Francis Ellis has been the fastest and brightest rising star at Barstool Sports over the last 18 months. His Variety Show was a hit, his stand up shows are sold out and filled with Stoolies, his blogs are some of the most clicked on the entire network. And it all stemmed from a talent show contest. But there was a time early on that I was pretty sure Francis wasn’t going to last at Barstool. The first year at the Stool was tumultuous to say the least. Franny was coming to terms with the internet roasting him for being rich and intelligent. He was learning how to handle the fact that every move he made was going to be under a microscope and put on blast to millions of people. And he did all of this while being accused of faking cancer.
Amidst his run during Barstool Idol, Francis was told by doctors that he had a malignant polyps in his throat. He ended up sharing this with me while the cameras were recording and opening it up to the entire Barstool audience, and then directly after winning the contest and getting the job, he revealed that it was a big mix up on the doctor’s end and he didnt actually have cancer. Suspicious to say the least. Even as I’m typing it out again, I’m remembering how many seemingly red flags popped up in the way the story unfolded. And over the last year and a half Francis has addressed it here and there, but I thought in todays Behind the Blog interview he articulated it better than he ever has. He was more honest, understanding, and eloquent than he ever has been addressing the cancer cloud that loomed over his career when he first started out.
He also addressed his family’s wealthy background (not what you think it is), and the pretentious Harvard reputation (also not what you think it is). For the vast majority of guys at Barstool, we all are the same. Maybe lived in different cities, maybe grew up with slightly different backgrounds. But for the most part we are all cut from the same cloth, came from the same upbringing, landed this job the same way, and for all intents and purposes, we write the same jokes and deliver the same content. Francis is different in every way from us. From his family down to his scripted videos, hes Barstool’s first departure from what Stoolies got used to for 10-15 years. And it may have taken a year and a half to get them used to that change, but coming from a part owner of the company and a guy who’s welfare is directly tied to the future success of this company, I’m happy people finally got used to the change.