Terry Bradshaw playing himself perfectly

May, 4, 2014
May 4
6:28
PM ET
CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Terry Bradshaw brought his self-deprecating one-man show to Cleveland Sunday as part of the Pro Football Hall of Fame FanFest.

Between songs, self put-downs and stories about his humble beginnings and football success, Bradshaw weaves a fine tale.

Titled "America's Favorite Dumb Blonde -- A Life in Four Quarters," Bradshaw plays himself perfectly. Not because he's playing a part, but because he's being himself, and being genuine always works. In this case, he allows fans a peek into his background, but he does it the same way he does it while analyzing games on FOX or in his semi-regular TV appearances.

"Dumb is my calling card," he said with a cackle.

[+] EnlargeTerry Bradshaw
AP Photo/Mark DuncanTerry Bradshaw is entertaining in his one-man show "America's Favorite Dumb Blonde -- A Life in Four Quarters."
We should all be so dumb. Bradshaw takes big swipes of life, embraces its ups and downs, and comes out of every experience with a big, bold smile.

He called his one-man show "almost a bucket list" kind of thing. It has played at The Mirage Hotel in Las Vegas and now is on the road. With former teammate Franco Harris sitting in the second row, Bradshaw filled his show with jokes about his ex-wives and his playing days.

"I'm gonna enjoy myself," he said, walking around the stage in sneakers and jeans. "Whether it's good or bad makes no difference to me."

Despite timing issues and a pregnant pause here and there, the audience enjoyed it, too.

This is not Broadway, but Bradshaw can sing a country tune and can make fun of himself with the best of them.

He admitted doing the show in Cleveland, where the Steelers are the hated rivals, "is not where I need to be." But he added, "For $1,500 I'll go about anywhere."

The show almost seemed like a spinoff of Bradshaw's motivational talks. He is an energetic, lively speaker, which is part of his post-NFL success.

Those expecting a treasure trove of Steelers stories will be disappointed. The show is mainly about life outside football, though he does spend a fair amount of time on the "Immaculate Reception."

The show started with Bradshaw asking everyone to turn and shake the hand of a stranger, then hug someone, then give someone a kiss. He talked about how poor he was growing up in Louisiana (he said he used pages from the Sears and Roebuck catalog for toilet paper) and how he got to Louisiana Tech (because he "failed" the ACT and couldn't go to to LSU).

He made fun of his naked appearance in the film "Failure to Launch" with Matthew McConaughey, saying his "white butt" was on the screen far too long. He saw the film with his daughter, and all she could say was "oooh Daddy."

His songs -- "Going Deep," "Humble Beginnings" and "You Never Know How Good You Got It" (the last recorded with Glen Campbell) -- keep the show moving.

It seems like its' simply in Bradshaw's to be upbeat. He knows what he is and what he is not, and he's not afraid to share it.

Harris chuckled through the show, especially the part when Bradshaw said "Franco was supposed to blocking" on the Immaculate Reception. Another former Steeler, Rod Woodson, said he did not attend but he heard some of the music while wandering the FanFest.

"I think," Woodson said, "I'll wait until it's on TV, or Netflix."

Somehow it seems Bradshaw would hear this and laugh that famous laugh, head back, mouth wide open.

At the age of 65 and doing a one-man show, Bradshaw seems to be, as Warren Zevon urged, enjoying every sandwich. Which is really a pretty good way to go through life.

"Hug your momma, hug your daddy," he said at the show's conclusion. "Hug your kids. Be nice. And learn how to smile."

Pat McManamon

ESPN Cleveland Browns reporter

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