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The Tony Kornheiser Show is a sports radio talk show out of Washington, D.C.marker hosted by Tony Kornheiser, which appeared on WTEM from 1992 to 1997; on ESPN Radio between 1998 and 2004; back on WTEM from 2004 to 2006; and on WTWPmarker and then WWWT in 2007 and 2008; and back on WTEM since September 8, 2009.

The show also appeared on XM Satellite Radio between February 28, 2005 and April 28, 2006, between March 5, 2007 and June 28, 2007, and between January 21, 2008 and June 27, 2008.

History

WTEM (1992-1997)

When The Tony Kornheiser Show launched on May 25, 1992, the show was originally produced by Mitch Levy. The sports director on WTEM, Andy Pollin, was both sidekick and news reporter of the show. Gregory Thomas Garcia (who would later create the sitcom My Name is Earl) worked as a board op on the show, and later ascended to producer of the show. When Garcia left the show, Gary Braun became his producer.

At the beginning, Kornheiser basically had two rules and a mission statement:

  • No athletes as guests because Kornheiser thought their interviews are boring and hard to get the points Kornheiser wants.
  • When callers called in, Kornheiser requested them to go straight to the topic without pleasantries. If a caller asks "how are you doing?" a "Banned from the Tony Kornheiser Show" soundbite would be played and that call would end.
  • Kornheiser's mission statement: help your friend, crush your enemy and have free food.


Kornheiser dislikes "how are you doing?" to start a call; he prefers that callers and e-mailers have funny and creative comments: John from D.C. always said "T.K. Stack Money" when he called in; Steve the Sycophant from Virginia, always said "Tony, my liege and idol" on the phone.

When Andy Pollin did the news update, Kornheiser often interrupted him with his comments on the news. During the first few years, Kornheiser would let a then WTEM traffic reporter Janet Elliott (then called Janet Delaney or Janet O'Connor, and also known as Janet "From Another Planet") sing show tunes in a segment and then praise her. During the show, the sales representatives of WTEM sent free food to the studio, which prompted Kornheiser to say, "This show is about free food." If the food was not delivered on time, Kornheiser would go ballistic on the air.

Because Kornheiser needed to focus on writing his Style column in the Washington Post weekly, he usually did not host the show on Thursdays. Usually Andy Pollin, the Sports Director at WTEM, would guest-host Tony's Show on Thursdays. Between November 1995 and December 1996, Warner Wolf was named the guest host of the Tony Kornheiser Show on Thursdays until he moved to New Yorkmarker as a sports anchor on WCBS-TVmarker. Other Thursday guest hosts were Kevin Kiley, Johnny Holliday, the voice of the Maryland Terrapins, Al Koken, etc.

Late in this tenure, Kornheiser started to read emails from his listeners. This segment was called Tony's Mailbag. The jingle introducing the segment was sung by Gary Braun, a member of the original incarnation of the show. he always ended his radio show by saying "If you're out on your bike tonight, do wear white" as a tribute to the Rolling Stones.

The last show before he moved to ESPN Radio was broadcast on November 14, 1997.

ESPN Radio (1998-2004)

The Tony Kornheiser Show on ESPN Radio debuted on January 5, 1998. The show aired between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. ET. The original producer was Denis Horgan, Jr. and the sports update was anchored by Dan 'The Duke' Davis. Because of Kornheiser's duties in The Washington Post, The Tony Kornheiser Show had two studios: one in Washington, D.C.marker where Kornheiser and Pollin lived and the other in Bristol, Connecticutmarker, where the producing staff and Davis stayed.

One of the features of the show was that when Davis reported the updates, Kornheiser would interrupt the Duke's updates and make comments. At first the Duke was not amused with Kornheiser's interruptions and it took Davis a while to get used to it. Later on they found chemistry and Tony described the Duke as the glue of the show.

During the first two years, Kornheiser did not host the show when he wrote a column for ESPN The Magazine. Andy Pollin, Bob Ryan of The Boston Globe, or others would guest-host the show.

On November 16, 1998, WTEM moved The Tony Kornheiser Show to the 4-7 p.m. slot as a tape delay show. Kornheiser did not like the idea because he would lose the callers from the WTEM broadcasting area.

