Three years ago, as Jim Zorn’s promising first season devolved into a farce, lifelong Redskins fan Danny Rouhier put on his lucky Skins shirt and sweatpants, sat down on his couch in the Lower East Side and made a video.
The three-minute clip, which eventually earned more than 36,000 views on YouTube, showed Rouhier — then a fledgling comic living in New York — trying to figure out a scenario in which the flailing Redskins still qualified for the playoffs.
The feedback was positive, and the Zorn era got even wackier the following autumn, so Rouhier kept making his videos, showing the continuing agony of Redskins fandom. One, called Redskins Anonymous, caught the attention of Bret Oliverio, a producer for the Junkies at sports-talk station 106.7 The Fan. He played the audio during that station’s morning show. When Rouhier found out, he reached out to Oliverio and asked about doing an on-air segment. They squeezed him in before their final pre-Thanksgiving program.
Two years later to the week, Rouhier and his wife finally moved back to the District on Friday. There wasn’t much point maintaining a New York address when he was working a full-time schedule as a D.C. sports talk radio personality.
“I know it sounds corny, but I pinch myself every once in a while,” said Rouhier, 32, who hosts weekday nights on 106.7. “Brian Mitchell knows who I am. That’s impossible for me to understand. Steve Buckhantz, Joe Beninati, Craig Laughlin — these are guys I’ve beyond idolized, I’ve deified — and they’ll say ‘Hey Danny, how are you, we haven’t talked in a while.’ It floors me every time.”
Rouhier, it turns out, had always thought about a career in comedy and radio, just in case his Major League Baseball plans didn’t work out. The St. Albans grad (and second-team All-Met infielder) earned a baseball scholarship to George Washington, where he played with future Nats pitcher Mike O’Connor and was named second-team All-Atlantic-10.
But he eventually realized he wasn’t “big enough to be big, and not fast enough to be fast,” and that there were “10 trillion guys like me.” With the MLB goal shelved, Rouhier fell back on “safe, boring” things for a while, before throwing himself into comedy. Frustrated by D.C.’s stand-up scene, he moved to New York in 2007, working as a professional mover, a painter and an office temp so he could keep doing comedy at night.
“It was like out of a movie: a young fresh-faced girl moves to New York and gets overwhelmed,” Rouhier told me. “I’d go into these office jobs feeling beyond insecure, act awkward, not get paid very much, and go home. That was the sequence.”
But he continued to rabidly follow D.C. sports teams, and became one of the original deranged commenters on The Post’s Redskins Insider blog, using the name ArtMonkToTheSticks. Rouhier also was part of a television pilot at the New York Television Festival, where one of the speakers argued that, in the age of YouTube, there’s no excuse for would-be comics to not produce as much of their own content as possible.
So, with the Redskins entering their typical late-season swoon, Rouhier made his first Skins video, eventually leading to his first on-air D.C. spot. He had already done some radio with a friend in Baltimore and had studied under 106.7 The Fan’s program director Chris Kinard at the Connecticut School of Broadcasting, and now Kinard started putting him on the air in Washington.
A few fill-in shifts led to more regular work, which eventually led to his current gig hosting nights and doing the station’s Redskins post-game show with LaVar Arrington.
And while Rouhier likely still sleeps in burgundy and gold pajamas, his odd career path would have been short-circuited had the Redskins been a boringly competent organization.
“100 percent,” he agreed. “That’s the irony of it, and I think about that all the time. Had they done what I wanted them to do, I would probably still be waiting tables and acting as a temp in New York.”