Nearly two years ago, we interviewed Matt Besser, a man with a serious claim to the title "World's Funniest Hog Fan." With all that has happened in Razorback world since then, we thought it was time to check in with him again.
The Little Rock native is a founding member of the improvisational comedy group the Upright Citizens Brigade (UCB). From 1998 to 2000, UCB, which by then included former Saturday Night Live star Amy Poehler, had a critically acclaimed sketch show on Comedy Central. Besser and UCB recently released their "Wild Girls Gone" movie on DVD, and he is currently finishing a pilot for another Comedy Central sketch show called "This Show Will Get You High."
His other works include his "Woo Pig Sooie" stand-up show, the prank-call album "May I Help You (Dumbass)?", and movie roles in "Junebug" and "Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story." (For complete overviews of his career, visit here and here.) In today's installment, Matt discusses Ryan Mallet's uplifting Razorback career and Darren McFadden's seriously depressing NFL career.
Expats: The last time we talked was the fall of 2008. A lot has happened since then in the world of the Razorbacks. One of the biggest developments has been the emergence of Ryan Mallett. We wanted to get your take on him both as a player and what he seems like as a guy.
Besser: Well, obviously, Razorback Nation was so upset when Mitch Mustain went to USC. It seemed like the end of the world. But I guess if he had not done that, we never would have gotten Ryan Mallet, or maybe the odds are we wouldn't have. How amazing is that?
You know, I honestly think he could be the Heisman winner this year, as every Razorback should believe. And then somehow we get this unbelievable roster of wide receivers. It seems like we have too many wide receivers. How could you possible have that many on a team? It seems like they're all good.
I can never remember it being like that. It always seems like there's one guy, but now on any given Saturday, you never know who's going to be the guy, which is perfect. But I guess that's what Petrino does and that's what he brings.
As a guy - he obviously knows how to party a little bit. I wish he would wait a couple of years to do that. That just seems to be - you know, I'm 42, and it just never ends. There's always somebody - from Ben Cowins to now - it's just always some great athlete partying. You just want to go, "Guys, not now!"
Expats: It seems to me that maybe he has kind of toned that down now, although I don't know. I don't live with the guy.
Besser: Oh yeah. They get one pass basically, and he got his free pass. Everybody should get a second chance. It's over with, and he probably matured from it.
Expats: There's something kind of hilarious about his mug shot. I have a hard time putting my finger on it. Mug shots are inherently funny, and his was particularly enjoyable. I don't really know why.
Besser: I didn't see it, unfortunately. I missed that.
Expats: He just looked kind of wasted. Do you have any particular interest in where he may end up in the NFL? Do you have any fear that he will end up with the Oakland Raiders?
Besser: Maybe that will save the Oakland Raiders. I certainly don't think they've figured out their quarterback situation yet. I'm a Jets fan myself, and they're a real fun team right now.
I don't know - poor Darren McFadden. I feel so bad for him to have to be in that place. He and Felix Jones went in completely opposite directions after college in terms of the teams they're on. One's such a cool place to be, and one's such a bummer.
Expats: I live in Berkeley and am around a lot of Raiders stuff. It just seems like any player who goes there is doomed to failure. I feel like it's such a toxic environment. I feel bad for DMac.
Besser: Me too. Maybe he'll get traded like Peyton did.
Expats: Also since we last talked, Petrino has really emerged as the face of the program. We wanted to get your overall take on his performance so far. Is there anything you particularly like about him? Is there any way in which you've been disappointed by him?
Besser: I haven't been disappointed by him at all. I was so pissed at the way ESPN was on his ass. I think that's finally dissipated. They took it so personally.
The offense has been so much fun to watch. I can't remember an offense being this fun - well, Matt Jones was a lot of fun to watch, too. But, there's just so much going on.
The defense is a huge question mark, obviously. I don't even think the experts know what to say about the defense yet.
But he coaches teams that can have 45 points scored on ‘em, and he still wins with 48 points. And if that's the way it's going to be, I'm not against that. But we're all hoping that the defense can catch up a little bit to where the offense is.
I really think this could be the year. If you're a longtime Hog fan, you know it only happens every once in a while. When it happens, I hope these kids appreciate it. But this could be the team, this year.