On September 13, 1999, ESPN radio moved The Tony Kornheiser Show to his favorite 10 a.m.-1 p.m. ET slot to make room for The Dan Patrick Show. WTEM accommodated the move by reducing The Jim Rome Show to 2 hours. Jim Rome was furious at the move. He voiced his displeasure on the air, attacked Kornheiser and demanded WTEM give him his third hour back. Kornheiser responded to Rome's attack by his usual sarcastic humor. The producing staff of The Tony Kornheiser Show even played several Rome parodies. The "Snackdown" was one of the most famous parodies in the history of The Tony Kornheiser Show. Two phrases, "Clahhsic!" and "Epic!", both said in a tone mocking Rome, became the staples of The Tony Kornheiser Show. Also, Kornheiser's nickname "Mr. Kornmissioner" was derived from this segment. Kornheiser also mocks Rome's "tour stops" from time to time on his show, and states that Rome's "takes" are not his own opinions, but rather made-up opinions from staff members that he pays to write his takes.

Tony's Mailbag concluded the show on ESPN Radio with Kornheiser reading emails from his listeners. The jingle introducing the segment still used the version sung by Gary Braun. The music that plays in the background during this segment is "Tea for Two Cha Cha" by Roy Battle (pronounced Bah-tell by Tony) and the Altones. The band is dubbed "The official house band of the Tony Kornheiser Show". Later on, Gadget White and opera singer Denyce Graves created alternate opening jingles for this segment. Although Roy Battle and the Altones were dubbed "The official house band of the Tony Kornheiser Show" there was in fact another local rock band that really made the show. “Wolf-Spider!” a local rock band from Washington DC was dubbed the official Rock Band For The Tony's Show and ESPN Radio. He would play tracks from their CDs on a daily basis. The band was discovered after he had a plumbing problem at his house in DC and a plumber that Tony later referred to as “Jim The Plumber” showed up to clear his drain and handed him a CD and within a week the music was a regular part of the show.

Although The Tony Kornheiser Show is a sports-talk show, Kornheiser spends a lot of segments discussing current events, music, entertainment and life surrounding himself, including his dog, Maggie. During Fridays Tony would discuss movies with either Stephen Hunter or Joe Barber of WTOP. His love of the music in 1960s insprired a radio segment called Old Guy Radio. His other-stuff talk makes his talk show much more interesting when there is no big sports event. In essence, his non-sports talk becomes a talk show version of his Washington Post Style Section columns. A collection of memorable clips of witty, sarcastic, or funny sayings from famous movies, television shows, callers, interviewees, and cast members have been turned into sound bites that are played regularly on the show, depending on the situation and circumstance.

Kornheiser, a self-admitted agitator stemming from his time as a young adult in the late 1960s, would do many things to provoke wrath from his bosses, fellow ESPN employees, (especially the on-air TV "heads") and from ESPN Radio's usual core audience, which only wanted intense sports talk as opposed to stories about how to cook a chicken, his mischievous Brittany spaniel, Maggie, whether or not the Packers would win on Sunday (a statement used by emailers to mock hardcore sports fans which exists to this day), or him kvetching about the people he dislikes, his old age, his kids, and his lack of hair.

The on-air TV "heads" were featured prominently on the show in a comedic game called the ESPN Fantasy Head League. It is based on fantasy sports leagues, except the athletes consist only of ESPN/ABC sports personalities. The people who appeared regularly on the show (Andy, Phil Ceppaglia, Kevin Stanfield, Ray Necci and Kornheiser himself) participated in a mock fantasy draft of the on-air personalities, which featured people such as Dan Patrick, Mike Tirico, Stuart Scott, Dana Jacobson, and Neil Everett. Each person on the show would earn points for the types of shows each head appeared on. More points were given to higher profile spots, such as the 11 p.m. SportsCenter, or an ABC Sports program. Proof of his aggitative nature occurred during his second mock fantasy draft. Management heard about the draft and immediately pulled the activity while Tony's show was in commercial.

