(photo by Brian Murphy)
Once upon a time, a comedic genius named Chris Farley teamed with a dreamboat named Patrick Swayze to give the world a wonderful skit about two hopeful Chippendales dancers going through the audition process.
It’s such a Saturday Night Live classic that, to this day, it’s impossible to hear “Working for the Weekend” by Loverboy and not think of a shirtless Farley spastically gyrating.
And clearly, I’m not the only person who thoroughly enjoyed that sketch.
Turns out that offensive lineman Josh LeRibeus is a big fan of that Farley-Swayze bit as well, which would have been helpful information for his Washington Redskins teammates prior to his rookie skit last month.
“I did a certain Chris Farley impression that some people might not have wanted to see,” LeRibeus said. “There weren’t any women around, so I didn’t feel like too many people would be offended. But yeah, there were definitely some strange looks given.”
When it comes to rookie skits, most veterans will tell you less is more. That’s why quarterback Kirk Cousins’ impression of Mike Shanahan went over so well. It’s why Miami rookie Ryan Tannehill singing “Lean On Me” on Hard Knocks went over so well. Generally speaking, the “keep it simple, stupid” mindset is always a good idea when it comes to these types of things.
And then there’s LeRibeus — who clearly lives by the mantra “go big or go home.” So rather than standing in front of his teammates and singing a forgettable song, he enthusiastically opted to act like a plus-sized stripper dancing as if his career was on the line.
So how did it go?
“I had the whole routine planned out, but they booed me off stage by the time I got about 30 seconds into it,” he said.
It’s not a stretch to imagine LeRibeus playing the part of Farley. So the obvious question became — who played the part of Swayze?
“I had to go solo. Surprisingly, nobody wanted to do it with me,” LeRibeus said.
And that proved to be huge.
“It had good promise — doing the whole Chris Farley skit,” said center Will Montgomery. “But I’m not sure many people knew what he was doing, so it just kind of looked like some weird striptease. I’m thinking that’s what turned about 90 percent of the people off, but there was about 10 percent who appreciated what he was trying to do.”
Montgomery believes that had LeRibeus provided proper context, the skit might have gone over better. But probably not.
“Maybe playing 10 seconds of the original video would have helped out,” he said. “But I still think the majority of the people there were just disgusted.”
Sadly, even those players who were familiar with the original skit weren’t impressed with LeRibeus’ offering.
“It was terrible. It was terrible,” said defensive end Stephen Bowen. “It didn’t look anything like it. I think most people knew the Saturday Night Live skit, but this just wasn’t the same. He tried to do the same thing, but it just wasn’t right. He needed a Patrick Swayze-type — like Kirk Cousins — to help him out.”
Having already stole the show with his flawless Shanahan impression, I turned to Cousins to see if he could have salvaged this rookie production as well.
“It’s an honor to be compared to Patrick Swayze,” he said with a laugh. “He definitely needed someone else up there. Just him by himself wasn’t enough of a reenactment and a lot of the guys who had never seen it before had no idea what was going on. They just saw a large man starting to undress and were shocked. But if he had someone else and set the scene a little bit I think it would have gone much better.”
Did LeRibeus approach Cousins or anyone else prior to the skit to see if they’d be willing to lend a helping hand?
“The rumor had gone around that that was going to be his skit of choice,” Cousins said. “And I was surprised that it was going to be his choice, but he seemed pretty excite about it and I thought, ‘This is going to be interesting.’ When he went up and got started, I thought he did a pretty good job reenacting the skit.
“I thought it was spot on, even though he got booed right away,” Cousins continued. “There were a lot of people who didn’t want to see it, but he said his best moves didn’t even happen. He swears his best move was yet to come, but because he got booed after 30 seconds, he cut it off early. I’m a little disappointed that we never got to see that.”
LeRibeus says he has no regrets with his decision to do the Farley skit. But in hindsight, he does admit he probably should have taken a slightly different approach to it.
“I should have played the video first,” he said. “More people would have gotten it right away.”
And while he won’t reveal what his ‘best move’ was going to be, LeRibeus does believe it would have won the room over.
“It was going to be magical,” LeRibeus said.
We’ll have to take his word for it. Either way, let’s just hope that LeRibeus makes a stronger first impression on the field than he did off of it.