No matter what sport you like, it will have some characters. Even the slowest sports, including golf, have some hilarious names, such as John Daly. Tennis had John McEnroe and professional football has, well….there are too many interesting characters to name.
It is rare that an athlete will get to a high level of play without developing some entertaining character traits. Training and working constantly to outperform others not only requires a great deal of dedication but also patience and the ability to look in the mirror when feeling miserable and say “time to get back out there.” Of course, all personalities deal with fame and fortune differently. Some are so insane and quirky that an athlete becomes known for his or her talk as much as their play.
When a star reaches this level of renown (whether positively or negatively) invariably some clever celebrity or show will start to spoof them. The same can be said of the world of sports as a whole, whenever anything interesting or out of the ordinary happens, pop culture generally jumps on it.
From sports culture to individual athletes, here are fifteen of the funniest examples of pop culture spoofing the sports world!
15. Frank Caliendo as Jon Gruden/John Madden
I could have made a choice here and either taken impressionist/comedian Frank Caliendo as Madden or Gruden, but both are pretty memorable. He portrayed John Madden in such a way that was a accurate as it was absurd and hilarious, and impersonating Jon Gruden on ESPN’s spoof show Jon Gruden’s QB Camp was pure gold.
14. Family Guy: Patriot Games – “Shipoopi”
Probably one of the most memorable Family Guy episodes, this is not only the one in which baby Stewie Griffin mercilessly beats the anthropomorphic family dog Brian over a minor debt, but also the one in which an entire football stadium sing the song “Shipoopi” from The Music Man, with choreography.
The episode saw Peter Griffin brought onto the New England Patriots roster as a center after Tom Brady saw him plow through a room of people while intoxicated to reach the toilet and vomit. After helping Brady score a touchdown, Griffin leads the stadium in song, parodying the eccentric and occasionally choreographed stunts that used to be performed by NFL players after touchdowns. After this stunt, Griffin was sent to play for the London Silly Nannies in England. Tom Brady provided his own voice for the episode.
13. How I met Your Mother: Perfect Week, the Playbook, Robin the Hockey Fan and The Bracket
It’s hard to say what gender how I met your mother was intended for. On one hand it was a mushy love story, and at times almost resembled a soap opera, but it also featured a charismatic womanizer, and plenty of sports references.
There are four sports gags in particular that comprise some of the funniest moments throughout HIMYM. Robin Scherbatsky’s (Cobie Smulders) Canadian roots made for some hilarious jokes at the expense of the Great White North, including plenty of hockey related humor, including a comment that she would have “already hit that if he were missing some teeth” regarding her ex-hockey player coworker.
The Perfect Week episode featured Barney Stinson (Neil Patrick Harris) trying to bed seven women in seven days. It was a hilarious baseball parody in which he imagined he was being interviewed by broadcaster Jim Nantz.
The Bracket was an episode in which Barney had several pickup attempts sabotaged, so he and the gang used an NCAA basketball style bracket to determine which of his former flings was ruining his good time.
Of course, the playbook refers to Barney Stinson’s little black book of every “scam, con, hustle, hoodwink, gambit, flim flam, stratagem, and bamboozle” that he uses to seduce women. Of course, the playbook and much of the lingo used in the playbook were a reference to the world of sports; all coaches use them, but I doubt any have anything as impressive as the Lorenzo Von Matterhorn.
12. South Park: Go Fund Yourself
Let this serve as a warning to anyone who hates South Park, this is one of a few entries they have earned on this list. Matt Stone and Trey Parker have included references to the world of sport even going back as far as the first season, when it was suggested that the entire 1989 Denver Broncos may have fathered Eric Cartman.
More recently however, they took aim at the Washington Redskins name controversy. They created an episode in which characters made a start-up company called the Washington Redskins, which specialized in doing absolutely nothing, in order to raise money on Kickstarter. Offended by this negative press, members of the team entered the Kickstarter office and destroyed it.
The episode also poked fun at how useless Roger Goodell can be at dealing with controversy, postulating that he is a malfunctioning robot created by the 32 NFL franchise owners.