In late 2001, Kornheiser decided to leave the microphones on when his show went to a commercial break, as a treat to his internet radio listeners. The result was the infamous yet wildly popular "Internet Show", where online listeners could hear what the people on the show really thought about sports, entertainment, politics, and other stuff.

Two popular internet show segments involved Rich Eisen telling the Bea Arthur joke, and Kornheiser ripping an angry emailer who proclaimed that he hated Tony's show. Eisen heard the Bea Arthur joke at the Friar's Club comedy roast of Jerry Stiller in 1999, where the joke was told by Jeffrey Ross. Kornheiser's tirade against the angry emailer, red89hawk@aol.com, was peppered with foul language and vitriolic sentiment, a hallmark of the Internet Show, and Kornheiser's rants in general. The red89hawk segment also featured an E-mail Jihad, a barrage of angry emails from listeners directed at the person criticizing Kornheiser. The Internet Show was a forum of real emotions from real people engaging in informal conversations, and would regularly contain explicit topics and foul language. As Kornheiser once said during the Rich Eisen internet show segment, "That's why we always say, this is the X-Rated portion of the show."

The Internet Show was cancelled on January 4, 2002 when it was alleged that racist remarks were made during one of the segments. It was reinstated in February 2002. The Internet Show was pulled off the air for good in the summer of 2002, when show producer Denis Horgan Jr., a friend of Kornheiser, was fired for inappropriate e-mail conduct. Tony criticized management on the air for Horgan's firing, and was subsequently suspended from ESPN Radio for one week. This suspension became known as Kornheiser's "Vacation" when the topic of his "disappearance" arose. The continuous arguments with ESPN Radio management led to Kornheiser's departure.

Ray Necci replaced Horgan as the show's producer in the summer of 2002. 14 months later, Chadd Scott replaced Necci as producer. Kornheiser's last show on ESPN Radio was aired on March 26, 2004.

WTEM (2004-2006) and Extreme XM (2005-2006)

On November 10, 2004, Kornheiser returned to WTEM with the cast of
  • Andy Pollin (co-host and news reporter)
  • Gary Braun (co-host)
  • Keven Sheehan (news reporter)
  • Marc Sterne (producer, who is nicknamed "Nigel" and uses a British accent. His authenticity was questioned on March 24, 2006, but had proof that he was from England, showing his English Badge on Channel 8. However, the authenticity of his daily appearances on Channel 8 is also in extreme doubt, so the mystery remains). Actually, the origins of the "Nigel" character can be traced to an episode of the show in which Tony was reflecting on a story he'd seen the night before that was similar to the kind of contests on Man vs. Beast, a Mr. Tony favorite. Gary Braun said that he and Marc Sterne had reconstructed the origins of story (it was something from England involving midgets and lions or something like that). Braun and Sterne then launched into a very funny skit in which essentially, this story was the result of an English bar bet. But, so taken was Tony with Sterne's British accent that he asked him to read all the sports updates in that accent. He nicknamed that character "Nigel" and after a while, ceased referring to Sterne by his actual name, and referred to him exclusively as "Nigel". From time to time, actual Englishmen would write into the show asking after Nigel's credentials saying things like: "He sounds a little like Dick Van Dyke in Mary Poppins, is he for real?" at which point Tony, ever the one to push the inside joke, insisted that not only was Nigel for real, but he was in the country illegally. This incident is typical of the show, in that it is a long-running inside joke that the listener has to have been in on for some time. (The mocking of Jim Rome and the constant references to the non-existent simulcast on Channel 8, two of the others.)


The show was heard online on SportsTalk 980 from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. ET, after which the show was repeated until 1 p.m. ET. XM Satellite Radio began broadcasting the show on February 28, 2005 from 11 a.m. through 1 p.m. on Extreme XM. Since Clear Channel programs Extreme, Kornheiser was not compensated for this additional venue.

In this tenure, The Tony Kornheiser Show included a sports score update segment that was called "Andy Polley's Happy Funtime Sports Extravaganza". The Extravaganza was usually the sports update at 20 minutes past the hour during the second hour of the show, and was introduced by carnival music and a random soundbite from the show's database. Also, Darius Rucker of Hootie and the Blowfish recorded another version of the opening jingle for Tony's Mailbag.

