Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Bob Costas--That Little Weasel

First of all,  let me say how much I love the Olympics. Whenever possible, even in the middle of the night, I'm camped out in front of the TV, captivated by swimming or cycling or archery or volleyball or whatever. If it's an Olympic sport, I'm there.

But there's one drawback. As much as I love the Olympics, I actively and thoroughly loathe Bob Costas, who's the host of NBC's prime time Olympics' broadcasts. When he's on I mute the sound or change the channel. I don't look at him as a host. To me he's a pompous little weasel polluting my TV screen.

A host is supposed to be a warm, friendly presence, someone you're happy to spend time with. To me, that ain't Costas. He's totally condescending, making you feel you're lucky to be in his presence. From him you get the feeling there's a self-serving soundtrack running around in his head, featuring a line often blurted out by that braggart Ralph Kramden, played by Jackie Gleason on the 1950s' "Honeymooners" sitcom: "I'm the King and you're nothing!" Costas is one of the few guys who, when he's sitting down, you get the feeling he's strutting. He's smug, smirky and disgustingly self-satisfied.

Costas is the consummate know-it-all, the kind of guy you run from at parties, someone who knows something about everything and can't wait to let you know how much he knows. His mantra: I'm smart and you're not. He's constantly spewing facts, not to inform, but to impress.

When he does interviews you get the sense he's not trying to illuminate or get information out of his subject, but to call attention to himself. His questions are overly long, switching the spotlight to guess-who? So it's not about the interviewee, it's about Costas.

One of Costas' problems, clearly, is that he's short and hates being short. He's a walking Napoleon complex, elbowing his way through life, trying to prove he's as good as anybody, despite his lack of height. Randy's Newman's caustic classic, "Short People," was written about pompous little runts like him. There's nothing wrong with being short, unless it turns you into an insufferable blowhard.

Costas is Hollywood fake. He's a plastic-surgery nightmare, a poster boy for what you look like when your face has been under the knife too often--a male Joan Rivers. No blemishes or lines. But also no expression. He just turned 60 but from that all-dark, no-highlights hair, you'd never know it.

Sources I know at NBC say Costas is generally disliked. People don't like working with him because of his haughty attitude. Apparently Matt Lauer, the top "Today" host, isn't a Costas fan.

As I'm ending this, I'm humming the nasty "Short People" lyrics (it's one of the all time clever songs, by the way), with visions of The Weasel dancing in my head. Adding my own personal touch to the chorus: "Don't want no Costas 'round here."