Is it possible to be funny in a wheelchair? That’s the question Big Daddy Graham plans to answer next month.
The longtime 94.1 WIP host and comedian, who remains paralyzed following emergency spinal cord surgery back in July, will return to his “Two Funny Philly Guys” show alongside Joe Conklin on Feb. 15 at the historic Broadway Theater in Pitman, N.J. Fellow WIP host Ray Didinger will once again emcee the affair.
“Obviously, this is going to be the first time I do my act from a wheelchair, so it won’t be stand-up anymore,” said Graham, joking.
With the show about a month away, Graham (real name Edward Gudonis) is still working on his set, in which he plans to mix old material with new jokes about life in a wheelchair. He had his son-in-law put together a mixing board that attaches to his chair, and he’ll wear a headset with a microphone. The goal is to do a full 45 minutes onstage, but Conklin admits that might be tough, considering how unpredictable Graham’s recovery has been.
“It’s the biggest theater we do, and it’s right around the corner from his house, so he’s got a lot of energy for this show,” Conklin said. “He sounds real motivated.”
It’s been six months since the spinal cord injury left Graham, 66, paralyzed from the waist down. His first public appearance following the life-changing event was a book party in November to celebrate the launch a revised edition of The Great Book of Philadelphia Sports Lists, coauthored with WIP host Glen Macnow.
Graham has also made multiple appearances on WIP since the surgery, and his long-term goal is to return to the overnight show he’s hosted at the station since 1996, but no return date has been set. Graham also plans to experiment with podcasting, and might bring back his long-dormant podcast, Big Daddy’s Classic Rock Showdown.
“I can’t wait to get back on the air because they might be the weirdest shows in the history of radio,” Graham said.
• Longtime play-by-play announcer Kevin Harlan was named the sportscaster of the year by the National Sports Media Association (NSMA). It’s the second time in his career Harlan has won the award, and while Harlan easily deserves recognition for his solid broadcasting work for CBS, Turner Sports, and Westwood One (where he’ll call the AFC championship game on Sunday), it’s his ability to dive in when something abnormal happens (like his Nov. 4 call of a black cat on the field at MetLife Stadium) that sets the 59-year-old apart from the rest:
ESPN news breaker Adrian Wojnarowski was named the organization’s national sportswriter of the year. Locally, NBC Sports Philadelphia’s John Clark was named the Pennsylvania sportscaster of the year, while the Pennsylvania sportswriter of the year is none other than longtime Inquirer columnist Bob Ford.
The organization is also inducting six new members into its hall of fame: Syndicated radio host and former SportsCenter icon Dan Patrick, Pardon the Interruption cohost Michael Wilbon, longtime Sports Illustrated writer Tom Verducci, former Atlanta Braves announcer Skip Caray, ex-University of Kentucky broadcaster Cawood Ledford, and former New York Post and Daily News reporter Dick Young. The ceremony will take place in Winston-Salem, N.C., on June 29.
• Good Day, Philadelphia co-host Mike Jerrick interviewed what supposedly was the trash can that was part of the Houston Astros’ cheating scandal. It was a funny bit, but the best touch was the crew actually mic’d the trash can up.
• Looking for a consistently hilarious Philly sports account to follow on Twitter? Allow me to recommend @FakeWIPCaller, which channels the frantic persona of a sports talk caller into consistent comedy gold, 280 characters at a time. Here’s @FakeWIPCaller’s take on the Houston Astros cheating scandal: