November 28, 2012

A Very Dr. Lou Thanksgiving

The author has for decades been cultivating contacts very deep within the ESPNiverse. These contacts have provided him with covert information on multiple ESPN employees, as well as transcripts for ESPN programming that never made it to the air for various reasons, usually related to the objections of Standards & Practices, upper management, or both.

These contacts have been surprisingly easy to maintain, due mostly to the Worldwide Leader in Sports’ compensation packages — widely considered the modern equivalent of indentured servitude contracts — which enable the author to bribe almost any employee at the network, with the occasional exception of top executives, for pennies on the dollar of what it would cost to bribe a comparable insider at, say, Fox News.

Previously obtained intelligence includes the details of Sean Salisbury’s green room contract stipulations (three live chickens, a hand-cranked yarn winder, and a blowtorch), Chris Berman’s pre-show ritual (ether), and the frequency with which Scott Van Pelt polishes his forehead (twice an hour).

However, a majority of what the author has collected from his sources have been transcripts of the wildly popular Dr. Lou program. He has so many transcripts of this particular program for two reasons:

1. Dr. Lou has for years been on a prescribed heavy regimen of Oxycontin and synthetic mescaline, which keeps him alive but which also causes prolonged fits of hallucinations and incoherence, meaning most episodes of Dr. Lou devolve into a rambling mess more suited to the Andy Warhol Museum than ESPN. For this reason, only about 10% of produced episodes make it on the air.

2. The author has a profound fascination with the show, and rewatches episodes frequently.

What follows is the transcript for A Very Dr. Lou Thanksgiving, which was taped in late October and slated to air Thanksgiving night at halftime of the TCU-Texas game. For reasons that are obvious, the special was never shown, every known available copy has been destroyed, and all participants were required to sign nondisclosure agreements.


Dr. Lou is dressed as a pilgrim and stands at center stage.

DR. LOU: Good afternoon everybody. Boy, am I ever excited to throw a Thanksgiving hoedown for all of my most wonderful friends and enemies. This is the time of year that we reflect on the past year and give thanks for what we have through over-eating and racial harmony. Today, I’ve put together a tribute to the very first Thanksgiving. Now, in those days, a Football game took three-and-a-half weeks to complete and often resulted in scores of deaths. And that’s why we liked it!

There’s a knock at the door.

DR. LOU: My heavens, is it time for guests to arrive already? I tell you, my friends are as punctual as a horsefly in August.

The door opens and in walks international superstar Regis Philbin, dressed as a giant turkey. As he joins Dr. Lou on stage, the audience bursts into wild, uproarious applause. Some in the audience, in fact, are so rambunctious in their excitement that studio security has to politely ask them to calm down so the show can continue. After nearly two minutes of standing ovation, it is finally quiet enough for Regis to begin.

REGIS: Gobble, gobble, Dr. Lou!

Another minute-and-a-half of applause.

REGIS: Dr. Lou, I am so proud to be here to celebrate Thanksgiving! What’s for dinner?

DR. LOU: [looks up and down at Regis’s costume] I don’t think you want to know.

Acknowledging laughter from the audience.

REGIS: Lemme guess: horsebeef again?

Huge laugh. The audience is practically crying they’re laughing so hard. Regis can do no wrong in their eyes.

DR. LOU: Well, Reeg, we’re here to give thanks and make friends with the Indians.

REGIS: Indians, like the guy who does my arthroscopic knee surgery and gets me all my pharmaceutical-grade cocai— ?

DR. LOU: Whoa there, Reeg! We’re on TV. You remember what that’s like, don’t you? Here, pop a couple of these red ones and you’ll be fine.

Dr. Lou hands a few pills to Regis, who gobbles them whole.

DR. LOU: No, I mean the Native American Indians, a great race of people with whom we broke bread at the very first Thanksgiving all those many years ago.

Regis’s pupils are suddenly the size of golf balls.

REGIS: Well, holy shit-balls, let’s get going! It sounds absolutely tremendous! This so-called Thanksgiving sounds like it’s OUT OF CONTROL!

The audience — obviously — loves this. Most of them, it’s safe to say, wish this moment would never end. Massive applause.

Then there’s another knock at the door. In walks Tim Tebow, dressed as an Indian, except his warpaint has “John 3:16” written on it. There are a handful of unenthusiastic claps.

TEBOW: Hey, guys, happy Thanksgiving. Thanks for inviting me over for dinner.

REGIS: Look, Dr. Lou! The Tebow! Get him! Is he here to throw us in the volcano?

DR. LOU: Seems you’re battling the Fear, Reeg. Here, have some blue ones.

Dr. Lou again hands Regis some pills, who again swallows them in one gulp.

TEBOW: I thought before we started, I could talk to you guys about the very first Thanksgiving.

DR. LOU: That’s why we’re here.

TEBOW: That’s the day that Jesus fed all the white people in North America with only one turkey and three ears of corn.

REGIS: He lies!

For Regis, the blue pills have only made things worse.

DR. LOU: Son, I’m pretty sure that’s not what Thanksgiving is all about. Jesus didn’t come to America until we defeated the British.

TEBOW: It’s in the Bible.

