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An Early Review Of Packer And Durham

A promising debut but not without its flaws

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Georgia Tech Spring Football Game
ATLANTA - APRIL 19: Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets radio announcer Wes Durham watches the action on the field during the Georgia Tech T-Day Spring football game on April 19, 2008 at Historic Grant Field at Bobby Dodd Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia.
Photo by Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images

The primary talk show of the ACC Network is going to to be Packer and Durham.

Is it going to suffice?

In general, yes, but there are some things to iron out.

First: can we take the damn dogs upstairs? It’s bizarre to interview the ACC Commissioner then have to acknowledge that Packer’s dogs (the studio in his basement) were disruptive. Please do something with the dogs while you’re on air. Next thing you know some Boston talk radio host is going to say something about hound dogs on the front porch.

Second, while Mark Packer and Wes Durham both grew up in NC, neither appears to have the natural self-deprecating sense of humor that characterizes the state. Commissioner John Swofford bailed them out with his odd joke about a Christmas present which made them look funnier than they actually are.

They can overcome this by developing bits rather than being spontaneous. Think Warner Wolfe throwing foam bricks at the camera or locally some of the silly stuff Adam Gold and Joe Ovies do on the radio.

That’s not brain surgery.

The hosts made a fuss about the show being business casual, which is fine, but it calls attention to Packer’s physique, which is probably not ideal.

As for the rest of it though, it was pretty good and fairly entertaining. Flat jokes aside, they did a reasonable interview of Swofford and certainly are more...what’s the word here....appealing (close enough) than Paul Finebaum’s boring, stuffy show on the SEC Network. Forget jokes, he can barely crack a smile.

Football is serious business, dammit! Tell it to Steve Spurrier...

They have a potentially great gimmick with the door.

Packer promised that people would walk through that door without warning. Now that’s a funny idea and it could be even funnier if the staff got really strange people to show up unannounced.

Something like someone who teaches one of their kids, or who runs a beer store near a campus (RIP Sam’s, btw).

Or maybe something unexpected like an older fan who talks about when the ACC integrated and what his or her reaction to that was. Or maybe a Duke and UNC fan (or Virginia/Virginia Tech fans) having a rap-off or something.

Think of the brilliant Curtain of Uncertainty at Arizona State. It’s potentially a great gimmick if the hosts have no idea who is coming. Can you imagine what it would be like if Durham’s college girlfriend showed up? Or Packer’s mother, with stories of Billy?

The potential of that, of daring to not just go off topic but completely off script, could be incredibly funny.

We’re not expecting it. Both of these guys, despite their casual attire, need a certain rigidity of format (as indicated by their lame attempts at humor).

This is why we’d consider something like going to a comedy club in Charlotte and finding comedians who could come in and shake things up. Can you imagine the anarchy if someone could persuade Dave Chappelle to show up?

It’s not a bad show. It just needs a human taser to mix things up. It wouldn’t hurt them to look up some of Dave Letterman’s old bits. When his morning show was canceled he had a bunch of old bitties show up picket, complete with signs. He did lots of startling things that were very funny.

Whatever it ends up being, it needs a shot of spontaneity. The door could do that if they have good guests, but we’ll have to wait and see.

In the meantime though, the dogs have got to go.

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