drew.
Magary is one of the proprietorsalong with Matt Ufford, Michael Tunison, Jack Kogod, Josh Zerkle and Flubbyof the irreverent football-humor blog Kissing Suzy Kolber. If you have to ask what the name means, then it's probably not meant for you (but here's the answer, anyway). Magary and some of the others (including the departed Footsteps Falco, but not newcomers Tunison or Flubby) started the blog in 2006 as commenters on the popular sports blog Deadspin. KSK has since found its niche as the go-to destination on the internet for obscene dramatic monologues attributed to mediocre quarterbacks, and other fun NFL-related humor. Magary also contributes to Deadspin on a regular basis.
"Why would any athlete read a book when they can go have an orgy on a yacht instead? That's what I would do."
Big Daddy Drew might be best known, however, for being singled out by Friday Night Lights author Buzz Bissinger as a symbol of everything that is wrong with internet journalism, blogs, the youth and the future on HBO's "Costas Now" program, and for responding in his typical style. This is strange since Magary isn't really a journalist, but his beloved dick jokes have become a cause célèbre among those looking to stand up on behalf of the internet against the bullying, dying powers of old media. You can hear Bissinger and Magary square off (or kiss and make up?), along with Washington Post sports blogger Dan Steinberg, on Thursday, November 6, at Gelf's free Varsity Letters Event in New York's Lower East Side.
Now, Magary has written a bookbut don't worry KSK fans, he hasn't abandoned his style. "From Day One," he tells Gelf, "the book had to read like a site in short, easily digested bursts." Essentially, this means that those without wi-fi in their bathrooms now have access from the toilet to the same kind of short, witty, and filthy humor they've come to expect from Big Daddy Balls. The book, Men with Balls: The Professional Athlete's Handbook, is a satirical guide for athletes on what to expect when you're expecting a $5 million salary bonus. Of course, Magary doubts that any athletes will read it, so the book is really a barely-veiled opportunity to mock all aspects of sports culture. If that means naming a sex act after Curt Schilling, so be it.
In the following interview, which was conducted by email and edited for clarity, Magary tells Gelf about the censored portions of his book, entertaining ways to whore oneself, and whether he relies too heavily on dick jokes.
Gelf Magazine: How successful a blogger do you have to be to get a book deal?
Drew Magary: Not very. I mean, shit, how many blogger books are out there now? There's a Hot Chicks with Douchebags book out there, for shit's sake. They're giving book deals out like sandwich coupons now. I thought having a book would make me all special. Then I check out the Little, Brown catalog and my book was listed next to one called InDognito: A Book of Canines in Costume. It's hard to feel all egotistical about having a book deal when some asshole who put his Schnauzer in a ballerina costume also has one.GM: Do you think there should be a direct link between the publishing world and the blogosphere? How did Little, Brown approach you?
DM: There's a direct link between the blogosphere and everyonethat's why blogs are cool. The writer's email address is right there, so there are no layers of shit to get through to contact someone you want to speak with. And that's how LBC approached us. They just emailedwhich is kind of mind-blowing.
GM: Was it difficult for you to channel your writing style into a longer form than the usual post?
DM: No, because I deliberately kept every section in the book no longer than a usual blog post. That way, I didn't have to do all those pesky things like "develop characters" or "build a coherent plot." That's for pussies.
GM: So how is this book different from what you do on the site?
DM: It isn't. In fact, that was the explicit goal. I don't want KSK readers to pick up the book and say, "Wait a second. There are no dick jokes in here. He's written a Victorian-era seafaring novel!" It needed to be just as snappy and empty-headed as the site itself.
GM: How do you strike the right balance of promoting your book on the site?
DM: It's hard, because how the fuck can you not promote a book you've just written? I think there's a way to do it that makes it funny and interesting. Like today, I posted on KSK a section of the book that the lawyers made me take out. So that's a way of whoring the book, but still doing it in an entertaining way.
GM: Aside from that bit about Larry Bird paying his child-support payments in pennies, did any other gems end up on the cutting-room floor?
DM: There was one by Magic Johnson called, "Hey! This AIDS thing isn't so bad!" I also had to redact names in the book, especially in the gay section. That'll get you sued in short order.