REGIS: Jesus!? He’s nine feet tall! Can he make it stop?

DR. LOU: You’ll have to excuse my friend here. Usually mescaline takes a lot longer to kick in.

TEBOW: And then, after dinner, Jesus gave America infinite freedom, freedom that lasts forever.

DR. LOU: That’s not how it happened.

TEBOW: Yeah-huh.

DR. LOU: Well, let’s agree to disagree so that you’ll stop talking.

TEBOW: Oh...

DR. LOU: Is that another knock at the door?

It isn’t.

DR: LOU: I said, is that another knock at the door?

There seems to be some confusion behind the door before, without a knock, the door opens and Rich Rodriguez walks in dressed as a cowboy. A few inadvertent laughs come from the audience.

RICHROD: There was a thing... Was I supposed to...?

DR. LOU: Holy cockfight! What are you wearing?

RICHROD: Cowboys and Indians, right? Did I hear your message wrong?

REGIS: What’s wrong with this man, Dr. Lou? He looks, but sees nothing!

RICHROD: I can see fine.

All the small children in the audience are now visibly scared of Regis.

DR. LOU: [laughs it off] Don’t worry about RichRod, guys. He’s just in the wrong costume, like a racoon in a flea circus.

TEBOW: [puts his hand on RichRod’s shoulder] Do you need saving, my son?

RICHROD: Whaa..? No! Get off me! I just, you know, it’s hard now. I have a job where they want me to do stuff, and wear pants pretty much every day. And I hardly ever find the time to throw rocks against my shed anymore. I really miss throwing rocks against my shed.

DR. LOU: Today is a perfect day to take your mind off of your troubles, RichRod. There’s no reason why Pilgrims, Indians, and Cowboys can’t all get along.

RICHROD: Wow, thanks Dr. Lou.

REGIS: [murmuring to himself] Empty inside. Empty inside.

Another knock at the door, and this time it’s Lenny Dykstra, not in a costume, but in a prison jumpsuit and escorted by two police officers.

DYKSTRA: What the fuck, is this a party or what? Where are the bitches?

Audibile groans from the audience.

DR. LOU: Lenny, my old friend. How in the slippery willy did you get here?

DYKSTRA: Special release for Thanksgiving, [spits on the floor] and since my mom’s a bitch I figured I’d stop by here instead. Y’know, free meal.

DR. LOU: Great to have you, Nails. This is the most fantastic Thanksgiving I could have imagined. Good friends, good food—

DYKSTRA: Speaking of which, bro, could we get on with the eating? I have to be back in an hour.

DR. LOU: The turkey’s going to be a little while longer.

DYKSTRA: Ah, what the fuck, bro? I’m fucking starving. I don’t care, I’ll eat it now. I don’t even care if it sucks.

A voice rings out:

VOICE: Anybody home?

Standing in the door are Karl Rove, dressed as a lady-Indian, and Peyton Manning, dressed as a Pilgrim.

DR. LOU: Oh, look, if it isn’t Pro Bowl quarterback Peyton Manning...

Mild applause.

DR. LOU: ...and political strategist Karl Rove!

Even the mention of his name seems to be turning stomachs in the audience.

ROVE: Not Karl, Dr. Lou, Carla.

DR. LOU: Hehe, it’s always nicer to have a purdy lady around.

DYKSTRA: This isn’t what I was talking about when I asked where the bitches were.

PEYTON: It’s an honor to be here to celebrate and honor the very first Thanksgiving.

Regis gets into Karl Rove’s face and points a finger at him.

REGIS: This plump thing is not a lady.

ROVE: [pushes Regis’s hand down] Hey, I’m trying to be discreet here. I just need you guys to play it cool and pretend I’m a woman, okay? If Sheldon Adelson’s goons come around, tell them I was never here.

PEYTON: In that tradition, I would like to, as a Pilgrim, extend my hand to my Indian brothers as we gather for a feast.

DR. LOU: What are you talking about, Peyton?

PEYTON: I’m doing my lines, from the script.

RICHROD: Now there’s a script? Jesus-god.

DR. LOU: We’re kind of going off script here. Off-the-cuff stuff.

PEYTON: This isn’t how we practiced it.

DR. LOU: Well, that is a good point. Maybe we should move onto our song, a wonderful rendition of “Come Ye Thankful People Come.” Now if we could just all gather together and hold hands—

TEBOW: Um, hey, guys.

Everyone turns around toward Tebow. At his feet is an unconscious Regis.

TEBOW: He just fell over. I think he’s probably dead. Heaven’s a better place.

The audience is breathless.

DR. LOU: Poppycock. This happens all the time. He’s fine. All I have to do is give him a quick adrenaline shot to the heart, and he’ll be ready for action. But this is probably a good time to say goodbye to everyone here in the studio and at home. So, here’s wishing everyone a safe and happy holiday season. Happy Thanksgiving everybody!

RichRod, Tebow, Peyton, Rove, Dykstra and his handlers all wave toward the camera as it backs away from the stage and the shot fades out. The last image we see is Dr. Lou jamming a giant needle into the chest of Regis.

The tape cuts out.


Robb Witmer Full is editor-at-large of America-Thrust.