A lot of people. As of Monday morning, the original version of Rouhier’s 39-second video of himself impersonating Barkley, the Hall of Famer and TV analyst, had been viewed nearly 1.5 million times. On Saturday, it was featured on TNT’s “Inside the NBA,” during which Barkley himself applauded the uncanny impression and fittingly botched Rouhier’s name.
“That’s pretty good right there,” Barkley said. “Danny Rootier?”
“Rouhier,” host Ernie Johnson corrected him.
“It was awesome to get that endorsement,” said Rouhier, co-host of the afternoon drive-time “Grant and Danny Show” on 106.7 the Fan. “… The best part about it is all the people reaching out to me, whether it’s good friends or people I haven’t talked to in a little bit, folks via Twitter or otherwise, just saying, ‘Hey, this is really neat.’ ”
On Tuesday, TNT invited Rouhier to interview Barkley while doing his Barkley impression for a 5-minute segment that aired on “Inside the NBA” following the Utah Jazz’s win over the Los Angeles Clippers.
“How come, when it’s your turn to talk, you put your right hand down on the podium like this and brace yourself like it’s an earthquake?” Rouhier asked Barkley, in his best Barkley voice. “Why you do that?”
Rouhier also responded to a challenge on Twitter from Barkley’s co-host, Shaquille O’Neal, to impersonate the four-time NBA champion by doing a knock-knock joke, alternating between impersonating Barkley and O’Neal. Both big men approved of the performance.
Rouhier, a D.C.-area native who played baseball at George Washington, has been doing impressions since he began recording and memorizing skits from “In Living Color” in fifth grade (and then giving impromptu performances at recess). He first discovered he had a knack for impersonating Barkley 17 years ago during a guest appearance on Baltimore’s 98 Rock with comedian Joe Robinson.
“They were doing a bit where they would have a pretend celebrity read his own Wikipedia page, and they asked if I could do Charles Barkley,” Rouhier recalled. “I gave it a shot, and they kind of looked at me like, ‘Oh my God, that’s good.’ ”
Rouhier has refined his Barkley impression in the years since, homing in on the beloved Round Mound of Rebound’s well-known struggles pronouncing — and sometimes remembering — NBA players’ names. “Inside the NBA,” which is one of Rouhier’s favorite shows, has a recurring segment titled “Who He Play For?” during which Johnson names five lesser-known NBA players and challenges Barkley to identify each player’s team. It’s a miracle if he gets more than one right.
In his latest video, Rouhier imagines Barkley stumbling over Nuggets star Nikola Jokic’s name — “Nikola Joka, uh, Jokic, Joe Kitchen, he’s tall” — and referring to Denver forward Michael Porter Jr. as Michael Junior Porter.
“That’s part of what makes him so charming, so excellent, so good at what he does,” Rouhier said. “He happens to be a Hall of Famer, one of the best players to ever live, and he knows basketball inside and out, but he’s also just like us where it’s hard to pronounce a name or two, or recall something. I certainly find that in my own life.”
Rouhier shared another video of himself impersonating Barkley a couple of months ago that he thought was even funnier, but it has fewer than 20 retweets and a modest 6,500 views. He had an inkling that Thursday’s video would go viral after TNT analyst Greg Anthony shared it that night but was surprised to see it still racking up hundreds of thousands of views as he hosted Friday’s show on 106.7 the Fan. It wasn’t until his phone kept buzzing with messages as he was leaving dinner with friends Saturday that he learned his latest video aired on TNT.
“It’s not as if my life has changed in any way,” said Rouhier, who is performing stand-up Friday at the Tally Ho Theater in Leesburg. “Saturday they played it on NBA on TNT and there was another flood of messages, so that was cool, and then Sunday morning I’m still trying to get my 7-year-old not to step in the bucket at Little League practice and I lost my voice. Nothing glamorous is happening, but just hearing from folks has been the best part.”
Read more from The Post: