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A Very Important Podcast by The Heckler

A Very Important Podcast by The Heckler

By The Heckler
The Heckler shares very important things with millions of people
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Harry Caray's CEO Grant DePorter
Grant DePorter has worked at Harry Caray's since 1989 (less than two years after the restaurant group was formed) so he worked closely with Harry himself for quite a while. Not surprisingly, he has some wild stories about Harry back in the day (including an estimated 14,000 bar visits and 300,000 alcoholic beverages consumed in his life). Grant also talks about the hard work he puts in to keep Harry's legacy alive, even if that means embracing some of the great and not-so-great Harry Caray impressions that are out there including Will Ferrell's and Ryan Dempster's.  Grant grew up in a hotel, which not everyone can say. He's also a massive sports memorabilia geek, as evidenced by several of the stories he told during this interview. 
February 21, 2021
7-time Jeopardy! champion Brian Chang
A Very Important Podcast by The Heckler is back! Today's guest is Brian Chang, a friend of Brad's who recently wrapped up a seven-game winning streak on Jeopardy! during which he netted $163,904 in prize money. Only about 30 other people have had a streak like that in the history of the show. Brian had plenty of memorable moments during his run, including going viral for trolling guest host Ken Jennings, winning a very rare tie-breaker in what could have been the craziest finish to an episode that you'll ever see, blanking on what many thought should have been a gimme, and going up against a four-game champion at the end of his run. In addition to all this, Brian and Brad talk about dealing with social media trolls (of which there are many), Alex Trebek's passing, behind-the-scenes surprises, the Tournament of Champions, and much more.
February 2, 2021
Brad discusses giving up his Cubs season tickets with Ben Finfer
Earlier this week Brad decided to give up his Cubs season tickets after Todd Ricketts' performance opening up a Trump rally. Like many Cubs fans, Brad has struggled to confront the ownership's links to the President and all that surrounds him. After doing a quick hit on WBEZ Thursday, Brad and Chicago sports media personality and fellow tormented Cubs fan Ben Finfer discussed their feelings on the matter. 
October 30, 2020
Ryan Dempster on impersonating Harry Caray, beaning A-Rod, partying at Spring Training, & more
Former Cubs pitcher and current Marquee Network personality Ryan Dempster has always had a reputation as being a funny, approachable guy. Brad's experience with him is no different, going back all the way to his playing days with the Cubs from 2006 to 2012.  In this episode, he talks about his extremely polarizing Harry Caray impression, the time he beaned A-Rod in 2013 for the Red Sox, if it's tougher to be "funny" now than it used to be, how he feels players are weathering the ups and downs of this bizarre 2020 season, how Spring Training is now compared to his playing days, and much more.
September 10, 2020
Wild elk, swarming monkeys, a fear of heights and much more with Brad's friend Tron
After two months off, Brad's finally got enough wind in his sails to record a new episode. Our troubling times have made it tough to stay passionate about something like this, but today's guest was just what we needed. Tron Smith (full name discussed in the podcast) and Brad met the better part of a decade ago and have become fast friends who genuinely appreciate each other. Tron's journey is a unique one; from the South Side of Chicago to Phoenix, where she lives today with her totally jacked boyfriend Joe a.ka. "Old Bae." In this episode, Brad and Tron discuss Tron's interesting travels to the Grand Canyon and Bali, which were highlighted by Tron's fears of elk and heights (Grand Canyon) and monkeys (Bali). They also discuss why Tron didn't like their mutual friend who eventually introduced them when she first met him, her various game show appearances, the podcast she's launching with her friend EJ, why she refuses to call him "E.J." and much more. Follow Tron on Instagram:  
August 25, 2020
Wellness Check: Sluggers co-owner David Strauss
After a brief hiatus that no-doubt disappointed millions of people, Wellness Checks are back. Today's guest is David Strauss, one of the three brothers whose family owns Sluggers, the Wrigleyville staple. David and his family have always been very good to Brad and The Heckler, hosting a number of events and running ads and co-promotions from time to time. This was recorded a few weeks ago, but the topics all remain relevant: How does a family-owned bar in Wrigleyville deal with these difficult times? What will Wrigleyville look like by the time the pandemic is over? Not surprisingly given his career path and a life spent working in a bar a few hundred feet from Wrigley Field, David had a lot of great thoughts on this. Also discussed are some of the crazy things he's seen in his days behind the bar at Sluggers, including the 2016 Cubs taking over the place the night after they won the World Series. Follow Sluggers on Facebook:
June 24, 2020
Wellness Check: Talking race with Brad's friend John Burks
It's been two weeks since our last Wellness Check. We have a really good one with a local business owner in the hopper, but it was recorded before the social unrest of the last weekend of May and didn't seem right to release given all that was going on around us (and in Brad's case, just blocks away). So we recorded a Wellness Check with repeat guest John Burks to hear from his perspective about race and the social issues coming more to light now than ever.  Follow John on Instagram.
June 9, 2020
Wellness Check: NBC Sports Chicago Exec. Producer & Founder of Live Like Roo Sarah Lauch
Today's Wellness Check is with Sarah Lauch, an executive producer at NBC Sports Chicago and the founder of Live Like Roo, a non-profit organization that supports families of pets diagnosed with cancer. Sarah and Brad talk about her career at NBC Sports Chicago (Comcast SportsNet before that), how some of her coworkers didn't know she was dating someone else in the office until their wedding announcement came out, her unique relationship with Matt Nagy, her long history of saving animals in need, crazy stories rescuing dogs, the background of Live Like Roo, how people can support the rescue community, and much more. Check out Live Like Roo at
May 27, 2020
Wellness Check: Second City & SNL writer/performer Katie Rich
Today's Wellness Check is with Katie Rich. She's a writer who spent six years at Saturday Night Live and Second City before that. Brad and Katie talk about all sorts of interesting stuff: How she's handling the quarantine (typically three good days followed by one shitty one), her first experience at Second City, why she hopes to never meet Stephen Colbert, how working at SNL matched up with her expectations, writing for SNL when Anthony Rizzo, Dexter Fowler, David Ross and Bill Murray came through a few days after the Cubs won the World Series, Heckler fan suggestions for high school names that could be more "Chicago" than her alma mater Carl Sandburg High, the time Chris Hemsworth practically impregnated her in his Thor costume on the SNL set, the new Netflix project that she's not allowed to talk about just yet, stifling her "Chi-CAH-go" accent, attending the double-doink Bears-Eagles playoff game with her "piece of shit" Philly sports fan husband, how she knew The Heckler was founded in 2003 (it involves her working at a Wrigleyville bar and a supposed Heckler staffer hitting on her fellow waitress), the Second City sports videos that involved her dressing up like Brent Seabrook and Joakim Noah, what she thinks when people say SNL isn't as good as it used to be, her experience writing for the ESPYs with John Cena and Peyton Manning, her love of rescue dogs, and much more. Follow Katie on Twitter:
May 19, 2020
Wellness Re-Check: Resident millennial jackass Ethan Blumenthal
Today's Wellness Re-Check is with Ethan Blumenthal, The Heckler's resident millennial jackass. Ethan and Brad discuss a number of topics, including the amount of time Ethan claims he's "too young" to understand a pop culture reference Brad makes, Ethan's thoughts on "The Last Dance," who is his fourth favorite Chicago Bull from that era, the news The Heckler broke that Len Kasper is joining GWAR (a band Ethan had not heard of), The Heckler getting a tweet liked by Gheorghe Mureșan (whom Ethan had not heard of), the time Ethan got half of his pinky finger severed off because his older brothers wanted to show off their karate moves, and the exciting "Together We Camp" venture Ethan's company Knuckleball Comedy kicked off this week in partnership with other cool kids' focused entertainment providers.  For more info on that last item, visit
May 14, 2020
Wellness Check: DJ Dante Deiana
Where to start with today's Wellness Check guest? Brad and Dante Deiana first met in approximately 2010 playing pickup basketball at the Berto Center (former practice facility of the Bulls and featured prominently in "The Last Dance").  Dante is a very well-known DJ, and started as the Cubs in-game DJ at Wrigley in 2015. He and Brad talk about walk-up music for players and the walk-up songs they'd have for themselves. Dante is also partners in a handful of bars and restaurants throughout the Midwest. They've been going through the long process of opening one in Chicago in West Town called Shake-It. Dante has also been active with the Rizzo Family Foundation, most recently delivering food to a number of hospitals and other front-line workers in the area. And he's engaged to ABC-7's Cheryl Scott, so he and Brad bond over what it's like to have a life partner who works in the media and how tough it can be to read the comments/figure out where you're going to bury the bodies of a-holes hiding behind a keyboard when they write awful things to and about the one you love.  Brad and Dante also talk about his time on the Gronk Boat, what he thinks about "music nowadays," the band he's really hoping reunites someday soon, and the time he feared for his life at a Rage Against the Machine show. Follow Dante on Instagram: and follow Shake-It:
May 13, 2020
Wellness Check: Brad and his friend John Burks solve racism
Today's Wellness Check is with John Burks, a friend of Brad's who happens to be black. Brad and John usually wind up talking about race when they spend time together so now that no one can see each other in person, a Wellness Check seemed appropriate.  In this Wellness Check, Brad and John talk about John's Detroit roots, what white privilege means to John, the time John got called the N-word by a white guy, how John feels threatened and threatening just walking down the street, why John thinks COVID-19 is impacting minority and poor populations more severely than white and affluent areas, and much more. Follow John on Instagram:
May 12, 2020
Wellness Check: Brad's mom on Mother's Day weekend
This weekend's Wellness Check is with Brad's mom, Julie Ehlert. Due to the quarantine, Brad won't be able to see his mom in person. She's been dealing with a series of health issues that are discussed in this Wellness Check.  Brad and his mom also talk about how she's been dealing with the loneliness of living alone during the quarantine, the best and worst moments of motherhood, her difficulty digging back into her passion for reading, the amount of time she spends on Facebook, when the roles of parent and child's concern for each other flip-flopped, her divorce, the wonderful and loving upbringing she had, her parents' relationship with Brad and his sister Becca, her love of Jeopardy, and much more.
May 9, 2020
Wellness Check: Yoga instructor & Heckler Spring Training ROY Kiley Enmark
Today's Wellness Check is with Kiley Enmark, who helps run three hot yoga studios in Chicago and is always down to have a good time. That second quality is probably why she and Brad have become very good friends over the years. In this Wellness Check, Kiley and Brad talk about how Kiley's 105F yoga studios have quickly evolved during the quarantine to offer livestreaming classes for people around the world, Kiley's collegiate soccer career, her "Rookie of the Year" award at The Heckler's Spring Training trip this year, how she's apparently on a first-name basis with Flo Rida and Rob Gronkowski, and much more.  Follow 105F at
May 8, 2020
Wellness Check: WGN-TV Morning News Sports Anchor Pat Tomasulo (pt 1)
Part 1: Today's Wellness Check is with Pat Tomasulo from the WGN Morning News. In addition to his role as a sports anchor, Pat is a standup comic, hosted a Saturday evening comedy show called "Man of the People," and started a charity called Laugh Your Face Off to benefit The Facial Pain Research Foundation which supports efforts to end trigeminal neuralgia which is an extremely painful condition Pat's wife suffers from. Brad and Pat talk about Pat having to do his daily TV show from home, his "very, very, very" conservative parents, why Pat thinks "Man of the People" didn't stick, how Pat filled Chicago potholes with buckets of delicious giardiniera, his wife's newfound love for professional wrestling, how social media has drastically changed his job, how he deals with trolls, starting out his broadcasting career in tiny Rhinelander, Wisc., how Brad and Pat met way back in 2005, and much, much more. Follow Laugh Your Face Off at Follow Pat on Twitter: Follow Pat on Instagram: Follow Pat on Facebook:
May 8, 2020
Wellness Check: WGN-TV Morning News Sports Anchor Pat Tomasulo (pt 2)
Part 2: Today's Wellness Check is with Pat Tomasulo from the WGN Morning News. In addition to his role as a sports anchor, Pat is a standup comic, hosted a Saturday evening comedy show called "Man of the People," and started a charity called Laugh Your Face Off to benefit The Facial Pain Research Foundation which supports efforts to end trigeminal neuralgia which is an extremely painful condition Pat's wife suffers from. Brad and Pat talk about Pat having to do his daily TV show from home, his "very, very, very" conservative parents, why Pat thinks "Man of the People" didn't stick, how Pat filled Chicago potholes with buckets of delicious giardiniera, his wife's newfound love for professional wrestling, how social media has drastically changed his job, how he deals with trolls, starting out his broadcasting career in tiny Rhinelander, Wisc., how Brad and Pat met way back in 2005, and much, much more. Follow Laugh Your Face Off at Follow Pat on Twitter:    Follow Pat on Instagram: Follow Pat on Facebook:
May 7, 2020
Wellness Check: Sun-Times sports reporter & former Heckler intern Brian Sandalow
Today's Wellness Check is with Sun-Times sports reporter Brian Sandalow. Based on a chance meeting at a Cubs game with Brad, Brian actually got his start "journalism" with The Heckler, where he "interned" for a couple years while in high school. He went on to bigger and better things, which he and Brad chronicle in this conversation. Brian had some stories about covering minor league hockey in a small Texas town on the Mexico border out of college. Brian eventually found his way back to Chicago where he worked for a few outlets, most recently the Sun-Times. He has covered the Cubs, Sox, Bulls, Blackhawks, Wolves, Sky, Fire, Northwestern athletics and more. This work ethic prompted Brad to call him a hustler, which he quickly corrected to "grinder" which doesn't sound much better in retrospect. Brad and Brian talk about journalism's existential crisis, some of the most memorable events Brian has covered, Brian's much cooler brother who works for AS Roma, how being a sports journalist makes it tough to maintain your fandom, what a struggle it is to play as the Bulls on NBA 2K, what Brian would sacrifice for the quarantine to come to a quick and responsible end, and much more. Follow Brian on Twitter:
May 6, 2020
Wellness Check: Scott Weiner from The Fifty/50 Restaurant Group
Today's Wellness Check is with Scott Weiner, co-founder of The Fifty/50 Group. Scott and his company have been in the news lately as they work to find ways to support their staff and fellow hospitality workers. They've been serving hundreds of meals a day to those in need, despite having to close most of their locations due to the quarantine.  Brad and Scott talk about those efforts, how he, his partners and investors are weathering this storm, Scott's thoughts on the controversy around GrubHub and similar third-party delivery services, how The Fifty/50 emerged as a go-to spot for athletes and other noteworthy people, his relationship with people like Brian Urlacher, Lovie Smith, Glendon Rusch, Derrek Lee, Kerry Wood and many others, what he would sacrifice for the quarantine to come to a quick and responsible end, and much more. Support The Fifty/50 Food Drive Raffle: Check out The Fifty/50 Group and all its restaurants/concepts here: Order from Roots Pizza right now:
May 5, 2020
Weekly Weekend Wellness Check: Chug-Chug the Comeback Clown
In what's becoming a weekly feature, Brad checks in with Heckler mascot and occasional spokesperson Chug-Chug the Comeback Clown in his quarantine bunker located somewhere on Chicago's North Side. This weekend's conversation recaps Heckler news from the previous week. Unfortunately Chug-Chug is only capable of discussing Cubs-related news so he doesn't offer much about The Last Dance, Brad's Wellness Check with Peanut Tillman or Alex Smith's disgusting leg injury. He does, however, have plenty to say about the Wellness Check Brad did with Matt Szczur as well as Chug-Chug's efforts to get the Cubs to replace the Wrigley Field grass with blue turf from Empire.
