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October 10, 2015

Keith Olbermann Should Lighten Up... But So Should Pat Sajak

by Joel Keller, posted Nov 11th 2010 3:40PM
Keith Olbermann on 'The Pat Sajak Show' in 1989That Pat Sajak is a sneaky guy.

It seems like the 'Wheel of Fortune' host has initiated a bit of a dust-up with Keith Olbermann, mainly by giving a "mea culpa" for introducing Keith Olbermann to a national audience on his short-lived CBS late night talk show in 1989. Olbermann responded in his usual humorless way, writing that he had been on CNN for years before doing Sajak's show, and following that up by writing in a somewhat tongue-in-cheek way, "I think if he needs to apologize for anything it needs to be that talk show."

I was about to write a post directed at Olbermann that said, in effect, "Lighten up, Francis," because I had found Sajak's mea culpa on his surprisingly clever and funny Twitter feed. But then my fellow Squadder Bob was kind enough to point me to Sajak's blog on the conservative website Ricochet, where I read the emcee's complete take on the matter. Not quite as lighthearted as that Twitter entry, is it?

In the Ricochet post, which accompanies a YouTube video of Olbermann's appearance on Sajak's show, Sajak mentioned that he enjoyed Olbermann as a guest and as a sportscaster, and even liked Keith's early days on MSNBC, though I'm not sure if he was referring to Olbermann's stint there in the late '90s or his early days on 'Countdown.'

But then the post took a turn. "I'm not sure how he morphed into the bitter-sounding, hate-mongering name-caller he's become, but I'm sorry he did," wrote Sajak. He continued by ruminating that Olbermann going in that direction was a "show business" move, concluding by writing that "I liked the Keith Olbermann of 1989. This tape reminded me that I miss him."

Look, I know that Sajak is an unabashed conservative. But in his writing on Ricochet and elsewhere, he's never positioned himself as some right-wing blowhard; he always used wit and humor to get his point across, much like he does on 'WoF' and on Twitter. And I don't think what he said about Olbermann is that far off the mark; Olbermann lost his sense of humor around the time he left his last pure sports job at Fox Sports nine years ago.

Both guys need to lighten up. Sajak more than anyone should know that the "show business" aspect of Olbermann, Bill O'Reilly, Glenn Beck, Chris Matthews and other news channel talking heads is what gets them so much attention. And Olbermann needs to laugh off minor jabs like this, otherwise he just perpetuates the notion that he has a thin skin.

Sajak also needs to play things the same way no matter where he writes. Twitter may only allow 140 characters, but that was more than enough room to say that Olbermann has lost his sense of humor.

Oh, and Olbermann needs to grow that boss porn 'stache back. Maybe the 'stache won't make him look so damn serious all the time.

What did you think of Sajak's post? Was he right about Olbermann or does he need to back off?

(Follow @joelkeller on Twitter.)

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Brett Alan

Saying that Olbermann is overly serious is probably fair. But saying he's a "hate-mongering name caller" is, well, hate-mongering name calling.

November 12 2010 at 1:38 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The point of this post eludes me. So Sajak "always used wit and humor to get his point across." Yet he posts *one* blog post that is a bit more serious in tone, and he needs to "lighten up?" Can't the guy get to be a little serious just this once? He's a witty and charming guy, but he can't possibly be expected to be so in every single post.

November 11 2010 at 5:16 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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