During this time, the holdovers from the ESPN message board days, referred to as bloggers by Kornheiser, held a members-only golf tournament on August 1, 2005. Kornheiser spent time in the months before the tournament, which he dubbed "The First and Last Annual Nerds in Paradise Golf Closed Invitational" (derided by Gary Braun using the acronym "FAGLAP"), trying to make deals with golf courses and hotels in the Washington DC area for the best deal. Finally, the winning host emerged as Reston National Golf Club, in Reston, Virginiamarker. They, led by hotel manager Mark Driscoll, gave the bloggers the "Mr. Tony Treatment," including an extravagant dinner after the golfing that evening. To the shock of people like Andy Polley and Kevin Stanfield, noted curmudgeon Kornheiser was visibly moved by the whole affair. Some of the better-known bloggers that attended were AJ in Nashville, Korry in Virginia and Brandon Borzelli, who Kornheiser noted wrote the funniest emails in the show's history .

The Tony Kornheiser Show on WTEM ended on April 28, 2006 so that Kornheiser could change his sleep schedule to accommodate his future role as the color analyst on ESPN's Monday Night Football. Kornheiser had stated that he planned on returning to radio after the NFL Football Season. From time to time, Kornheiser would call in to his replacements, Andy Pollin and Steve Czaban, to discuss matters such as The Sopranos, American Idol, and 24.

WTWP/WWWT and XM Sports Nation (2007 and 2008)

After completing the 2006 season on ESPN's Monday Night Football, Kornheiser considered offers from WTEM and WTWPmarker to return to the Washington, DCmarker area radio airwaves.

On January 23, 2007, Kornheiser decided to go to WTWPmarker to host The Tony Kornheiser Show. Effective February 20, 2007, The Tony Kornheiser Show aired live on weekdays from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m., with a repeat that aired immediately afterward (on Fridays the last half-hour was preempted by The Politics Program). WTWPmarker is owned by Bonneville International and programmed in conjunction with The Washington Post.

The deciding factor for Kornheiser to join WTWPmarker was his desire to work for a station affiliated with The Washington Post, where he had been since 1979.

For the new incarnation of the show, Kornheiser retained Marc "Nigel" Sterne as producer. Andy Pollin and Gary Braun remained at WTEM and Triple X ESPN Radiomarker, respectively. The main cast of the show included:
  • Brennan Haselton, the news reporter.
  • Joe Barber, the entertainment editor of WTOP.
  • David Aldridge of The Philadelphia Inquirer and TNT when Barber is away.
  • Jeanne McManus, former food editor of The Washington Post, a.k.a. "my dear friend Nancy" in Kornheiser's Washington Post Style columns.
McManus appeared on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. In McManus' absence, Sally Jenkins, Liz Clarke, Tracee Hamilton of The Washington Post, or Janet Elliott would fill in. Kevin Stanfield filled in when either Barber or Aldridge was away. Arch Campbell, movie critic of WJLA-TVmarker, and John Feinstein also made cameo appearances as co-hosts. On May 9, 2007, for the first time in the show's history on WTWPmarker, there were only female co-hosts when McManus and Clarke co-hosted the show with Kornheiser. Before that show, Clarke said Kornheiser was in the middle of "the estrogen sandwich." It happened again the next day when Hamilton and Jenkins were co-hosts, where Kornheiser called himself "the meat of the estrogen sandwich."

Several frequent guests on the show had been limited by their affiliation with ESPN; Kornheiser had stated on-air (most recently on March 13, 2007) that ESPN management enacted a policy that prevents ESPN employees and commentators—the majority of whose work appears on ESPN—from appearing as guests on stations that compete with ESPN Radio affiliates. ESPN has since relaxed this limitation as it applies to Kornheiser. Before speaking with Mel Kiper, Jr. on April 10, 2007, Kornheiser said, "we have dispensation to have a certain amount of ESPN people on."

