That’s really all I can say – Wow.
I’ll use a bit of my journalism background (one class my sophomore year of college) and not bury the lead here before I get into my story:
I’m joining Barstool Sports.
I’m thrilled about it. Truly never been more excited for just about anything in my life besides my wedding last September (Love you, RC, and a funny bit on that later).
But “wow” is really all that’s been going through my mind since over two weeks ago when I linked up with the PMT crew to film a video in Indy at the Combine. From that point I’m on the phone with Dave, then I’m on a flight to New York, then I’m sitting in Dave and Erika’s offices discussing me joining the team.
A year ago I was just another 25-year-old media guy just trying to separate himself from the hundreds of thousands of other dudes and young ladies who want to talk sports or making people laugh for a living.
Now, in a matter of what feels like weeks, I’m joining the best and funniest media company in the world.
It happened fast, but not as fast at what some “haters” like to think. This hasn’t been overnight success bullshit. I’ll get to that, too.
But to start, here’s a little bit about me, how I got here, why I’m so excited about being here, and why what I do is so important to me.
I’m 26 years old. Born and raised on the south side of Indianapolis. It’s a real “know everyone, everywhere you go” type of place. I love it. That place and the people there will always be home to me.
I’m married (obviously, still funny story to come about that), and I have two cats – Ruby and Remy (pictured below, Ruby is top left, Remy is bottom right).
The trio is the loves of my life, and yes, I think we’re going to start an Instagram account for the cats when we move to NYC. Please feel free to drop me some account name suggestions, but remember my lady has final say.
My favorite teams are an interesting array for sure. Dave even said so when I was in New York.
I’m a diehard Pittsburgh Steelers, Indiana Pacers, and Chicago Cubs fan.
Three different cities for each of my main three sports.
My dad grew up in the 70’s when the Colts weren’t here so obviously he started liking the Steelers because eh, four Super Bowls why wouldn’t you? Passed it down to me. Big Ben still has a Super Bowl run in him.
Pacers? Obviously we grow basketball in Indiana and anyone outside the state pictures Hoosiers playing pickup games in farms while wearing Chuck Taylors so you’re kinda raised that way here.
The Cubs? Indianapolis is only a little over three hours away from Chicago, and yes I was a fan before 2016, but who really gives a shit about that? If you want to bandwagon then bandwagon. I don’t care.
Which is a perfect segue for my college teams because I’m now an LSU fan.
What a magical season. Joe Burrow. COACH O. How could you not fall in love with the Tigers? That plus their fan base and media haven’t been anything but great to me about what I do (shoutout Jordy, T-Bob, and Tiger Nation).
I think it’s totally fair because, like I said, I can’t stand people who get worked up about “Bandwagon fans”.
ALSO, I’m a Purdue fan so it kind of evens out. Sorry Boilers. I love you. Mad Mush cheesy bread is my go-to, Where Else is where it goes down, and there’s absolutely nothing like day drinking at Harry’s. Hell, I even proposed to my wife outside of Ross-Ade.
No hard feelings.
Which brings me to my next point about how I got here.
I’ve actually come full-circle. Remember when Pat McAfee started what became Barstool Heartland three years ago?
I was an intern there.
Yep. Spent my spring and summer of 2017 being a pseudo-Barstool intern.
Remember that funny story I said I’d tell about my wife? We met because of that internship.
Interviewed together, worked on projects together over the summer, started dating, and got engaged that next spring.
Your move, Hank and Ria.
I got that internship because right around that time over three years ago me and my buddy, the most handsome man in comedy, Ben Polizzi started trying to make funny videos all with the intent that this is what we wanted to do with our lives.
So, since then, that’s what I’ve been doing. Creating, trying to make people laugh, failing, not getting traction, figuring out my persona, my “brand” if you will, and luckily it’s landed me here to this point.
I’ve asked myself so many damn times, “is this worth it? Am I supposed to be doing this? Should I give up, get a more ‘corporate job’ and make good money?”
But every time I would think those thoughts, I would stop myself then try to come up with the next skit, character, impression, because on a real level, doing this is what I believe is my purpose in life.
Which brings me to one of my final points about me, and shit, I think, is about to get real.
I graduated from college with a communications degree in the summer of 2016. Of course, and much to my unreasonable surprise at the time, I couldn’t land a job. Couldn’t land a job in media. No radio stations, definitely no TV stations, I couldn’t find shit.
So I started delivering chips at the crack of dawn for my grandpa’s chip company. It was good pay for a 22-year-old. It was fairly easy work. But one day I was stocking the shelves at a local grocery, and a middle-aged guy from a competitor company was stocking shelves with his chips as well.
He started telling me how he got into that business when he was my age and that he’d been in it ever since. And for whatever reason in that moment it hit me that I can’t allow that to be me.
There has to be more of a purpose in this life than stocking shelves to survive.
And don’t get me wrong. Any job that supplies for your family is a good, respectable profession. If you get up everyday and put in the “daily grind” then I have much, much respect for you.
But as a 22-year-old who felt like he could be looking at a future reflection of himself if he settled in and got comfortable not pushing myself for anything, it struck me that I had to find more of a purpose for my time on this earth.
Now, I’ve always had the desire to make people laugh. I’ve always had the desire to be creative, be funny, make skits, videos, movies, write jokes, ever since I was a teenager.
But it wasn’t until I saw the Chris Farley documentary that it really struck a chord with me. In that documentary one of Farley’s friends talks about how they always used to read The Clown’s Prayer before they performed.
I’ve been catholic my whole life, went to catholic schools, my family is catholic, but I had never heard of The Clown’s Prayer. If you aren’t yet familiar either, here it is:
“Lord, as I stumble through this life, help me to create more laughter than tears, dispense more happiness than gloom, spread more cheer than despair. Never let me become so indifferent that I will fail to see the wonder in the eyes of a child or the twinkle in the eyes of the aged. Never let me forget that my total effort is to cheer people, make them happy and forget at least for a moment all the unpleasant things in their lives. And, Lord, in my final moment, may I hear you whisper: ‘When you made My people smile, you made me smile.’
What a fucking line.
No matter what you believe in. That’s the first thing you hear in your first moments of afterlife? Not to mention the line “Never let me forget that my total effort is to cheer people, make them happy”.
That’s when it hit. It was a total game-changer. Since that point that’s what I’ve been trying to do – make people smile, and it’s led me here.
That’s what I’ll continue to try to do while working at Barstool whether it’s through the same videos, skits, impressions, blogs, or even TikToks.
I’m so glad to be here. I’m so thankful to Dave and Erika for welcoming not only me but my wife, too. I used to send Big Cat emails when I was 21 trying to somehow land an internship here. Even while I’m writing my first piece for the company, I have to sit back and remind myself that I’m a part of Barstool Sports.
All I can think is – ‘Wow”.