May 3, 2020
Wellness Check: Peanut Tillman
Today's Wellness Check guest is former Bears great Charles Tillman. He and Brad talk about how the quarantine is impacting him and his family, the amazing amount of admirable charity work he did during his career and continues to do in retirement through his Cornerstone Foundation and other initiatives, how much he appreciates teammates like Brian Urlacher and Lance Briggs making a case for Tillman to be in the Hall of Fame (he's the career leader in forced fumbles by a DB and No. 6 overall), the brotherhood he and his teammates shared under the leadership of Lovie Smith, his role in the FBI, the toughest thing about retirement,  the best WRs he matched up against, the time he complimented Aaron Rodgers during a game, the Bears teammates he keeps in touch with, why he could go vegetarian but probably never vegan, what he'd sacrifice for the quarantine to come to a quick and responsible end, and much more. Check out the Charles Tillman Cornerstone Foundation at and follow Charles on Twitter
May 2, 2020
Wellness Check: Physical trainer and Wrigley beer vendor Vinnie Avila
Today's Wellness Check is with another super-interesting guy, Vinnie Avila. He and Brad met a year or so ago when Brad strolled into Vinnie's workout class at 360 Active Recovery about three minutes late and have become fast friends since. They soon discovered they have many mutual acquaintances because Vinnie has spent more than 20 years as a vendor at the United Center, Soldier Field, "Comiskey," and Wrigley, where he still works today (well, not "today" today, but you get the point).  Brad and Vinnie talked about a bunch of interesting stuff, including how they both married out of their leagues, the keys to staying active during the doldrums of the quarantine, how Vinnie's family and business are adapting to the quarantine, his first memories of going to Wrigley and noticing the vendors, what it felt like walking out of Soldier Field with $300 in his pocket after his first time vending in 1999, what he would sacrifice for the quarantine, and much more. Check out 360 Active Recovery at and and follow them on Instagram at
May 1, 2020
Wellness Check: Danny Rockett of the Son Ranto Podcast and much more
Today's guest is Danny Rockett, the highly creative and energetic co-host of the Son Ranto Podcast and much, much more. He creates a ton of fun and interesting content that we highly recommend. Check him out at
April 30, 2020
Wellness Check: Matt Szczur unintentionally makes Brad feel bad about himself
Today's Wellness Check is with Matt Szczur. What a dude! In addition to being an MLB player who won a ring with the Cubs in 2016, Matt was a standout "do it all" MVP football player for the 2009 NCAA FCS champion Villanova Wildcats. He made international headlines in 2016 when ESPN told the story of his bone marrow donation that saved the life of a young Ukrainian girl. He and his wife now run the "Szcz the Day" Matt Szczur Foundation, which increases awareness about bone marrow donation and much more. He's also an accomplished painter, selling his amazing prints for thousands of dollars to benefit a variety of charities. So basically, he's the kind of guy who inadvertently makes the rest of us feel like chumps. But he's so damn nice about it. In addition to his awesomeness, Brad and Matt talk about Matt's time with the Cubs, including his disappointment at being left off the 2016 playoff roster, the time Anthony Rizzo used Matt's bat to break out of his 2016 playoff slump, what it felt like to be traded to the Padres in May 2017, his impressive but injury-laden 2019 campaign in the Diamondbacks farm system, what he hopes 2020 holds for him while playing in the Phillies system, enjoying the quarantine life with his wife and newborn son, the former Cubs teammates he stills stays in touch with, and much more.  Links ESPN E:60 about his bone marrow donation: The "Szcz the Day" Matt Szczur Foundation: Szcz the Day merch: How to join the National Bone Marrow Registry: A gallery of Matt's artwork:
April 28, 2020
Wellness Re-Check: Joe Johnson from Obvious Shirts
Today's Wellness Re-Check is with Joe Johnson from Obvious Shirts. We first checked in with Joe a few weeks back to see how the quarantine was treating him. The good news is that people are still buying shirts and Joe is raising quite a bit of money for COVID-19-related charitable efforts.  Brad and Joe also talked about Joe's efforts to keep his business moving despite the pandemic, how emails and social posts from angry customers really bother him, why he has to be careful with certain shirt designs now that his business is as popular as it is. the partnership he's working on with ESPN-1000's Marc Silverman after he was diagnosed with lymphoma recently, Joe and Brad's first sports memories, and much more.  Follow Obvious Shirts at 
April 27, 2020
Group Wellness Check: Chug-Chug, Joe Malonecki & Jen
Brad and Chug-Chug check in with Jen and Joe Malonecki.  Among the many topics discussed: Brad's invitation to join the illuminati, our discovery of a FB page called "ChugHub," advice for Brad before getting his hair clippered, feedback from last week's episode, Chug-Chug's Earth Day tips and thoughts for redesigning Wrigley Field, Joe's troubles at home (both with his neighbor's WiFi and his wife South Side Gina, Jen's issues with White Claw, and much more.  Watch a video of this on YouTube:
April 26, 2020
Wellness Check: Haymarket Books author/publicist & former Army Ranger Rory Fanning
Today's Wellness Check is with Rory Fanning, who has many extremely interesting stories to tell. Rory and Brad met about a decade ago through Rick Telander, who walked with Rory in the Arizona desert while Rory was trekking across the country to raise money for his fallen Army Ranger comrade and former Arizona Cardinal Pat Tillman. Rory enlisted in the Army after Sept. 11 because he felt it was the patriotic thing to do. After spending time serving in Afghanistan, he grew very unhappy with the United States' war effort and became a war resistor. Most of his leaders and fellow servicemen felt he was a disgrace but Tillman was very supportive. Shortly after Tillman was killed by supposed "friendly fire," Rory was discharged. He tried to take up a "normal life" as an investment banker, but found it unfulfilling and decided to walk across the United States to raise money for the Pat Tillman Foundation and to raise awareness of Rory's war resistance movement. In addition to that amazing accomplishment, Rory spends time talking classrooms and other groups to share experiences from his time in the military. Rory is also a big Cubs fan and talks about how he's able to enjoy the team even though he might not exactly agree with the politics of its ownership. Rory now works and writes for Haymarket Books. Among the many titles they've published are Craig Hodges memoir "Long Shot: The Triumphs and Struggles of an NBA Freedom Fighter" and Scoop Jackson's book "The Game is Not a Game: The Power, Protest and Politics of American Sports." Rory is also a woodworker, so he and Brad talk a bit about that and much more.  Follow Rory on Twitter:  Craig Hodges book: Scoop Jackson’s book:
April 25, 2020
Wellness Check: The Heckler’s South Side corespondent Joe Malonecki
Today’s Wellness Check is with Joe Malonecki, The Heckler’s one-time South Side correspondent. It’s been a long time since Brad and Joe last talked so there was a lot to catch up on. Joe apparently was unaware there was a quarantine, so that was a big learning experience for him. He also doesn’t seem too sure of what a podcast is. Joe also talked about his buddy Harvey from Lemont (or is it Lemont from Harvey?), his love life (South Side Tina has been replaced by South Side Gina), his numerous kids, failed job experiences, how they steal signs on the South Side, his efforts to get an AJ Pierzynski outside Guaranteed Rate Field, and much much more. Follow Joe on FB:
April 24, 2020
Wellness Check: Brand marketer & Pizza Summit founder Anthony Spina
Today's Wellness Check is with Anthony Spina. Anthony and Brad first met five or six years ago when Anthony was working in marketing for Old Style and PBR. They collaborated on a few events and had a lot of fun. During that time, Anthony launched the Chicago Pizza Summit, which has been hugely popular. Anthony then started working on marketing for White Claw, which was also a wild ride. Along the way, he’s amassed more than 40,000 Instagram followers. He’s now working on co-launching his own marketing venture called Sign of the Times, which he shares with us. Follow Anthony on IG: and on LinkedIn:
April 23, 2020
Wellness Check: Standup comedian, writer and 'prolific-taker' CJ Sullivan
Today's Wellness Check guest is CJ Sullivan. CJ and Brad talk about their days of running in similar circles in Chicago, some of the hilarious things CJ's been doing/posting on social media lately including a balcony standup performance he put on for his neighbors, his thoughts on Scottie Pippen's contract drama in "The Last Dance," an epic Kenny Rogers story, an equally epic 2 Chainz Vegas story, and much more.  For all things CJ, check out  Follow CJ on Twitter: and Instagram:  Pick up CJ's recent album "Why Am I Complaining?" (recorded in Chicago at Timothy O'Tooles) on Amazon: or iTunes:  Check out his Visitors Locker Room Podcast:
April 22, 2020
Wellness Check: Christian Deme from Blackhawks FB page Joel Quenneville's Mustache
Today's Wellness Check is with Christian Deme who runs the popular Blackhawks fan Facebook page Joel Quenneville's Mustache. Chris is the smartest Blackhawks fan we know so after talking about how he's handling the quarantine, Brad and Chris took a deep dive on all things Hawks.  First, the good news: Chris is really excited for the young defensive core the Blackhawks have in place, including the signing of draft pick Ian Mitchell. Chris also talks about how he feels about the offensive players and goalie and front office/coaching situations. Spoiler alert: Chris has a deeper take than "Stan sucks!"  Brad and Chris also talked about how casual fans can tell if a coach or GM sucks, if it's unique that the Hawks seem to bring back guys from some of their championship teams with mixed success at best, and much more. Follow JQM on Facebook at and follow Chris on Twitter at Also, Chris wanted to make sure he added this commentary to the photo of him kissing the Cup: "It was incredibly uncomfortable because I know the unwritten rules, but a Hawks rep asked me to do it for a newspaper photo op. My response was, 'Wait, really? I’m allowed to? It doesn’t feel right.'"
April 21, 2020
Wellness Check: Chicago Ald. Ed Bus (53rd)
Brad checks in with esteemed Ald. Ed Bus of Chicago's 53rd Ward. Among the topics discussed: How Ed and his family are sheltering in place, how Ed's various essential business ventures (Ed Bus Sausages, Ed Bus Truck & Tow, Ed Bus Tuckpointing, and the Ed Bus Chop House) are holding up, what his wife Dorse Carson Pirie Scott Bus is doing during the quarantine, some of Ed's favorite Steven Seagal movies, how protesters would be handled if they showed up at City Hall, why Ed thinks basketball isn't a sport, what the Ed Bus Tumblers are up to these days), and much more.   This is also available as a video podcast:
April 20, 2020
Wellness Check: Chug-Chug the Comeback Clown
Today's Wellness Check guest is a major score for The Heckler and a throwback for our fans from the good ol' days. This is also available as a video:
April 18, 2020
Wellness Check: Will Perdue (part 2)
The second half of our Wellness Check with Will Perdue. Enjoy! Follow Will on Twitter:
April 18, 2020
Wellness Check: Will Perdue (part 1)
Today's Wellness Check guest is Will Perdue. Will and Brad talk about a ton of interesting stuff. Will was very forthright about his current financial situation, among many other things. We of course talk a bunch about his time with the first three-peat Bulls. Among the many other things we discussed are whether he ever gets tired of talking about the glory days, the time Michael Jordan punched him in the face in practice, the time an injured Scottie Pippen got dragged off the floor by a ref so play could continue, his thoughts on the league now vs. back in his day, how the 2020 Bulls left him feeling (spoiler alert: not good), if he was surprised it took a global catastrophe for GarPax to get canned, his long history with John Paxson, how he handles pushback from players and coaches on his analysis, his second stint with the Bulls in 1999-2000 that sounds pretty dysfunctional and not just because Ron Artest was on that team (though we got a few good Ron Artest stories), what he'd sacrifice for the quarantine to come to a responsible end, and much more. Follow Will on Twitter:
April 18, 2020
Wellness Check: Paul Czarnowski
Today's bonus Wellness Check is with Paul Czarnowski, former Heckler cartoonist and all-around good, smart and funny dude. He and Brad talk about how they met, the celebrity he used to look like, the rock zine he used to run, and his latest venture
April 18, 2020
Wellness Check: Paul Dzien from Crawly's Clubhouse
Today's Wellness Check guest is Cubs mega-fan Paul Dzien who's taken the love of his team to a new level, launching Crawly's Cubhouse and building a pretty solid following on social media (Twitter in particular). Paul told Brad about giving Miguel Montero his World Series ring at the 2017 on-field ceremony, getting threatened with an ass-kicking by an 89-year-old Tommy Lasorda, his partnership with Pat Hughes, his boatload of appearances on NBC Sports Chicago's "Beer Money" trivia show, and much more. Follow Paul on Twitter:
April 17, 2020
Wellness Check: Brett Taylor from Bleacher Nation
Today’s Wellness Check guest is Brett Taylor, who founded Bleacher Nation and has been doing it full-time for roughly a decade. He’s built a huge following thanks to his thorough and never-ending coverage of the Cubs. In the last few years he’s added several full-time staffers and Bears and Bulls coverage to the mix. He and Brad had a super-interesting conversation about how he’s handling the quarantine personally and professionally, the roots of Bleacher Nation, how we should handle all the speculation about what a shortened MLB season might look like, how he has “sources” but doesn’t break much news himself, his thoughts on things like the 2020 Cubs before the quarantine, robot umps, a universal DH, whether Rob Manfred is a genius or an idiot, the three-batter minimum, the time he emailed The Heckler about writing for us and we apparently never responded, what he’d sacrifice for the quarantine to end ASAP, and much more. If you don’t already, follow Bleacher Nation on and check out
April 16, 2020
Wellness Re-Check Again: Jen, formerly of The Heckler
Quarantine drags on so it’s time for another Wellness Check. Today’s is our first repeat guest. The original Wellness Check we did with Jen, formerly of The Heckler, is the second-most popular Wellness Check behind Kyle Farnsworth, but don’t ask her who that is. Among the topics discussed: her family’s Dyngus Day celebrations, the bottle of Polish liqueur she stole from her dad, shaving her dog as a family over the weekend, her addiction to Instacart, her Hobby Lobby joke that Seth Meyers stole, and much more.