Because the show was broadcast on a long-form talk radio station, Kornheiser was not required to focus primarily on sports. As a result, this incarnation of the show focused more on pop culture, entertainment, news headlines, and the daily lives of Tony and his co-hosts. The last show in 2007 was on June 28, 2007 signalling Tony's return to the Monday Night Football booth for the 2007 season. Kornheiser vowed to return to WTWP in 2008 and "do the radio seriously." As a tradition when quitting the show from ESPN Radio and WTEM, the last show before hiatus ended by playing "Famous Last Words" by Billy Joel. With the demise of Washington Post Radio on WTWP, and the Post affiliation being the key reason Kornheiser joined the station, it was initially unclear whether or not the show would return. However, Kornheiser agreed to return to the station, now known as WWWT, beginning January 21, 2008. The show aired live from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. and is replayed from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.

The Tony Kornheiser Show also aired on XM Satellite Radio Channel 144, and was available in the United States and Canada, from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. from March 5, 2007 to June 28, 2007. XM carried the show again, in a live time slot (8-10 a.m.) between January 21, 2008 and June 27, 2008.

Starting with the January 23, 2008 edition of the show on 3WT, various listeners and celebrities would do the opening voiceover for the show. Tony aired his dislike of the current 3WT voiceover guy on the January 22, 2008 edition of the show. As a result, he invited his listeners to record an mp3 of the opening sequence ("Previously on the Tony Kornheiser Show..." and "The Tony Kornheiser Show is on now, on 3WT") and submit that recording to Nigel. The list of contributors has included:

-Bill Lehecka (Frequent E-Mailer)

-Neil in Rockville (Frequent E-Mailer)

-Dan Levy (Frequent E-Mailer and creator of "Phil's Mom" charity merchandise)

-Wesley Shears & son Cowen (Frequent E-Mailer)

-Carla Corroto (Frequent E-Mailer)

-Greg Tantum (3WT program director)

-Washington D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty

-An anonymous sultry female voice

-Christopher Walken (Marc "Nigel" Sterne's impression of the actor)

-David Creek (Listener)

-Isaac McKeithen (Listener)

-Nick Mielke (listener)

-Roger in England (Frequent E-Mailer)

-Dennis Bounds (one of the chief newscasters for Seattle's KING-TVmarker)

The Tony Kornheiser Show went off the air on June 27, 2008 as Kornheiser prepared for Monday Night Football. However, on August 11, 2008, because of the format change, WWWT was cancelled and Bonniville stated it no longer will air The Tony Kornheiser Show. In a recent interview with Dan Levy, it was revealed that The Tony Kornheiser Show will not return to the airwaves until Kornheiser is no longer contractually obligated to Monday Night Football.

WTEM (2009 - current)

On May 18, 2009, ESPN announced that Kornheiser stepped down from the Monday Night Football booth and was replaced by former Oakland Raiders and Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Jon Gruden, which swirled a lot of rumors where Kornheiser would host a radio show. Then Kornheiser decided to return to WTEM, which was broken on Twitter by Jim Zinzi, a longtime Kornheiser listener whose wife ran into Kornheiser at the beach. Effective September 8, 2009, The Tony Kornheiser Show aired live on weekdays from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.

The current incarnation retains the "softcore sports talk format" from the previous one at 3WT. On every show, Kornheiser and producer "Nigel" are joined by two rotating co-hosts, usually a "guy chair" and a "chick chair." The main cast of characters include:



Other notable characters include:
  • Andy Pollin, co-host of WTEM 's The Sports Reporters, substitutes as a news reporter when Sheehan is away.
  • Lindsay Czarniak, sports anchor of Washington's NBCmarker station, serves as an occasional guest co-host.


The new incarnation also saw the debut of several new features, including:

  • Daily PTI preview with PTI producer Matt Kelliher
  • Every Friday during the football season, Ron Jaworski and James Carville offer their picks to select NFL and college football games. Jaworski's picks are then compared against those of the show's resident monkey Reginald in a showdown called "Jaws vs. the Monkey."


Frequent guests



Famous catch phrases, references, and soundbites

  • Affirmation Baby! or (insert word ending with -tion) Baby!: Kornheiser's running gag based on Stuart Scott's catch phrase "Affirmation Baby!" The phrase was derived from a game of celebrity basketball, during which Scott and Michael Jordan were on the same team. Scott fed Jordan an assist, who promptly executed a dunk. After the basket was scored, Scott gazed and waited for Jordan to turn around and acknowledge him. When Jordan finally turned around and pointed his finger at Scott, Scott uttered the phrase "Affirmation Baby!".