11. Jimmy Kimmel as Karl Malone
This one goes all the way back to when Jimmy Kimmel and Adam Carolla hosted a crude, filthy, amazing half hour known as The Man Show. For those who did not tune in, it was twenty two minutes of fart jokes, sexual humor, skits and each episode ended with women jumping on trampolines.
This was also a time when celebrities were not tarred and feathered for wearing “blackface,” Jimmy Kimmel dressed up an a basketball jersey, with a fake beard and darkened skin, and did an amazing impersonation of Karl Malone that would probably spark a riot today.
10. Robin Williams on Golf
A great number of stand up legends have made fun of the sports world over the years. Examples include Eddie Murphy impersonating boxer Larry Holmes doing ads for products (York Peppermint Patties and Campbell’s Soup) and more recently Bill Burr expressing his comical hatred for people who watch the NFL draft.
In terms of brilliant jokes made about sports, Robin Williams talking about luge was amazing, “What drunken, German gynecologist invented this sport?” But his tirade about golf took the cake. Just watch the video (slightly NSFW language), as it has to be one of the funniest things ever created. It’s sad watching clips like these knowing the demons he faced and the fact that he was taken from us a year ago.
9. Aries Spears as Mike Tyson
Comedian Aries Spears (no relation to Britney), appeared on nearly 200 episodes of MADTV from 1997 to 2005. He can do an impressive number of celebrity impressions, but his Mike Tyson is perfect and among the best. Tyson is one of those figures who many comedians have tried to properly impersonate, but Spears absolutely nailed it. A Tyson impression can’t just be a high voice lisping, it has to include a “Tysonism;” something only Mike Tyson would say, such as “I would have chased you down the street and punched you in the spleen” or maybe something about Lennox Lewis’ children.
8. South Park: Sarcastaball
Going back to 2012, in the show’s sixteenth season, Sarcastaball was an episode of South Park that poked fun at several current events in the world of the National Football League. It was shortly after kickoffs were modified (making nearly every one a touchback) and featured Randy Marsh sarcastically suggesting other rule modifications for the school league, which other parents enthusiastically endorse.
Later on he becomes the coach of the Denver Broncos after the NFL adopts official sarcastaball rules (including players wearing bras and playing with a balloon rather than pads and a ball). The episode also featured a great gag mocking the “Fail Mary” that occurred just days prior when the Seattle Seahawks beat the Green Bay Packers after a final second blown call. In the episode, a similar play occurred with one ref calling it a touchdown, another calling it an interception and then the video replay official saying it was a field goal.
7. Family Guy: The Juice is Loose
In this episode of Seth MacFarlane’s impious show, O.J. Simpson was featured on the show, despite the fact that the real guy was locked up in prison for his robbery in Las Vegas. Mike Henry did the voice.
In the episode, Peter Griffin wins a free round of golf with his childhood hero, announcing him to the family “Hey everybody, look who I brought home. Ten thousand rushing yards, six pro-bowls, two arrests and no convictions. It’s O.J. Simpson!” Throughout the episode, he and Peter become friends and Simpson convinces Peter that he is an innocent man. Then at the end of the episode, after Peter gets the entire town on his side however, Simpson stabs three people and runs off.
It wasn’t the greatest episode and featured a three-minute video of country legend Conway Twitty, but outside of that example of nearly contemptuous laziness, the episode had some great gags.
6. Eastbound and Down: Kenny Powers/John Rocker
One of the most polarizing figures in the history of professional baseball played the partial basis for one of televisions most unpleasant but hilarious characters. It has been suggested (probably correctly) that Kenny Powers, played by Danny McBride, is based on a series of baseball players, but based on the racism, vulgarity and homophobia that comes out of his mouth, he has the most stark personality resemblance to former Atlanta Braves relief pitcher and closer John Rocker.
Rocker went on an infamous tirade during which he made racist and homophobic comments and even went after single mothers in an interview with Sports Illustrated. Kenny Powers is pretty much the same guy just using slightly different words. He’s generally unpleasant and runs his mouth constantly, makes racist and homophobic remarks with little to no thought, and carries very negative views about women. It’s not always pleasant but it makes for great TV.