April 15, 2020
Wellness Check: Jim Graziano
Quarantine hits the one-month mark so it’s time for another Wellness Check. Today’s guest owns and operates Brad’s favorite sandwich shop in Chicago, J.P. Graziano in the West Loop. Jim Graziano is the fourth generation from his family to run the business, which now is solely a thriving sandwich shop. Jim and Brad talk about how the quarantine is impacting him, his family, and his business, what prompted his decision to shut down earlier than many other businesses, and then what prompted him to open back up with limited hours of operation, how important family-run businesses are to him, how his approach to business has changed now that we’re under quarantine, how he and his family handled the death of his father 12 years ago, the evolution of the West Loop, whether there’s a rivalry with other family-run sandwich shops in the city, the best compliment he can receive from a customer, how Jim’s mother taught Brad the proper pronunciation of “giardiniera,” the shocking thing he’d sacrifice for the quarantine to come to a quick and responsible end, and much more. Order online at and follow J.P. Graziano at, and
April 14, 2020
Wellness Check: Heckler co-founder George Ellis
Quarantine drags on but here’s another Wellness Check for you. Today’s guest is Heckler co-founder George Ellis. George is the kind of friend Brad can go quite a while without seeing or talking to but within a few minutes of reconnecting it feels like we were never out of touch. This conversation is no different. George and Brad talk about how he, his wife and their infant are weathering the quarantine in Austin, Texas, where George and his wife moved awhile back. George and Brad discuss the origins of their friendship, which dates back to working together at Leo Burnett in 1999. They also discuss starting in 2000 which was kind of a blog before blogs were things. From there, forward-thinking as always, Brad and George decided having created a digital platform where thousands of people from around the world shared content wasn’t the way of the future so they launched a newspaper in 2003 and called it The Heckler. George and Brad go on a deep dive of Heckler history, including some of the many highs and lows of their time with The Heckler. Brad and George also talked about some of the exciting stuff George is working on now, including Classic Dad, which has a huge following, particularly in Instagram where it has 325,000 followers ( George and Brad also give a shoutout to their moms who might be the only people who listen to this. George of course tells us what he’d sacrifice for the quarantine to come to a quick and responsible end.
April 13, 2020
Wellness Check: Al Yellon from Bleed Cubbie Blue
Quarantine makes it to another day so it’s time for another Wellness Check. Today’s guest is Al Yellon from Bleed Cubbie Blue. Al and Brad talk about how Al is weathering the “new reality” quarantine in Arizona where he was for Spring Training, the history of Bleed Cubbie Blue and how he worked with the founders of SB Nation to turn his passion for the Cubs and blogging into a full-time job, the content they’re creating even though there’s no baseball being played, how the Cubs are doing in the daily MLB the Show simulations BCB is broadcasting at 3 pm every game day, how his fandom and job kind of got in the way of each other during the 2016 World Series run (though he was still able to enjoy it), how sports blogging has changed for him over the years, his thoughts on some of the backlash he’s received, how he was feeling about the 2020 Cubs prior to the quarantine, the surprising way things might look like for the Cubs and baseball in general in 2021, the future of Theo Epstein and the Cubs, what the Ricketts family has done right and what they haven’t, his perspective on how fans can reconcile the Ricketts family’s various political beliefs with their own and still be fans, what he’d sacrifice for baseball to be back ASAP, and much more. Follow on FB and Twitter
April 12, 2020
Wellness Check: Bob Dernier
Quarantine enters its fourth or fifth year so it’s time for another Wellness Check. Today’s is with former Cubs player and coach Bob Dernier. Bob was an awesome guest not once but twice. Our first conversation didn’t properly record so Brad had the embarrassing distinction of having two great wellness checks with Bob. Our mutual friend and last week’s guest Stewart McVicar connected Bob and Brad, saying that Bob is a great guy and would be a tremendous guest. He was not wrong! Bob talked about how he’s holding up in quarantine with his wife and 86-year-old mother, the interesting way he’s still getting in swings as an avid golfer, some of the highlights of his time with the Cubs as a player in the ’80s (the 1984 team in particular) and as a coach in the 2000s and early 2010s, how the letdown of 1984 compared to the letdown of 2003, what he felt about the Ricketts family when they took over, getting hit by a pitch in fantasy camp by Ernie Banks’ son, and much more. Enjoy!
