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Nigel Is My Co-Worker

I figured D.C. DCRTV would eventually post this news, but he keeps not doing it (and I don't count the Mailbag), so I gave up and called Nigel to ask him about the news. In fact, the only place on the Web I found the news definitively stated was This Website Stinks, the only site I know of that maintains a Tony Kornheiser message board.

And no, I'm not doing this at the behest of WTWP, the Washington Post or Don Graham, although if they want to slip a little something extra my way I wouldn't complain.

Anyhow, yeah, Marc Sterne, aka Nigel, aka Sterno, aka the undisputed choice as D.C.'s Funniest Sports Celebrity, is joining WTWP. His last day on the Brian Mitchell Show was Friday, live from the Auto Show. Saturday morning, there was no "Baseball Roundup." Sterno will resurface at WTWP as Nigel, who might not be the star of Tony's show but sure sounds funnier than anyone else when he says things like bloody hell.

In honor of the occasion, let's flash back to Sterno's youth, in which he watched war movies, especially the collected works of Errol Flynn, and began picking up various accents: Russian, Spanish, French and [dramatic music] Brit. Plus he liked Monty Python. Fast forward past all the stuff I didn't ask him about. One day on the Kornheiser radio program about two years ago, a news story surfaces about a lion in Africa that engaged in a steel cage match of sorts against 40 midgets. The lion won, convincingly. Although the story turned out to be what we in the biz call "blatant, fabricated lies."

So Sterno and Gary Braun (from Braun Film & Video, and he can tip me too) posit that the story resulted from a bar bet between British chaps, as in "Right, now, 40 midgets would kick the crap out of a lion any time" [said in a Graham Chapman-ish manner], and Tony found this hysterical, and Sterno and Gary did an on-air bit in character, and upon completion of that segment Tony looked at Sterno and informed him that he would henceforth speak only in his Brit voice, and thus, Nigel was born.

And of course, Nigel began doing radio spots, and co-workers regularly asked him to "do a quick Nigel for us," and random people he'd meet in bars would want to hear Nigel's voice, and he became sort of a traveling sideshow.

"It was, like, every single day," Sterno just told me. "At some point I felt like Sulu from Star Trek; like, I'm good at all these other things, but I'm only known for this. Well, George Takei made a lot of money out of playing Sulu. If you find something people love, just embrace it and have fun with it."

(Note: George Takei has a blog. He writes about running. For example:

That notion of the "second wind" seems to be holding true for my career as well this past year. My work schedule seemed to suddenly pick up renewed energy. As the months passed, the pace has ramped up to warp speed. And, I find my intensifying work schedule as invigorating as being back at the helm of the Starship Enterprise going at warp ten.

In other words, George Takei, like Marc Sterne, might be good at many things, but writing isn't one of them.)

Anyhow, Sterno had an emotional final WTEM broadcast on Friday, in which he might have gotten a bit misty, and he'll start at WTWP about a week before the launch of Tony's show, which he'll executive produce. He is also talking about doing various other behind-the-scenes and in-front-of-the-scenes things for WTWP. And since Gary Braun and Andy Pollin have other obligations, Nigel is the only sidekick who's signed up for the new TK show.

"Almost like John Lennon is getting the band back together, and he picked Ringo Star instead of Paul McCartney and George Harrison," Nigel/Sterne said. (I can't remember if this was accented.)

"Working with Tony Kornheiser is a unique opportunity," he said, in press release, non-Nigel style. "He's about as good as it gets in the entire country in terms of radio. He's just the best. To be working for a show I loved for years before I was ever involved with it is a thrill for me. It's so much fun, it's almost not like work."

Not like work? This is something I've never experienced. This blogging thing is backbreaking torture, like, 100 percent of the time. Anyhow, Nigel has done a few commercial spots in the past few months, and plenty of impersonations out at bars, plus that comedy contest, but the Nigel voice hasn't appeared on the air in months.

"As soon as Tony signed off Nigel was gone," Sterno told me. "I said I won't bring him back until Tony comes back. So, we'll ride again, until we get bored with it. I imagine I'll be Nigel from now until I'm 75."

[Note: Sincere apologies if any of this information has previously appeared on the Caps message board, or anywhere else.]

By Dan Steinberg  |  January 30, 2007; 3:03 PM ET
Categories:  Media  
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