Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Let Us Now Praise Corby Davidson

First, apologies to the Nation for my relative neglect of this site lately.  It may continue for awhile.  I've been away and just not able to devote time to composition.  Hope that changes in the next few weeks.  Very much appreciate the good comments on a variety of topics.

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I haven't done a careful survey, but of the Ticket personalities, the one who takes the most thrashing from Confessors is Corby Davidson.   Dan McDowell is a not-so-close second, with Gordon Keith and Craig Miller somewhat further back.  Your Ticket Confession strongly favors Corby, while occasionally regretting the OverCorby.

This is somewhat stale -- again, sorry -- but I was reminded of one of Corby's strongest broadcast skills during the visit to Rangers training camp.   Get ready, Nation, for an STD:

When he plays it straight, Corby is one of the best interviewers of any kind on any broadcast media I have ever heard.  I actively dislike some of the prank interviews, but when called upon to get information out of a guest he's hard to beat.  (Dan has his interview partisans, but I'm less familiar with his body of work other than those that get mentioned on other shows, usually where the guest leaves mad, which is probably not always indicative of a bad interview.)

It helps if Corby has a good interview subject, but even when he doesn't, he's in there slugging with interesting questions and interesting ways to put familiar questions.  Where he needs to set up a question, he usually does so succinctly and clearly (contra:  Bob Sturm, who should not be allowed to conduct interviews).  He has a naturally engaging way with people he's never met, including scary types like Bill Parcells and Shaq.  I admit that I have occasionally heard him preface a question with a too-lengthy oral essay, but it's rare.

The one that really caught my ear was the interview with David Murphy (I think -- I didn't have my notepad handy to write it down).   Murphy wasn't a bad interviewee, but it seemed to me like he -- Murphy -- got better as the interview progressed largely because of Corby's skill in putting him at ease and exploring subjects Murphy felt comfortable talking about.  The other Ranger interviews (I recall Kinsler, but I believe Mike jumped in on that one from time to time) were also very good.


This may sound like a backhanded compliment, but it's not intended to be:  Corby succeeds as an interviewer largely because he has no equal in selling insincerity.  Let's face it, hosts of all kinds, in all media, interview stars and public figures because they have to, not because they have a personal burning desire to get answers to mundane questions the subject's heard dozens of times and may even resent.   So almost every interviewer has to mask an inevitable lack of interest in the proceedings.  Corby is great at that.  Because we know Corby so well, we can hear the difference between his Cobra-Snake personality during segments and his warmer "interviewer" personality.  But he makes that transition very naturally, and of course many (although not all) interviewees don't perceive any difference at all.

Along with Rich and Gordon, I think Corby may be the Ticket guy most likely to be able to succeed in other formats.  A televised talk show, for example.  He would be an interesting news correspondent, too, if he stayed away from anal bleaching topics and Woodford Reserve diets. 

Fortunately, relative pay scales likely means we will have be enjoying his talents on The Little One for years to come.  It will be interesting to see how -- and whether -- he matures as his fifth decade ticks away.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

the tv thing has already been attempted by corby. woods on run .com

cancer monkey said...

I do agree that Corby is a relatively good "straight" interview. I think some of his bit interviews were better, but they got stale in a hurry.

You bag on Bob, but Mike's interview style really grates on me. He'll ask a fairly succinct question and then stick an "I mean" on the end and go on for an additional 10 to 15 seconds restating the question in a slightly different way. It's much worse than Bob, as far as I'm concerned, because the proper question is there to begin with, but it's ruined by rambling, unsteady Rhyner. Just ask the stupid question and then shut up; they got it the firs time. Corby tends to fall into that trap as well when he's playing the wingman, so he's much better on his own.

Anonymous said...

I, too, am interested to see how not only Corby, but also the rest of the more "edgy" early 40s hosts/personalities (e.g., Danny and Dan) mature--or not--over the next few years. I hope they do in some meaningful regard; as it makes me rather squeamish at times to hear a 60-something Rhyner attempt to turn back the clock some 30 plus years.

Anonymous said...

@cancer monkey

Agree completely. When Rhyner is involved in the interview it gets kind of mucked up. Corby is genius at interviews.

P1 Steven said...

@ ANON....... That was the first thing that came to my mind when I thought of Corby doing TV.