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“Pardon My Take”: a satirical sports show with pizzazz

barstoolsports.com

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In a world where sports media has devolved almost entirely into talking heads screaming at one another, each opinion more ludicrous than the last, many fans have resigned to the idea that they have only two options: tune in, or tune out. But for those like me in desperate need of a middle ground, a third choice has surfaced in the form of the Barstool Sports podcast “Pardon My Take” (PMT).

“Pardon My Take” debuted in Feb. 2016 and quickly ascended to the top sports podcast rankings, according to iTunes, where it currently resides. It is hosted by Barstool Sports personalities Big Cat and PFT Commenter and produced by Hank Lockwood, garnering between 750,000 and 1.5 million downloads an episode, of which three are released per week.

Although “PMT” does discuss current issues and events within sports, the majority of the show is satirical comedy meant to mock more prominent media outlets like ESPN and FS1. The name “Pardon My Take” was created as a play on words combining the titles of the ESPN shows “Pardon the Interruption” and “First Take,” both of which completely overuse the hot-take format of sports reporting. In fact, once ESPN realized “PMT” was gaining popularity, the company sent Barstool Sports a cease-and-desist letter to no avail.

A standard “PMT” episode is broken up into three sections. Big Cat, PFT Commenter and Hank open with a comedic review of the latest sports stories and include a few topical segments depending on the day, such as hot seat/cool throne, power rankings and who’s back of the week.

They then transition into an interview or two from their vast pool of recurring guests, who usually have a degree of real-life or internet fame due to their connection to sports. In the 20 months since its creation, “Pardon My Take’s” guests have ranged from superstar professional athletes like JJ Watt and Max Scherzer to rapper/actor Ice Cube, and even several journalists employed by rival ESPN.

The interview portion of the show is where the trio truly shine. Although they are unrefined and far from politically correct, being a subsidiary of Barstool Sports allows them to ask questions most reporters would never entertain, achieving a level of comedy that is unattainable for their competitors. The questions can occasionally be too personal or provocative, but the majority of guests know the show’s style beforehand and embrace its uniqueness. Each interview is concluded by Big Cat asking every new guest who the most famous person is in their cellphone and an attempt at persuading them to call said person.

Once the interviews are finished, “PMT” runs through a large array of original segments, many of which have contributed to the podcast’s explicit rating. Some of the more popular offerings have been drunk ideas, guys on chicks, PR 101, locker room talk, and jimbos. The segments provide the listener with sincerely authentic humor while also displaying the chemistry between the members of the show as they constantly riff on each other’s opinions and contributions.

The early days of “PMT” had one major flaw: the audio quality. All three colleagues were located in different cities and had to conduct each episode via Skype. Fortunately, the crew has since all moved to the new company headquarters in New York City where they have an actual studio to produce the podcast, effectively rectifying the sound problem.

Recently, in a complete about-face, ESPN and Barstool Sports announced an agreement to create a TV show spinoff of “PMT” called “Barstool Van Talk.” The deal was for a 20-episode series and debuted Oct. 18. Unfortunately, the show was cancelled by ESPN after the opening episode despite strong ratings.

Initially ESPN was silent about the abrupt ending to “Barstool Van Talk,” but in the weeks since it was revealed that a few high-profile female personalities at the self-proclaimed “worldwide leader in sports” publicly ridiculed their employer for giving Barstool Sports its own show.

Herein lies a common misconception about the guys of “PMT.” Barstool Sports has a long history of being openly misogynistic, sexist, and sometimes racist, albeit always under the guise of satire. Included in this track record are several controversies with the aforementioned ESPN employees, specifically Sam Ponder. While it is not surprising that many prospective listeners are turned off prematurely because of the Barstool name, Big Cat and PFT Commenter have not been involved with any of the previous drama, and they produce by far the least offensive content of any of the establishment’s contributors.

While I only discovered the greatness that is “PMT” a few months ago upon recommendation from a friend, I was hooked immediately and have rapidly listened through the entire archival collection. If you enjoy sports, have a sense of humor, and aren’t too easily offended, this podcast is for you.

“Pardon My Take” can be found on the Barstool and Stitcher apps as well as iTunes and Apple Podcasts, with new episodes airing every Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings.

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“Pardon My Take”: a satirical sports show with pizzazz