Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Nick Kroll pops by Colbert as the security guard who beats Michael Jordan at quarters in The Last Dance

Stephen Colbert, Nick Kroll
Stephen Colbert, Nick Kroll
Screenshot: The Late Show

Concluding his interview with one Larry John Wisniewski—purportedly the other blond-permed, coin-tossing Chicago Bulls security guard from ESPN’s The Last Dance—Stephen Colbert asked why Americans have been so enraptured by a ten-hour documentary about a decades-past sports era. Answering with a startling, if broadly accented, eloquence, the theretofore glassy-eyed partner-in-gambling to legendary Bulls star Michael Jordan explained, “Given the current crisis and whatnot, people are nostalgic, not just for live sports but for a collective experience of greatness, for the boundless American achievement that Michael Jordan represents.” Or, as the security expert (who looks and sounds suspiciously like Nick Kroll) speculated, audiences have been tuning in to all ten hours of The Last Dance because, “People have been stuck at home for two months and will watch a ten-hour documentary about literally anything.”

Including, as it turns out, a video chat with Nick Kroll in an unruly blond wig pretending to give insight into the infamous gambling streak that saw Jordan, in The Last Dance, pitching quarters against a wall for cash with a broadly-accented, expressively camera-hogging Chicago security guard with the curly yellow mullet of a happy labradoodle. With Colbert attempting to guide the still-loyal Jordan apologist and enabler back to the Bulls (and Wizards, but that never happened) superstar’s thoroughly alleged addiction, Wisniewski denied that Jordan had a gambling problem. “He didn’t have a gambling problem,” stressed Wisniewski, “He was just highly competitive . . . especially about gambling,” concluding somberly, “It was a real problem.”

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So that settles that, even if Wisniewski claims he and Jordan bet on everything from throwing nickels at squirrels, to how far you can throw a squirrel, to the odds on whether Jordan would inexplicably show up in a commercial for underpants sporting a Hitler mustache. (Wisniewski took a real bath on that one.) As for the busy Kroll (who, with his quarantine beard, is looking more like Big Mouth costar Jason Mantzoukas every day), screwing around on Zoom for Colbert is just his latest project, with Colbert plugging the ongoing hilarity of Kroll and John Mulaney’s new Oh, Hello! podcast (Oh, Hello: The P’dcast), which is also raising money for the coronavirus frontline worker charity Off Their Plate. Bet on that.

Contributor, The A.V. Club. Danny Peary's Cult Movies books are mostly to blame.

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