  • Andy Polley: Andy Pollin's nickname on the show. The name "Polley" is in reference to an irate caller who called the show and screamed "Andy Pollin, you are an idiot!" after he heard Pollin's comments of Rafael Palmeiro. However, the caller mispronounced Pollin's last name as Polley. Denis Horgan, Jr. recorded the "Andy Polley" soundbite and the staff often played it on the show when Andy Pollin speaks. The nickname has stuck ever since.


  • The Animal Revolution: The idea that animals—who are threatened by the expansion of the human population, and the encroachment of cities and suburbs upon their habitats—are revolting against humans. Examples include rabid otters chasing golfers on the course, captive lions on top of a Mexican meat processing plant killing a man attempting to feed them, cats growing wings as the precursor to an animal air force, alligators banging on doors in South Florida and the "rat in the mouth" story. Brennan frequently fills the news updates with animal-centric stories to fuel this particular source of comedy.


  • Banned from the Tony Kornheiser Show: when a caller asked "how are you doing?" this soundbite would come up and the call was off. There were three versions of the "Banned from the Tony Kornheiser Show" soundbite. The first two versions were recorded by the WTEM station announcer and a caller during Kornheiser's first tenure on WTEM. Charley Steiner recorded the third version when The Tony Kornheiser Show was on ESPN radio.




  • Buried Like Cheese: Kornheiser's phrase for a situation in which someone or something is cut down at the knees, crushed, destroyed, eliminated, humiliated, etc. ("_____ was buried like cheese")


  • Clean out the mouse cages, Harry, and carry the urine specimens upstairs: Purported title of Kornheiser's upcoming novel in which he crushes his enemies. The "Harry" in question is believed to be Harry Jaffe of Washingtonian Magazine, who claimed that Kornheiser was unavailable to comment on a story he was writing, where in fact he had never contacted Kornheiser. Some chapter headings suggested by the Littles include:




  • The Cheese Boy: Dan Steinberg's nickname by Kornheiser. Steinberg does blogs called D.C. Sports Bog on the website of The Washington Post and his blog takes over Kornheiser's columnette space on the paper. Kornheiser complained about it to Andy Pollin on Pollin's show on WTEM and called Steinberg "the Cheese Boy" because Kornheiser thought Steinberg only wrote about "cheese" every day during the 2006 Winter Olympics. Later Steinberg called Kornheiser "The Bear" because Kornheiser warned him on the radio not to poke the bear.


  • Clahhsic!, Epic!, Tour Stops and Takes: the terms said in a tone mocking Jim Rome.


  • DC CAP : DC College Access Program, a charity which Kornheiser and Wilbon often talk about that assists DC students in acquiring funds to go to college. This charity is the beneficiary of their annual golf tournament. Additionally, listener and e-mailer Dan Levy has created an extensive line of DC CAP charity merchandise related to the TK Show, which includes everything from “I Roll With Phil’s Mom” t-shirts and bumper stickers to “Wilbon’s America” coffee mugs.


  • Death Star Radio: A term used by Kornheiser to describe the show and its host station, WTWP. If he mentions it leading to an ad break, it is often accompanied by the Imperial March from The Empire Strikes Back. The term originates from a segment of the show where Tony recounts a Washington Post article detailing the possibility of a catastrophic, thermo-nuclear explosion of a giant, unstable star close to Earth. Mainly, this functions currently when Mr. Tony feels he needs to rant about people he hates and Nigel cuts in with the "Imperial March."


  • E-mail Machine: since Kornheiser did not know how an e-mail worked and always got e-mails from the fax machine sent by the ESPN Radio producing staff before the Tony's Mailbag segment, Kornheiser described the fax machine or the computer as the e-mail machine.




  • FAGLAP: not-quite-accurate acronym for the message board-created golf tournament in which TK, Gary and Andy participated in on August 1, 2005. in Reston, VA, at Reston National Golf Club. The "official" name of the tournament, as given by Kornheiser, was "The First and Last Annual Nerds in Paradise Golf Closed Invitational."


