The careers of former quarterbacks Tug Tanner and Tommy Arondall peaked early, and now they find themselves falling from the top of their game to the bottom of their class in sports broadcasting school. Now We’re Talking takes a comedic look at Tug and Tommy’s post-football relationship as they try to find success on a new playing field. They stumble at first, but soon begin to help each other attempt to find some dignity in a not-so-dignified world.
We caught up with the two stars of the show for a discussion about the new series, their longtime friendship, stand-up comedy, and they introduce us to one of the most classic player turned broadcaster meltdowns courtesy of Dan Marino. Here is our interview with Tommy Dewey and Tug Coker.
Do you guys feel like there is always something on at all times recording everything from somewhere?
TD: I try to live my life as if it’s always being recorded…
TD: And fail multiple times.
You guys are on fire with this new webseries Now We’re Talking. Your chemistry is incredible. Have you both been friends through several reincarnations?
TC: We’re on our 4th set of reincarnations. We started out as a turtle and a butterfly and really got tight doing the whole nature thing.
TD: It’s funny and I’m so glad you brought that up because we’ve been friends for so long, and I don’t want to speak for Tug, but I think we had respect for each other’s work beforehand and just hadn’t had the opportunity to work together. So we just decided to scheme a little bit and figure out a way to do it. I’m glad that reads on screen. Because it is in some ways, certainly not in all, but in some ways an extension of our relationship.
What are the origins of the show? Are you both huge sports fans?
TC: Ya, we both are big fans of sports. Tommy grew up in Alabama and basically bleeds all things Crimson Tide. I’m sure he’ll try to talk about that at nauseam in a little bit.
You get one “Roll Tide” during this interview and that’s it!
TD: Wisely, well, I’m going to save it until the end! It’s going to last about a minute and a half though just FYI.
TC: Ya, just to piggy back on what Tommy was saying, we were friends who really liked what each other was doing professionally. And we just wanted to do something together where we could control what we would do together creatively. So when we got together, we both gravitated towards sports and sports broadcasting. I had always thought of this idea and was always intrigued by watching professional athletes finish their careers and go on this journey. Why do some people wind up at ESPN? Why do some people end up on local radio? Why do they end up on local access TV? I found that story to be really interesting and Tommy pitched this idea of the sports broadcasting world. We’ve done a ton of research and have a lot of bits we used for inspiration. You know when you watch sports, the broadcasters get woven into the fabric of the games. What’s funny is, twitter just loves to bash announcers. That’s part of the fun of being on social media is seeing people just destroy someone like a Phil Simms. All of that stuff kind of led us to the show we now have on go90.com
TD: I had read this article about Jerome Bettis working with an opera coach to improve his on-air voice. That image of “The Bus” doing scales or tongue twisters or whatever the hell this opera coach had him do was just inherently comedic. So it felt like a good place to play. What funny is now we are basically NFL retirement age when we started making this show. So there was something about that transitional period that spoke to us. Luckily we’re actors and can do it until we drop dead, if you are an athlete, you can’t. The idea of having to take the thing you love the most and put it aside for something else is scary and interesting. And so on a deeper level it spoke to us in that way.
TC: Yeah, you just see these guy balloon when they leave sports. Like Lenny Dykstra for instance, he’s just like the Goodyear Blimp. And I get it. You spend your entire life just living this ritual everyday – Gym, Smoothie, Shake – and when you’re done and you’ve made millions, you can just mail it in.
TD: Also, you take for granted is that you think you automatically burn calories every day. “It’s funny, I’m eating the same 8000 calories I eat every day for the last 20 years.
TC: Tommy has actually volunteered to get huge for season two so thank you in advance Tommy for putting on 55 lbs.
TD: I’m way to vein. It would never happen.
TC: To quickly go back to a couple of other things that we loved, there’s this great Dan Marino bit that I encourage your readers to go find and watch where Dan is trying to do a broadcast and he mispronounces a name and goes ballistic!
TD: He just smashes a table. And everyone around him is just like, “Calm down Dan.” “It’s just a name bro.”
TC: In the same way he would have gone off on a teammate blowing an assignment he goes off on the table.
TD: It’s ego, because all of the qualities that make you a great quarterback don’t disappear. You bring them into the broadcasting booth where they don’t quite work as well. So that juxtaposition was fascinating for us.