5. Key and Peele: Football Names
“Football players have some very interesting names” is among the most significant understatements in the world of sport. In a series of skits called the East/West College Bowl, they came up with a list of character names that put the NFL to shame.
Some of the most interesting names in the NFL include of course, New York Jets tackle D’Brickashaw Ferguson and Green Bay Packers safety Ha Ha (real name Ha’Sean) Clinton-Dix. Both of them were featured in the third edition of the College Bowl.
Key and Peele’s skit featured players with names such as Jackmerius Tacktheritrix, Ozamataz Buckshank, Quiznatodd Bidness, King Prince Chambermaid and Ladennifer Jadaniston.
4. Upcoming MMA Themed Adult Film: Ronda ArouseMe
There is no classy way of saying this. The adult film business will think up a clever dirty name and dirty title for anything. Coming soon to a filthy screen near you is a MMA themed x-rated movie and one of the main characters will be named Ronda ArouseMe.
When asked about what she thought of the film and name they had thought up for her character she said: “It’s funny, I used to hear that (name) in high school sometimes, at least some girl somewhere is paying her bills with it now.” The girl who will be paying her bills with it is Kleio Valentien, for those of you who are adult film aficionados.
3. The Simpsons: Drederick Tatum/Mike Tyson
Whether you love or hate “Iron Mike,” you’d be hard pressed to deny that he was the biggest name in sports for a few years. Several of those years included a time when television’s longest running series was in its infancy. Of course, I’m talking about The Simpsons. Drederick Tatum is Mike Tyson in every way, from his being a dominant professional boxer to his lisp, high voice, along with his criminal record and of course his interesting word choice, for example “litter is my most treacherous foe, I would like to eat it’s children.”
Another gem was, when asked about his upcoming fight against Homer Simpson in The Homer They Fall:”I think he’s a good man, I like him, I got nothing against him, but I’m definitely going to make orphans of his children.” The reporter then asked “you know they do have a mother, champ” to which he responded “Yes, but I would imagine she would die of grief.”
2. South Park: The Crack Baby Athletic Association
Have you noticed a pattern yet here? South Park is one of the sharpest shows on television, but they truly hide it well. They also like to include athletes and sports themes in their episodes. In season fifteen’s episode The Crack Baby Athletic Association, Antichrist character Eric Cartman, with the eventual help of Kyle (as a Jewish accountant), forms a sports league in which crack-addicted infants fight over a small amount of the drug.
The episode itself was an interesting mix of horrifying, saddening tragedy, and intense “fall off the couch” style laughter. But the underlying theme of the episode was that Cartman and his league did not pay these babies or their struggling mothers, but simply paid their medical bills and collected all remaining profit. The episode was meant to spoof the NCAA’s treatment of student athletes in the wake of their deal with EA Sports for video games; through which their players received no financial gain.
1. Slapshot: The Hanson Brothers
A painfully funny classic, 1977’s Slap Shot is probably the best hockey movie ever made, but watching the two sequels may actually ruin the original. The movie is about a struggling minor league hockey team that uses dirty and theatrical play to gain popularity.
The Hanson brothers are three characters in the film who are mindlessly violent and childish in nature. Though they are not triplets they look like it, all sporting long hair and thick black-framed glasses. Their violent but funny play turns a terrible season around for the Charlestown Chiefs.
The Characters Jack, Steve, and Jeff Hanson are based on Jack, Steve, and Jeff Carlson, three hockey playing brothers. Steve and Jeff essentially played themselves, but Jack Hanson was played by David Hanson who played in the NHL briefly for the Detroit Red Wings and Minnesota North Stars. Jack Carlson was originally set to play the role of Jack Hanson but was playing for the Edmonton Oilers at the time.
Steve was not a violent player on the ice but his brothers Jack and Jeff were. Jeff was an avid fighter throughout his career and Jack was an enforcer who tallied up over 1,000 penalty minutes in around 500 career games.
Writer Nancy Dowd came up with the idea for the trio after watching the Carlson brothers play for the minor league Johnstown Jets, a team for which her brother also played.
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