April 11, 2020
Wellness Check: Clinical therapist Danielle Kepler
As quarantine drags on, many (if not most) of us are dealing with a wide variety of mental health issues so we figured it would make sense to bring in an expert to help make sense of this. Today’s guest is clinical therapist Danielle Kepler. Brad and Danielle talked about how the quarantine is impacting her both personally and professionally, how she can relate to her clients, how it is sharing her home with her husband and cat during the quarantine, some self-care tips, the interesting routine she’s been sticking to, how feeding the fear of going outside can make anxiety worse, some tips on proper use of social media and consumption of news and alcohol and drugs, how quarantine tips might vary based on an individual’s circumstances, what (if any) positives there are in this situation from her perspective, and of course what she would sacrifice for the quarantine to come to a prompt and responsible end (Brad suggested sacrificing Dr. Drew so you’ll have to listen to find out what she said). Check out and follow them at
April 10, 2020
The Time Bill Murray Crashed a Heckler Party
Brad tells Ethan about the time Bill Murray crashed a Heckler party that we planned with Rick Telander. Check out some photos here:
April 9, 2020
Wellness Check: Financial Planner Meredith Tabbone
Quarantine drags on but here’s a Wellness Check to help you pass the time. This one is with Brad’s financial planner Meredith Tabbone. With most people stressed about their finances, we thought this would be a good time to get some insight from her. Meredith talks about how she is personally handling the quarantine and the kinds of questions and concerns she’s hearing from her clients. We talked about some of the counterintuitive decisions people have to make in times like these and why it’s usually important to stick with a long-term plan rather than make decisions based solely on the immediate term. She answered Brad’s most urgent question, which involves the purchase of a tiger. Meredith talked about some of the tough choices people can make now to ease their current financial burdens even a bit. Meredith gave some advice on tools and resources available to help anyone get a better handle on their financial situation right now. She also shared her thoughts on credit cards, hard conversations, and maddening client situations. And she of course answered Brad’s question about what she’d sacrifice for the quarantine to be lifted as soon as possible. Follow Meredith on LinkedIn: and Instagram:
April 8, 2020
Wellness Check: Club 400’s Stewart McVicar
The quarantine continues so it’s time for another Wellness Check. Today’s guest is Stewart McVicar who turned his suburban basement into an epic 2,300 square foot shrine to the Cubs that he’s dubbed Club 400. Stewart and Brad are kindred spirits of sorts, both throwing tons of huge parties and doing whatever they can to get as many people together to have a great time, usually centered around sporting events. Stewart’s passion and devotion are at another level though. He talks about how he and his family are handling the quarantine, how long it took to build out the space, the Netflix show that featured Club 400, some of the cool memorabilia he’s got, the astounding amount of money he’s raised for various charities, hosting noteworthy folks like Tom Ricketts, Kerry Wood and others, how selling “We Got Wood” shirts in 1998 landed him in Cool County Jail, an epic “hiccup” he ran into when hosting Mark Grace, some of the dream guests he’s yet to host, what he’d sacrifice for the quarantine to end, and more. Visit Club 400 online at
April 7, 2020
Wellness Check: Kevin Kaduk
Quarantine drags on so it’s time for another Wellness Check. Today’s is with Kevin Kaduk who after 12 years at Yahoo Sports was “laid off before it was cool” at the end of last year. While weighing his next opportunities, Kevin took on some freelance gigs and launched Midway Minute, a fun Chicago sports daily newsletter that’s worth checking out. Brad and Kevin talk about how Kevin is hanging in there during the quarantine, the letters to the editor Kevin used to write to the Tribune while growing up in Bartlett, Kevin’s plans for his newsletter, Brad’s suggestions for driving traffic to the Midway Minute (athlete dick pics and hottest daughters of Hall of Famers), Kevin’s career path since graduating from UW-Madison, what it was like working with legendary sportswriters at the Kansas City Star in the early 2000s, how Kevin helped launch Nick Friedell’s illustrious career, The Heckler’s mixed review of Kevin’s book Wrigleyworld in 2005, whether Kevin would sacrifice his gorgeous head of hair for the quarantine to end soon, and much more. Subscribe to the Midway Minute ( and follow Kevin on Twitter (
April 6, 2020
Wellness Check: Jon Greenberg from The Athletic
Quarantine enters day 1,930 so it’s time for another Wellness Check. Today’s is with Jon Greenberg from The Athletic. Jon got his start in sports journalism with an internship in 2000 and has worked for a handful of great places, including ESPN. He became a founding editor of The Athletic where he produces a ton of great and insightful content. His dry sense of humor makes him a really good Twitter follow as well. Brad and Jon caught up shortly after Jon picked up a six-pack of beer thanks to curbside service near his home in the northern suburbs. Brad and Jon talked about how the quarantine is impacting him and his job, how The Athletic is still cranking out great content despite a lack of live sports, the bizarre “I’m Keith Hernandez” pseudo-documentary that he seems mildly obsessed with (link below), David Kaplan’s tattoos, the unique family atmosphere behind the scenes with the White Sox, the sad story of Ernie Banks, what Jon would sacrifice for the quarantine to end, and much more. Follow Jon on Twitter ( and check our The Athletic ( Also, be sure to watch “I’m Keith Hernandez” (
April 5, 2020
Wellness Check: CBS Chicago’s Jim Williams
Quarantine drags on unfortunately but we’re here with another Wellness Check. Today’s guest is CBS-2 reporter and weekend anchor Jim Williams. Jim invited Brad on his weekend morning news show back in 2004 to talk about The Heckler. They’ve only met in person once or twice but have been active friends on social media. Jim is well-regarded as a steady consummate professional and he reinforced that today with his patience after Brad completely screwed up his first attempt to record their 40-minute conversation which forced them to re-record the whole thing. We talked about how he’s hanging in there while still working in the field and studio five days a week, the measures he and his wife took to protect themselves during the quarantine, how in some ways the quarantine has brought him closer to some of the most important people in his life, how he’s approaching social media during this time, his theory on why people blamed the media during the beginning of the pandemic, how he handles criticism, and his interesting career timeline that includes a five-year stint as Mayor Daley’s press secretary. He also gives Brad advice as he considers shaving his head, what he’d sacrifice for the quarantine and pandemic to come to an end soon, and what gives him hope when he covers and experiences tragedies. Go to for more info on the station and Jim. He can be followed on Facebook and
April 3, 2020
Wellness Check: Stephanie from Players for Pits
Quarantine drags on so it’s time for another Wellness Check. Today’s is with Stephanie Paluch who founded the dog rescue Players for Pits. Much as been made of the influx of people interested in fostering or adopting a dog during the quarantine and Players for Pits is seeing that influx as well. They’ve been receiving as many as 10 applications a day which is many more than normal. Stephanie talks about how they’re dealing with that, the struggles around trying to place pit bulls in some homes, the origins of the organization, some of the MLB players who’ve been supporters, what a good day and a bad day look like for her, what she’d sacrifice for the quarantine to be over, and more. Follow Players for Pits at
April 3, 2020
Wellness Check: Jen formerly of The Heckler
Here we are in Day Whatever of the quarantine. Time for another Wellness Check. This one is with Jen formerly of The Heckler. Old school readers of The Heckler will remember Jen from her column chronicling her 20-something life in the bleachers and obsession with Moises Alou (she used to have an “I’d do Alou” shirt). Sadly, Jen became a grown up around the time she turned 30 and got married, had a baby and got a “serious job.” She’s since moved to Cleveland but she’s still hilarious, as evidenced by this Wellness Check and the quarantine dispatches she’s been posting to Facebook (they’re private but Brad reads an excerpt in the interview and is working very hard to convince Jen to start posting them to In this interview, we talk about a bunch of stuff, including but not limited to: her daily White Claw consumption habits, punishing people who have “quarantine babies” in nine months, why she thinks her son asked if babies are born with beards, her conspiracy theories on COV-19 and how her porn-watching habits have helped shape them, how the quarantine is impacting her family-planning situation due to a likely condom shortage and postponing her husband’s vasectomy, why she’d like to stock up on Xanax, why Hobby Lobby isn’t essential, what she’d sacrifice for the quarantine to be responsibly lifted, and much much more.
