Meet Funny Danny…And His Plan To Fix The Redskins

By now you probably recognize Funny Danny as the guy who stars in the funny YouTube Redskin’s video on a weekly basis. The first time I saw his orginal video (above) I showed it to my wife and said “did you have a camera on me Sunday?” I wanted to learn more about Danny so the following interview gives you some background on Danny the fan, Danny the comedian and Danny the Redskins GM (I like his ideas.) You can follow Danny on Twitter

FP) Being a fan of the Skins since you were 4, I’m assuming you’re from the DC-metro area…did you grow up in the area and how did you become a fan at such a young age?

FD) I did grow up in the area. I went to school in DC from Kindergarten all the way through college (I played baseball at GW). I love DC, even during those awkward overly-Republican years when all of a sudden, everyone is from the South and you’re weird if you’re not checking your blackberry. As for being a fan, it’s the normal story I guess. My dad is a Skins fan and some of my earliest memories were yelling when the grown-ups yelled at the TV. I barely knew what was going on but I knew it was the right thing to do.

FP) Do you get recognized in public as the guy who does the Redskins videos?

FD) It’s weird but yes, I have gotten recognized a few times. I was at an event a few weeks ago and this 45 year old guy from California was talking to a couple of other guys and he kept gesturing at me and I was kind of freaked out. He walks across the room towards me and I’m wondering if I insulted this guy’s wife at show once or something and he goes: ‘Excuse me, but do you do videos about the Redskins?’ It’s really neat. I get messages from fans all across the country.

FP) What spurred you to start doing the videos?

FD) I did my first one last year later in the season when we were going through that annual ‘if 97 things happen and we win out, we can sneak into the playoffs’ routine (above). I just knew that there were a ton of people out there who were doing the same thing I was doing. I have also wanted to blend comedy and sports my entire life and finally felt like I had an effective way to do that.

FP) You’re a comedian…have you worked the Redskins into your act and if so what are some of the jokes you use?

FD) I haven’t really done jokes about the Redskins. It’s hard because things change so much from week to week. By the time you write a joke about 2 guys named Sherman sharing a basement office, there is a new gong show to address. That’s where the weekly vids come in. Also, it’s hard to find a comedy audience who would get the jokes. Some hipster at a coffee shop show would look at me like I was a lunatic if I started talking about that face Zorn makes when he isn’t sure if he should challenge a call or not. That said, I think there might be a ‘Redskins Show’ in the DC area in the works which I think would be a fun way to celebrate the worst season of my lifetime.

FP) What impersonations do you do? Can we expect to see some impersonations incorporated into the vids?

FD) I do a lot of impersonations, thanks for asking. I counted 146 at one point and I’m working on an LL Cool J, so I hope to make it 147 soon. I think we’ll definitely see a few characters come up in the videos. It’s a fun way to keep them interesting and different.

FP) At heart you’re a true Skins fan…what are your fondest memories and favorite players of all-time?

FD) My favorite player of all time is Art Monk. It became official when he caught a pass in OT and took it to the residence to win the game. I still remember him setting the single season reception record and how happy that made me. Early on, I became a fan of the guys you could count on. I have always valued consistency above most other things in sports. Lots of guys have flashes but it’s the guys that do it every time that should be celebrated. That’s what Monk was to me. 3rd and 7? He got 8.

Lots of other great memories: being reduced to tears after the first quarter of the SB vs the Broncos before the greatest quarter in the history of pro sport changed everything, chanting along with the crowd ‘We Want Dallas’, Almost passing out from shouting when Darrell Green returned the punt for a TD vs the Bears, Lavar Arrington ending Troy Aikman, the bleachers at RFK shaking, and the dominance of the O-line on the ’91 SB team; I could watch them block running plays on repeat for the rest of my life.

FP) If you could have a past/present Redskin player guest star in one of your videos who would that be…what role would they play?

FD) Great question. I think I might grab Charles Mann and do a re-enactment of the ‘Hungry-Man Dinners’ ad or maybe I’d get Jeff Bostic and we’d do a ‘mustache growing montage’. The reality is, if I got any of the guys who were on the team when I was a kid, I’d only be able to stare at them. Maybe that would be the video? Just 2 minutes of me staring at Raleigh McKenzie and offering him a bowl of Lucky Charms at the end.

FP) Is your glass half full or half empty in regards to the Skins?