GM: They let you get away with having Charles Barkley say, "Where's my penis?" but you can't hint that any athlete might be gayeven as a joke?
DM: Nope. It's totally random and subjective.
GM: The book is written as a satirical guidebook for pro-athletes. Do you think any of them will read it, and which ones in particular might benefit the most from doing so?
DM: I doubt any of them will read it. Shit, Chris Cooley blurbed the damn thing and even he didn't read it. Why would any athlete read a book when they can go have an orgy on a yacht instead? That's what I would do.
I think Pat Williams and Kevin Williams could have benefited from reading the book, and knowing which banned substances are the best to take. I can't believe they got caught with diet pills. What are they, actresses?
GM: Why did you decide on this format?
DM: Because the only way I know how to write a book is to break it down into 80 separate, utterly disposable sections of dick jokes.
GM: When talking about your work, you tend to rely on the old "dick joke" crutch. What about all of the other lewd references on the site? Are assholes not important?
DM: Oh, my writing employs a wide variety of crutchesthe F-word, compound swear words, capital letters. My writing needs an electric wheelchair to get around.
GM: How do you balance professional work and your more dick-jokey pursuits?
DM: Making dick jokes doesn't take long. So there's more than enough time for both. You can always fit a dick into your day!
GM: What do your coworkers think of your blogs?
DM: I don't know, because I'm terrified to ask.
GM: Do you hate baseball?
DM: I'm all right with baseball. But honestly, would it fucking kill them to start a World Series game before 9:30? I'm not a goddamn vampire.
GM: How about college football?
DM: I love college football, but I've had to prioritize the NFL for family reasons, so I'm not as well versed in the sport as I used to be, which annoys me to no end.
"Buzz and I are now secret lovers. Late at night, we enjoy cozying up with a bottle of Shiraz and laughing at awkward photos of Will Leitch."GM: Wordfreak Stefan Fatsis told me that you're a mean Scrabulous player. Can you take him?
DM: I beat him about once out of every 20 matches. And I never let that fucker forget it.
GM: At the risk of being the millionth person to ask you about the subject, how are you and Buzz getting along these days?
DM: Well, as you know, Buzz and I are now secret lovers. Late at night, we enjoy cozying up with a bottle of Shiraz and laughing at awkward photos of Will Leitch.
GM: When you first saw the Costas episode, what was your reaction to hearing your name (or some variation of it) cited as everything that was wrong with sports blogs and the internet?
GM: Did you hone your skills for sports-mockery while at Exeter? Is your alma matter proud of your accomplishments?
DM: They haven't asked me to speak at assembly yet. I really want them to invite me, specifically so that I can blow them off.
GM: Tell me something I didn't know about Ufford, Leitch, Tunison, and new Deadspinner-in-chief AJ Daulerio.
DM: Ufford sheds like a Labrador. Leitch used to be very fat, like Ricki Lake-sized. Tunison once met Kanye West's dadand promptly stole his lunch. Daulerio won't stop snickering when he talks. He's just like my uncle.
GM: Do you have a favorite athlete, or a favorite story about an athlete?
DM: My favorite athlete of all time is Joey Browner, the Vikings safety. And Kirby Puckett pinched my ass once because he mistook me for a very heavyset lady.
GM: How similar is your blog persona to the way you act in person?
DM: It's me if I'm around guy friends and drunk. Around my kid? I'm a little bit different.
GM: You're doing a virtual book tour to promote the book. How is that going?
DM: Most excellent. I get to slave over 30 posts a day for no extra money!
A discussion featuring Drew Magary, Buzz Bissinger, Will Leitch, and Dan Steinberg, from Gelf's Varsity Letters event on November 6, in four parts:
Watch Panel Q&A at Gelf Magazine's Varsity Letters Part 1 in Entertainment Videos | View More Free Videos Online at Veoh.com
Watch Panel Q&A at Gelf Magazine's Varsity Letters Part 2 in Entertainment Videos | View More Free Videos Online at Veoh.com
Watch Panel Q&A at Gelf Magazine's Varsity Letters Part 3 in Entertainment Videos | View More Free Videos Online at Veoh.com