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There Is Such a Thing As a Stupid Question

By Tony Kornheiser
Wednesday, September 13, 2006

I'm not stupid -- I knew there would be perks aplenty when I took this "Monday Night Football" gig. (Did you see me in my new, free Kansas City Chiefs red, official, crested "PTI" blazer? I looked like Hank Stram, before the toupee.) But I didn't expect to be rubbing elbows, hobnobbing and shooting the breeze with real, live, actual actor-celebrity people. Monday night, it was Jamie Foxx and Tom Cruise -- well, truthfully, it was only Jamie Foxx. I wanted to talk to Cruise, but his agent wouldn't let me. I met the agent at Redskins practice on Saturday and pitched the idea of Cruise coming into the booth with us.

"No way," said the agent.

"Why not?" I asked.

"What are you gonna ask him?" the agent said.

"You know, some small stuff, like, um, 'So that lunatic period, you're over that now, right? No more couch jumping for you, huh?' "

The agent looked at me and said, " That's why he's not coming into the booth with you." (Well, I had to take my shot, right?)

But we did get Foxx in the booth and he was great fun. He looked at Theismann and Tirico and said, "I'm a big fan of you guys." Then he looked at me and you could see he wanted to ask, "Who are you again?"

It turns out Foxx is a huge sports fan and was a high school quarterback in Texas. I did have a couple of questions I wanted to ask him -- if I could have gotten him to stop flirting with Theismann; what man crushes those two seem to have going.

Anyway, I tried to backdoor the Cruise question by saying, "You and Cruise are boys from 'Collateral,' right?" And I was about to say, "So tell me, is Cruise over there in the Danny's booth eatin' the food and jumpin' on the furniture?" But before I could get the second part of the question in, Foxx launched into a spirited declaration of how much he liked Cruise, so that was dead to me.

Then I think something happened on the field, like maybe a touchdown, and we had to wrap it up with Jamie. I never got to ask my other showstopper, which would have been: "You got that Academy Award for playing Ray Charles. Are there any other blind singers you're thinking of playing as, you know, sort of a sequel?" I thought a funny guy like Jamie would be able to run with a question like that.

In hindsight, I now realize what a loser question that was and that it was a good thing I never got to ask it because my career would have been over before the second-half kickoff. Then I never would have had the chance to utter the word "pachyderm" at 9:08 p.m. Eastern. Now there's a term you don't hear very often on "Monday Night Football."

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