FD) It’s empty. Not even half empty. I poured it out and turned on the disposal. There is a cycle to the way pro teams are covered and I feel like that’s especially true in DC. We (the press and the fans more specifically) tend to forget the nonsense and get caught up in the way the team is covered. We read all these articles and see news stories about how hard _______ has worked in the off-season and how he really has embraced being a professional and on and on. What do we get? 1 reception for 6 yards from Malcolm Kelly. That is 6 yards for every 60,000 words I read about him.
I am not sure when it happened with me but I just stopped believing all the bullshit. I think the fans are finally fed up and you can see it and hear it everywhere. It’s sad when regular guys can see the problems from miles away and the people that are paid to see the problems seem oblivious. Who honestly was like: ‘yeah, this Adam Archuletta signing is a great idea’? Everyone knew it was a disaster from the start. We have all worked at places like this where the power structure is so cut off from reality that every move seems crazier than the next. There’s no balance in the organization. The emperor is stark naked and nobody can say a damned word. It’s happened in history tens of thousands of times, this is just the Washington Redskins turn to experience a little ‘then let them eat cake’.
We could go through the dozens of moves that have been indefensible; we could go through some of the shockingly mishandled events (the coaching process that got us Zorn is nothing short of an embarrassment. Snyderatto has made the head job toxic. Just like the Orioles GM job was something nobody wanted before MacPhail took over), or the indignities fans have suffered and it would add up to something amazing. I don’t forget that. It’s on my mind every Sunday when the Skins take the field. If you think about it, each win is almost bad for us because it empowers a structure that is destined to fail.

FP) You are the GM…what are you going to do between now and the 2010 training camp to fix the Skins?

FD) Wow. Thank you. I have a huge list:

1-I use the fact that we are such a rich team on stuff that gives us a competitive advantage. I beef up the scouting department, sparing no expense to get the best and brightest in the field. I empower them (the exact opposite of the current state of affairs and one of the most under-talked-about issues with the team) and make them feel fully invested. Mike Lombardi said something to this effect and I think it’s among the biggest issues at Redskins Park: ‘if you can’t properly evaluate your own talent, how can you be expected to evaluate talent you don’t have?’

2-I go the route of Moneyball for football. I hire the MIT grads to find what’s undervalued, overlooked, and statistically sound and apply it to the running of the organization. Example: maybe we go for every 4th down once we’re passed our 40? Maybe we find the guy in the CBA with the best vertical and put him in to block kicks? NFL teams are such slaves to convention. There are millions of possible formations and we have barely cracked the surface. I would have the Redskins on the cutting edge, again, sparing no expense.

3-I would never let Jim Zorn near the building again. I feel badly for how he has been treated and it’s not his fault he is over matched but we should not lose sight of that fact.

4-As mentioned above, I think a HUGE problem in the organization, from top to bottom, is an over-inflated sense of ‘how good we are’. You hear about how much talent the Redskins have all the time and this is a huge issue. We always feel like we are ‘just a player away’ or ‘we need to change to the West Coast Offense and then we’re there’. We’re not right there. We’re part of that middling pile of mediocrity in the sludge of teams that need 12 breaks to barely make the playoffs (before this year anyway). People see this HUGE difference between 6-10 and 9-7. They’ll say we really improved to go 9-7. No we didn’t! Games are decided by one or two plays and those things can make another mediocre season seem successful. We’ve really just had a bunch of 8-8 teams with differing amounts of breaks in either direction. We haven’t built anything. We’re like a child putting fingers in a leaky dam. The whole wall needs to be built properly. So to fix this, I would end the country club atmosphere. Guys have to earn everything. I would trade, release, purge and fire every single player/staff/coach/etc. who showed the slightest bit of complacency. We would have to confront our mistakes head on and cut ties with them. So, smell you later Fred Davis.

5-I would insist on a specific clause in my contract that prevented the owner from any involvement in any decision related to football.

6-Related to #5, I would stockpile as many draft picks as I possibly could; taking whatever I could get for my ‘stars’.

7-I would hold town hall meetings with fans and explain to them exactly what I wanted to do. I would then ask them for some patience and understanding as I was trying to build something great for them.

8-My head coaching hire would be the type of guy that can manage all of the in-game stuff. Too many teams drop a game or two every year because their coach cannot manage the clock, get challenges right, save timeouts, or do all the so called ‘little things’ to give his team the best chance each week. I can tell you this; my team would NOT use the whole play clock when down 3 scores in the 2nd half. We’d understand the situation.

I have more but this is getting long. I’ll just close by saying we’d sue everyone. Literally everyone in America.

FP) If the Skins ever win the Super Bowl again, will the videos die with a happy ending?

FD) Haha. I don’t know if they’ll die. I think happy can be funny too. I am not one of those people that thinks the only thing funny is misery. I think they’ll live on. Well, unless I have to get a regular job. That would probably kill the videos.

Cheers and Hail

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