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Sunday, November 30, 2008

Like watching paint dry: Liven up awards banquet or don’t even show it

Rumor has it this is the week is when NASCAR’s top-10 drivers of 2008 head to New York’s famous Waldorf-Astoria hotel to put on their monkey suits and give their speeches about the year.

Pardon me if I don’t cancel my dinner plans to watch it, but anyone who’s seen this endless commercial in the past probably isn’t jumping to the TV to set it to record.

Why, you ask? Because this banquet is boring as sin … picture an hour-long victory lane speech with details about every sponsor and all they‘ve done for the team this year, followed by presentations of checks for more money than any one of us will ever make in our lifetime.

You know how Michael Waltrip and Kevin Harvick will make you sick by listing about 50 sponsors in every single interview they do ... Imagine that without a cutoff point, where drivers can go on and on and on and on and on. I'm falling asleep just thinking about it.

Oh, and I almost forgot, there will be a bunch of terrible jokes by the drivers and hosts, with countless camera shots panning over to champion Jimmie Johnson and his wife to see how they react. At times, I think there’s an old-school “applause” sign flashing just so it's not as quiet as a funeral in the building.

In the entire time I’ve been watching NASCAR, I can recall a few funny moments -- such as Ken Schrader appearing to be a little bit tipsy during a speech sometime in the late 1990s, and Kyle Busch forgetting his girlfriend’s name, but 98 percent of the show is so uninteresting, most male viewers will probably spend most of their time trying to figure out which driver has the hottest wife (years ago, I would have said Kim Burton, but I haven’t been keeping track lately). The female viewers can fill their time by debating who has the best dress, or whether Jimmie is cute.

While NASCAR attempts to inject a little humor into the event sometimes (Jay Mohr has performed a few routines recently), the highlights are few and far between.

I’m not opposed to them having the event … they could sit around for days and pat each other on the back for all I care.

But the current format of boring speech after boring speech needs to be altered if the TV folks want anybody to watch this charade. It’s hardly worth Tivoing in its current format.

The big problem is the event takes itself too seriously. There’s needs to be something fun for the fans to care, whether it be a bunch of musical acts or some skits involving the drivers …. anything other than the same recycled clips of the races and a truckload of boring speeches.

It’s the end of the year and these guys have been driving hard for the past 10 months. The drivers who were good enough to make the top 10 should be allowed to let loose, have fun and enjoy themselves. They shouldn’t have to get all decked out just to sit there and listen to their colleagues repeat the same sponsor-driven babble they’ve heard all year.

If that’s all it’s going to be, they might as well stay home and wait for those big checks to come in the mail.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh yes, you're so right. And please, no more Jewell. Those two introthpective thongth she sang a few years ago were what!?...requested by the NASCAR wives? Liven it up!

December 1, 2008 at 11:36 AM 
Anonymous Edward M. (A NASCAR FAN in D.C.) said...

Amen. I have watched every now and then, but I probably won't even bother this year. Actually have some other events on the same night (Why does it seem that all the holiday events end up on the same night - there is an entire month! Anyway ...) Those events, if I pop around to one or all of them, will be much more interesting than the awards banquet. It always reminds me of 80's weddings, where the bride and groom were up on a stage ... YICK!!! (Think 'The Wedding Singer')

December 2, 2008 at 6:40 AM 

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