An Excerpt From Craig Carton’s “Loudmouth”
Craig Carton is one of radio’s loudest, orneriest, most beloved and highest-rated personalities as co-host of WFAN’s Boomer And Carton In The Morning radio program. His debut book, Loudmouth, is a bold and hilarious memoir of sports, manhood, and what it is to be a fan.
Here is an excerpt from Carton’s Loudmouth, published through sister company Simon & Schuster. You can find copies of the memoir here.
I’m all alone in the back of an SUV. It’s 35 degrees outside, where there are several thousand people all chanting my name, all wanting to see the clown who for the second year in a row is about to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge in little more than a Speedo and a football jersey.
How did I get myself into this position again, and why in the world does it make me so happy?
It’s 10:40 in the morning, and a radio station employee charged with protecting me cracks open the door and asks if I am ready to go.
Actually, “ready to do this” are his words.
I take off my sweatpants, revealing my green New York Jets Speedo. Suddenly I have an attack of ego. How’s it look? I wonder. I’m not thinking about my legs; I am worried about whether or not my junk looks okay.
“Craigie, Craigie, Craigie!”
The people are restless and cold, too. They want to start the walk. The crowd includes marching bands, mascots, strippers, and thousands of die-hard Jets fans pumped to celebrate their team making it into the AFC Championship game. Holy shit, it’s only been eighteen months since I started hosting the Boomer & Carton show on WFAN, and now there are thousands of people waiting for me to appear like I’m Phil, the groundhog.
Thankfully I find a pair of ankle socks in my bag and decide to stuff my Speedos with them. It looks so ridiculous, you might think I have hemorrhoids, but I don’t care. So I leave them in there; better this way than reality on this cold day.
I take a few more deep breaths and catch my reflection in the rearview mirror. I freeze. Only one thought, and it’s clear.
This is f***ing awesome!!!
I swing the door open wide and let the circus begin. The crowd is everything I had hoped it would be. Brooklyn’s Cadman Plaza overflows with all sorts of people: young kids, old men and women, even some people in their Speedos to support me and the Jets—probably more the Jets than me, but they’re here. Every local news station is on hand, as are two marching bands and the New York City Police Department, in force. The plan is to walk across the entire span of the Brooklyn Bridge, stopping only at the midway point to do a Jets cheer.
The first face I see when I get out of the SUV is my radio partner’s: Boomer Esiason. Boomer was once an NFL MVP for the Cincinnati Bengals, won the Walter Payton Award for Man of the Year, and raised more than $80 million to fight cystic fibrosis. Now he is standing next to his half-naked radio partner and participating in a walk across the bridge with thousands of people whom he would never, under normal circumstances, allow inside his house to use the bathroom. And that’s why I love him, and why our show works. Boomer bought in 100 percent to what I thought we had to do to be successful, to get attention, and to connect with a rabid fan base. This bridge walk trumped the Ickey Shuffle by a long shot.
Boomer was on the phone back to the radio station doing a live segment with the midday show on WFAN with Joe Benigno and Evan Roberts. I’m sure those two guys hated having to go to Boomer live for the walk, and I’m even more sure they hated the whole idea of what we were doing. They are straight sports guys, so anything other than a dialogue about the most recent game was outside of their scope of conversation. Plus, Joe had gone out of his way to be an asshole to us when we first started, so having to give us this kind of attention had to kill him—just as Boomer and Carton becoming the number-one-rated show on the station and in morning drive in New York had to bother him to his core.