April 2, 2020
Wellness Check: Laurianne Olbrisch
Another day in quarantine means another Wellness Check ... today’s is with my dear friend Laurianne (also known as “Laurianimal”). Laurianne and I met in approximately 2008 at an early Heckler Spring Training Trip. She proceeded to attend 11 straight, taking a break this year. She’s promised to be back for 2021 and I hope you’ll join us! (More info: ). Laurianne grew up on Chicago’s NW Side (Edison Park represent!) and has lived in L.A. for about 15 years. She has been hanging in there during the quarantine with her boyfriend in their cozy one-bedroom apartment. Laurianne is a joy to be around so it surprised me a bit when she started off the interview by saying she’s “angry most of the time,” even though she did clarify that a little later. She’s turning 40 in three weeks and now has no plans due to the quarantine and she discussed how that makes her feel. Laurianne told the story of her first Spring Training Trip, involving a drunken Lakers game and packing her clothes in a laundry basket. She also talked a few times about how she’s a patriot and what patriotic people like her should do during a pandemic and what she’d sacrifice for the quarantine to end and life to turn back to normal. Speaking of “normal,” she talked about what it’s like to date a moose and how everyone should watch Rocky & Bullwinkle on Amazon Prime:
April 1, 2020
Wellness Check: Glendon Rusch
Another day in quarantine means another Wellness Check. Today’s is with former Cub (and Royal, Met, Brewer, Padre and Rocky) Glendon Rusch. Anyone who follows Glendon on social media knows he’s a funny and friendly guy and this interview was no exception. Brad and Glendon talked about a ton of stuff, including how he and his family are handling the quarantine, how it most likely wiped out his son’s senior year of high school baseball, how it seems like he was a Cub longer than three years, what it’s like living with a compromised respiratory system in the age of COVID-19, the other former Cub who randomly lives right around the corner from him, his thoughts on Kerry Wood’s 20-strikeout game, his Twitter “beef” with Moises Alou, how it felt to sign with a very talented Cubs team in 2004 after being released by the Rangers at the end of Spring Training, the legendary stories of Ryan Dempster streaking at Stanley’s back in the day and how you’ll never see stuff like that again because of social media, what he remembers about all three of his MLB HRs, what it was like pitching for the Mets in the 2000 Subway Series and then right after Sept. 11, and what he’d sacrifice in order to have life back to “normal” immediately. Also, Brad was a little sleep-deprived which is why he forgot the Subway Series happened in 2000 and not 2001 and why he accidentally said the Yankees played the Rays in the 2001 Series when everyone knows it was actually the D-Backs. Follow Glendon on Twitter:
March 31, 2020
Wellness Check: Laurence Holmes
Another day in quarantine means another Wellness Check. Today’s is with Laurence Holmes who is a daytime host on The Score 670-AM, NBC Sports Chicago host and professor at DePaul. He also produces an awesome podcast called House of L. Laurence is a great, creative guy with a tremendous work ethic (as evidenced by the three jobs). Brad and Laurence talk about how the quarantine is impacting him and his jobs, how the radio industry might impacted long-term as most hosts are working from home, whether he’s enjoying all the old classic games on TV right now, his thoughts on the NFL storylines out there, what he’d sacrifice for the quarantine and sports stoppages to end immediately, and he invites Brad and his wife to his neighborhood block party this summer (assuming it happens (sad face)). Follow Laurence on Twitter:
March 30, 2020
Wellness Check: Jason from Clark Street Sports
Another day in quarantine means another Wellness Check, this one with Jason Caref who is a co-owner of Clark Street Sports. He’s a great guy who’s built a big business along with his partners. Jason and Brad talk about how the quarantine has been impacting him and his business. He was in Arizona working for Spring Training when everything got shut down and he’s still out there, now with his wife and kids. Jason talks about how they’ve had to furlough their employees and how their suppliers like Nike and New Era have been to work with during these uncertain times. Jason got his start in the business around the age of 10 while hustling tickets and other merch around Wrigley in the ’80s. He talks about getting autographs from Sandberg, Grace, Dawson and other Cubs from that era and how ushers used to let him sneak into games for free. Jason talks about what he’d sacrifice for the quarantine to end safely and for baseball to return and he also makes a plea to listeners to support local small businesses now and after the quarantine is lifted. Check out and follow them on social media.
March 28, 2020
Wellness Check: Photographer Will Byington
Quarantine drags on but fear not as another Wellness Check is on the way. Today’s guest is Will Byington, a well-known photographer based on Chicago’s North Side. Will and Brad have been friends since 2004 and spend some time on this interview yelling “get off my lawn” at the “douche-refic” (his word) bars that are now in Wrigleyville while also appreciating some aspects of the neighborhood’s evolution. We also talk about how he’s getting by during the quarantine as a guy who makes most of his living photographing live events, all the amazing plans he’s had to cancel, his time on The Heckler Spring Training trip earlier this month (which feels like years ago), what he would give up for baseball to start again and the world to return to “normal” (hint: It’s not a testicle), his friendship with the Murray brothers, Kato Kalin (why not?), Will’s participation in the #1PushUpChallenge, his advice for others both during the quarantine and during normal times, and his appreciation of art and entertainment (even Tiger King). Check Will out at
March 27, 2020
Wellness Check: John Vincent (part 2)
Our wide-ranging interview with John Vincent continues! Please follow him at
March 27, 2020
Wellness Check: John Vincent (part 1)
Quarantine continues and so does our Wellness Check series. In this episode, Brad interviews singer extraordinary John Vincent. Those lucky enough to know John or follow him on social media are aware of his oversized personality, amazing singing talents and openness about his mental health battles. Another cool thing about John is that he’s got a lot of famous friends (note how names like Brett Favre, Joe Maddon, Mike McCarthy and Mike Ditka come up in the interview) but he treats everyone he meets with the same level of respect and courtesy. He’s also a very passionate guy who has done a ton of research on coronavirus, the Spanish Flu and the Black Plague. Things get a little dark in this interview but in the end, John stays upbeat and shares what he hopes for the world once we emerge from this quarantine. Check out John’s website for his social handles and for info on his gigs once the world starts moving again.