  • Fat, Bald and White or Fat, Bald and Orange: another self-depreciating description of Kornheiser. Originally he mentioned himself as "fat, bald and white." After PTI was launched, some listeners noticed that his face looked orange on TV and began to call him "fat, bald and orange."


  • Gettin' It Done: A phrase used to describe a woman that is still considered sexy or attractive at an advanced age (i.e. Helen Mirren is still gettin' it done!). The phrase is also used for someone or something that is exceeding all expectations.


  • The Golden Boy: Kornheiser's description of Dan Patrick.


  • Google It or Hit the Google Key or Use the Google Key: Kornheiser's way of asking Phil Ceppaglia to use Google to search for a specific topic.


  • A Haiku: A Haiku is originally a form of Japanese poetry. Traditionally a haiku consisted of a pattern of 5, 7, and 5 syllables. This form of poetry has become a staple of the daily e-mail reads during Tony’s Mailbag. Though many listeners submit Haikus, the current poet laureate of the show is “Shad from DC.”




  • Hitler? Who said anything about Hitler?: A catch phrase from The Producers, often used by Gilbert Gotfried, that Kornheiser often says during off-beat, comedic segments of the show.


  • I believe I had that: Kornheiser's standard acknowledgement that he'd predicted or called a certain development; see, for example, the ultimate veracity of the balloon boy hoax. The development need not be particularly surprising.


  • If you're out on your bike tonight, do wear white: Kornheiser's signature sign-off, which is from the Rolling Stones' song, "Something Happened To Me Yesterday."


  • Junior: Tony's nickname for John Feinstein. The nickname originated when Tony likened Feinstein's bad temper to that of John McEnroe, Jr.. Two "Junior" soundbites exist on the show, one of which is Sean Connery asking where Junior is in Indiana Jones ("Junior?"), and the other is of Connery screaming "Junior!" from the same movie. Another Tony nickname for John was "Little Sheriff Feinstein."


  • Kim Jong-il: Kim reportedly aced five holes and shot 38 under par in a June 2004 golf tournament. As a result, he is frequently referenced in the show during comedic and off-beat segments for his prolific golfing skills. His skills are often exaggerated for laughs.


  • Leave Britney Alone: The soundbite from Chris Crocker's youtube video is frequently played when the subject of Britney Spears' career is discussed.


  • The Littles: The nickname for the radio show listeners.


  • Malter Time!: The rally call at the end of a speech Mr. Tony made when he was running to be host of the show.


  • Mr. Kornmissioner: when Kornheiser hosted either a mock draft or Snackdown, one of his callers called him Mr. Kornmissioner.


  • Mr. Tony: Kornheiser's nickname. The nickname is derived from the Mr. Tony Experience. This nickname is sometimes intentionally misspelled by emailers as Mr. Toby.


  • Mr. Tony Experience: Much like how Wilbon's America describes the lifestyle of Michael Wilbon, the Mr. Tony Experience describes the lifestyle of Kornheiser, which includes activities such as going to sleep by 9 p.m. and waking at 5 a.m. to walk the dog, being afraid of flying or anything remotely dangerous, carrying a stun gun and wearing an orange cape, lifting one-pound weights in the morning, begging various sponsors and people for free food and gift bags, eating at The Palm, begging for product, begging for a Pontiac Solstice, being invited to major political/entertainment events and dinners but rarely attending, believing that chimpanzees equate to sheer comedy, being spotted by famous celebrities and political figures for being the host of PTI, drinking Johnny Walker Blue, joking about Linda Cohn's twelve toes and how she got them the hard way (A set of 7 and a set of 5), loving women who drink and smoke, being technologically inept, and kvetching about being fat, bald, orange or anything in general.


  • Naked Mole Rat: Kornheiser's derogatory nickname for D.C. media blogger Dave Hughes.


  • No, Tony or Yes, Tony: soundbites played during certain occasions when Kornheiser is wrong or right about something. The voice of both soundbites is David Aldridge.




