For Cubs fans especially, but also baseball fans, there is a special tonight on the MLB Network about Hall of Fame broadcaster Harry Caray. It airs in Los Angeles at 6 PM and 9 PM. (I'm not sure of the time in the East, but I'll guess 9 PM and Midnight. In Chicago it airs at 7 PM and 10 PM.)
This also gives me the opportunity to bring up a little known name, along with post a couple of videos below.
An article on the MLB website discusses the top 7 Harry Caray impressions. There were some people you'd expect on the list, most notably Will Ferrell, as well as former Cubs pitcher Ryan Dempster, who had first-hand experience with Harry. But Dempster, good as he is (so good that you see him at the top of the article), was only #3. And Ferrell was only #2. Overall, though, the list was pretty good. There are a lot of good Harry Caray impressions out there.
(You can see the full list here, with videos for each),
For me, though, when I saw the headline, I immediately thought of who was, for my taste, at least, far and away the best impersonator of Harry Caray. That would be a Chicago comedian John Caponera. He was absolutely spot on in his voice and facial expressions, and also had funny (and close-to-accurate...) material. Caponera also had a respectable career acting, mainly in sitcoms, though some films -- he even starred in one, The Good Life, that was on for half a season in 1995. (I also feel a certain affinity for him because he's friends from back in Chicago with my barber, Don, though that's not especially critical here.). But John Caponera, to me, is the best. Even if you haven't heard of him.
Anyway, to the great credit of the article's author, at #1 as the best Harry Caray impression, they had -- yes, John Caponera!
This is what they wrote about him: "This impression hits for the cycle: Comedian Caponera nails the facial expression, the voice, the rambling broadcasting style, the unabashed penchant for ripping the home team (when deserved, of course), the irreverence and the occasional distractions. Quite simply, this is the gold standard for Caray impressions. It's so good, it's almost Harry-scary."
Here are a couple of videos of John Caponera doing Harry. This first comes from some TV show that had comedians sitting around a table playing poker --
And here's one more. It's another video of John Caponera doing his Harry Caray in a more formal appearance on a talk show. By the way, for those who think his quips about Harry's on-air drinking are huge exaggerations, they probably are...though only because of the definition of the word "huge." There was a Cubs broadcast sometime in the late 1980s, I believe that went into extended extra innings. I can't recall how many, but it was at least 16 innings, and maybe closer to 20. Towards the end, he was so inebriated, that he was "excused," and his analyst Steve Stone took over for the remainder of the game --
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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