March 27, 2020
Wellness Check: Len Kasper
As the quarantine drags on, Brad checked in with another friend, this time Len Kasper the (in)comparable TV voice of the Chicago Cubs. It should have been Opening Day today so we wanted to make sure fans get to hear Len’s voice anyway. Len has always been extremely friendly and gracious with us (he even has an old Heckler framed on his office wall!), just like he is with all fans. We talked about how he and his family are staying healthy mentally and physically during the quarantine, how he’s keeping in touch with colleagues, the COVID-19 podcast he’s been listening to, how he strives for being agreeable or “not annoying” in his broadcast style (The Heckler once lovingly referred to him as “Vanilla Kasper Krunch”), the heat he’s taken for mentioning “no-hitter” during broadcasts, looking up to legends like Ernie Harwell and Pat Summerall, how his passion for writing and playing music is giving him something to focus on during this downtime, and much more. Len gives us a special treat at the end that we should all be listening to today. Be sure to follow Len on Twitter if you don’t already: Also, here’s the podcast he’s been listening to:
March 26, 2020
Wellness Check: Joe Johnson from Obvious Shirts
The quarantine continues! Brad caught up with Joe Johnson at Obvious Shirt’s palatial global headquarters. It was a fun and wide-ranging wellness check, discussing things like the charitable endeavors Obvious Shirts supports, how he plans to spend what should have been Cubs Opening Day, which past and current players he’s met who have impressed him most, what a struggle it is having friends who are fans of the St. Louis Cardinals, the team he out-rebounded Rusty LaRue and made a crisp bounce pass to Michael Jordan for his first and only NBA assist, how his life’s biggest regret does NOT involve Dennis Rodman, what he’s learned from the quarantine, the one thing he’d give up to have baseball back (hint: It’s not a testicle), and which of his “mid-major” pizza places in the city are his favorite. Check out Obvious Shirts at
March 25, 2020
Wellness Check: Trick Shot Champion Ryan Walter
The quarantine drags on but one bright spot has been the number of people posting trick shot videos to social media. Our Undisputed Quarantine Trick Shot Champion Ryan Walter joined us for a wellness check to discuss the creative process behind his shots. He also talked about how his downstairs neighbors feel about the whole thing, how his longest shot took seven hours to successfully complete, that he’s running out of wardrobe options, and how House of Highlights shared one of his trick shots but he didn’t get much credit. We also talk about the two times Brad and Ryan have met, one involving an SNL alum and the other an epic beer run story. And there’s bonus footage with Ryan talking about his career as a kid music rocker and how Brad thinks Ryan should incorporate a banjo into an upcoming trick shot. His music is really good! Check him out on Instagram and SoundCloud
March 24, 2020
Wellness Check: Kyle Farnsworth
Another day of quarantine is in the books and Kyle Farnsworth was kind enough to join us for a wellness check. Back in the day, Kyle was a prime target for The Heckler due to his hard-throwing, hard-partying ways. We talk about that (including speculation as to whether his jersey is still on the wall at Tai’s Til 4), how he now looks back at getting traded out of Chicago after the 2004 season, some behind-the-scenes stories about the 2003 Cubs, what went wrong with the 2004 club, what he’s doing now (including playing semipro football where he’s had several major injuries), what it was like to pitch in the Mexican League compared to how it was for Kenny Powers, and we of course talk about the time he beat the ever-loving shit out of Paul Wilson. Follow Kyle’s gym Farnsworth Peak Performance on Facebook:
March 23, 2020
Wellness Check: Nick Friedell
With the quarantine still going strong, Brad caught up with his good friend Nick Friedell from ESPN. He rose to prominence about a decade ago covering the Derrick Rose-led Bulls and a few years ago moved to the Bay Area to cover the Warriors. Brad and Nick talked about how he is handling quarantine in his penthouse suite at the Ritz Carlton (which might not be true), the surprising way he thinks NBA players are socializing while holed up, how the Rudy Gobert coronavirus diagnosis impacted the league, how long he thinks it’ll take to get the league up and running once the virus is under control, what it was like covering the Bulls during the D-Rose era, if he’s surprised GarPax is still around, Joakim Noah’s broad appeal with the ladies, the player who had surprising groupie game, the best interviews he’s done (one might have involved Michael Jordan), his relationship with guys like Jimmy Butler and Kevin Durant, playing HORSE with Dominque Wilkins, and the MLB player who was his worst interview ever.
March 23, 2020
Wellness Check: Ethan from The Heckler
Quarantine continues so Brad checked in with Ethan from The Heckler. We talked about the technology problems we’re having today with our botched Facebook Live attempt and how Brad almost forgot to record the podcast. We also talked about NFL Hall of Famer Kurt Warner doing the #1PushUpChallenge, how whirlyball and laser tag are awesome and that we can’t wait to play them once the quarantine is over, the national run on toilet paper, Jamal Murray’s supposed Instagram hack, and much more. Please listen, rate, share, subscribe, and all that stuff.
March 22, 2020
Wellness Check: Rick Telander
We’re a week into the quarantine so we figured we’d check in with some friends to see how they’re doing. Brad caught up with our first-ever repeat guest Rick Telander and talked about a ton of stuff. Among the topics: making a Long Island Ice Tea with Dr. Pepper, Joe Pepitone’s wig (with a casual Roger Maris name-drop that Brad totally missed), how Brad mispronounces “nuclear,” how Rick grew up in fear his town of Peoria would get nuked by the Soviets, stock market tips, the 2016 NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament game Rick most recently watch, the Christian Laettner 30 for 30, “Mad Men,” and a ton more. Give it a listen and please subscribe, rate and review us on iTunes. Thanks and stay safe out there!
March 21, 2020
Emergency Episode: A Real Life Epidemiologist Answers Our Dumb Questions
Brad’s friend Nick Davis is the only epidemiologist we know so we invited him on to talk about how much we should be freaking out right now. All our Fans in Cool Places Drinking Beer videos:
March 18, 2020
Scoop Jackson: Working on the Kaepernick Nike campaign, his new book, sneakers & more
Scoop Jackson talks with Brad and Ethan at V's Barbershop in Bucktown about his new book “The Game is Not a Game,” working on the Nike Kaepernick campaign, MLK Day celebrations, why white people should talk more about race amongst themselves, sneaker culture, his time at SLAM magazine, and much much more. Also! A quick recap of The Heckler’s 15th Annual Spring Training trip to Mesa. Video interview: More info: All our Fans in Cool Places Drinking Beer videos:
March 3, 2020
Rick Telander: Michael Jordan, Mike Ditka, riding the rails, getting drafted by the Chiefs, and more
Rick Telander talks with Brad and Ethan at V's Barbershop in Bucktown about a wide ranging list of topics: riding the rails in his youth, the time Michael Jordan's mom made him pancakes, being drafted by the Chiefs in 1971, writing one of the best sports books of all time, whether the Ricketts family is good for the Cubs, and much much more. Video interview: More info: All our Fans in Cool Places Drinking Beer videos:
February 8, 2020
John Vincent: The National Anthem, Lady Gaga and much more
Singer John Vincent talks with us about getting tweeted by Lady Gaga, why he holds the word “FREEEEEEEEE” during the Anthem, his anti-bullying efforts, the time he attempted suicide, hanging out with Mike Ditka and Joe Maddon, and much more. Recorded at The Fifty/50 in the Ukrainian Village. There’s a video of this too if you want to see how pretty we look.
October 7, 2019
Laurence Holmes: Balding white guys, Prince, creepy fans, and much more
670-AM the Score host Laurence Holmes talks with Brad about how balding white guys can shave their heads and not look like Aryans, seeing an epic Prince press conference, creepy fans, getting his Master’s degree, and much much more.
August 5, 2019
Obvious Shirts founder interview: How words on shirts became a huge business
Obvious Shirts founder Joe Johnson talks with The Heckler at The Fifty/50 about how he started his company that's now wildly popular with fans of the Cubs and many other teams around the country.
July 4, 2019
Tom Waddle: Mike Ditka, Deion Sanders, a 1989 Ford Taurus and much more
Fans In Cool Places Drinking Beer, Episode 1: Tom Waddle joins The Heckler's Ethan Blumenthal at Harry Caray's Italian Steakhouse in River North to talk about his playing days, compare himself to a 1989 Ford Taurus, to try to himself on Harry Caray's wall of celebrity photos, and much more. To view the video version of this interview visit Thanks to,, &
April 6, 2019
Bryan Bickell: ‘Alex Burrows is just one of those guys you wanted to punch’
We recently sat down with Bryan Bickell at Saturday Night Live: The Experience to discuss his playing days with the Chicago Blackhawks and the wonderful Bryan & Amanda Bickell Foundation Not surprisingly, Bryan was hilarious and didn't hold back. (Maybe the Old Style Beer helped). For the video version of this segment, please visit
April 6, 2019