  • Old People's Network (OPN): A fictitious network that broadcasts programming geared for elderly men and women. Viagra and Geritol commercials are frequently seen on the network. Some of the shows on OPN include:
    • Listen Up: A game show where Wink Martindale whispers a phrase, and the first contestant to hear the phrase and repeat it wins a prize.
    • Lost: A reality show where elderly people are placed in random locations, and they must find their way back to the assisted-living home while only being able to mutter two phrases, "Do you know who I am?" and "Where's the cake?"
    • When Did That Happen?: A show based around the concept of kvetching about and wondering when high-tech gadgets and advancements in technology (i.e. Bluetooth sets, cell phones, etc) came about.


  • Passport Nissan's Altima: Advertisements were made for the new car in the summer of 2007, in which it gets,"34 miles per gallon and has more cool features than the Camry or Accord." The car is jokingly referenced to during news segments in which cars are involved, such as "OJ would have escaped if he was driving Passport Nissan's new Altima."


  • Phil the Showkiller: Phil Ceppaglia's nickname. The name was born when Ceppaglia mistakenly passed along to Kornheiser the wrong hometown for a caller. When the caller corrected his hometown on-air, Kornheiser began lambasting Ceppaglia and called him a showkiller, saying, "Phil, you're killing the show!"




  • Rolling With Phil's Mom: This phrase refers to Ceppaglia's mother, who blindly picked George Masonmarker, a Cinderella team no one expected to even make the 2006 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament, to win the National Championship. Due to George Mason's stunning run through the tournament, her pick turned out to be far more accurate than anyone thought, which led to Tony's listeners jumping on the bandwagon and proclaiming that they "Roll with Phil's Mom".


  • Rat in the mouth: A news story about a 90 year old man in a nursing home stuck with a dead rat in his mouth. Is made fun of often and is cited as an example of animals' rebelling against humans.


  • Sales Weasels: Kornheiser's description of the sales staff at WTEM.


  • Satchmo: Satchmo is Louis Armstrong's nickname. Kornheiser thought it was a cool nickname and he wanted to be nicknamed "Satchmo". The e-mailers began to call him Satchmo.


  • The Scarlett Johansson Getaway Bag: Bag that must be packed in the event that Scarlett Johansson comes knocking at your door.




  • This show is about my dog or This show is about free food: Kornheiser's catch phrase to emphasize that his show is more about his life, not sports.


  • This Show Stinks: Kornheiser's self-depreciation about his show. The show's past and present email addresses, thisshowstinks@espnradio.com, thisshowstinks@sportstalk980.com, thisshowstinks@washpost.com, thisshowstinks@3wtradio.com, and now thisshowstinks@espn980.com are based on this catch phrase. Note that thisshowstinks@espnradio.com was actually selected by his listeners.


  • Throwing up on himself: Term used to describe choking or the inability to perform in a clutch situation.


  • Twitching Little Freaks: A term Kornheiser uses in reference to participants in the Scripps National Spelling Bee, where they are asked to spell "idiotic" words like "rhodochrostic" (pronounced by Tony as "ruh-DAH-struh-dik").


  • Vacation: The term used by Kornheiser when he refers to his suspension from ESPN Radio after being overly critical of ESPN Radio management on the air for firing his producer, Denis Horgan, Jr.


  • WHA' HAPPEN?!: Kornheiser's remark when something catastrophic or shocking occurs, such as choke jobs in sporting events, meteoric falls from stardom, career-killing events and moves, etc. The phrase comes from A Mighty Wind, where Fred Willard's character, Mike LaFontaine, starred in a failed 1970s TV show called "Wha' Happened?".


  • Wheat Probing: A running email joke based on Tracee Hamilton's stories of living in rural Kansasmarker, most notably probing wheat at a grain elevator.


  • Where's the cake?: A soundbite from when Abe Pollin wanted to celebrate the naming of a couple of players to the NBA All-Star Team.


  • Wilbon's America: Kornheiser's sarcastic description of the lifestyle of his fellow colleague, Michael Wilbon, where business deals are closed and/or celebrated at strip clubs, men carry handbags, homes are equipped with a satellite dish, TVs are at least 32 inches, etc.


  • Wilbonia: A place where the inhabitants (Wilbonians) worship Michael Wilbon and practice the lifestyle of Wilbon's America.


See also



References and notes

External links




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