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Monday, November 12, 2012
David Koechner talks 'Anchorman 2,' sports

By Zach McCann

David Koechner
David Koechner, best known for his roles in "The Office" and "Anchorman," knows his sports.
NEW YORK CITY -- Comedian David Koechner starred in “Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy” as Champion “Champ” Kind, an uninhibited sports reporter at a San Diego TV station in the 1970s -- before the advent of the 24 hour news cycle and full-time sports networks.

Details about the movie’s sequel, set to release in late 2013 and again starring Will Ferrell, Steve Carrel and Paul Rudd, are still guarded, but Koechner hinted at the next movie's main plot line.

“The thing that Adam McKay, the director, has let out – because you know everyone wants to keep as much information under wraps as possible – is that it’s set in the advent of the 24-hour news cycle,” Koechner told ESPN Playbook. “So it will be set right around 1980.”

That’s the year after ESPN launched the first-ever full-time sports network. Could “Champ” be taking on ESPN in “Anchorman: The Legend Continues”?

Koechner smiled and said, “That’s right about the year. But I may have read a script, so I can’t say anything.”

Koechner, speaking before the debut of the Axe Hair Comedy Tour, was much more talkative when asked about his sports fanhood, his depressing sports memories and why he dreams of playing Eric Dickerson in a movie.

ESPN Playbook: Are you a big sports fan?

David Koechner: I grew up a Chiefs fan. I’m from Missouri and I had relatives in Kansas City, and my wife is from Kansas City. I’m still a Chiefs fan. It’s a tough year for the Chiefs – probably even worse than tough. It’s a record low for the Chiefs this year, so we hope they bounce back. I also lived in Chicago for nine years, and it’s impossible to live in that city and not be a Bears fan. So I’m still a Bears fan. And there’s no conflict, really, because they’re in different conferences. So until they meet in the Super Bowl, I’m fine.

That would be a good problem to have.

Hey, the Bears are having a great season so they could be there. I’m filled with melancholy. I’m happy and sad, sad and happy. Chiefs and Bears, Bears and Chiefs.

You played a fictional sports reporter in "Anchorman," and will again in the sequel. If you could play the role of any real-life sports figure, who would you choose?

That’s a good question. I guess I would say Eric Dickerson.

Eric Dickerson? Such resemblance.

He’s always been my favorite running back. I just love the way he glided like a gazelle down the lanes. A lot of people say, “Koechner, you’re crazy, you can’t play Eric Dickerson.” To which I would say, I think we’re about the same height. So, not so crazy. And he’s bald too. I would have to shave the sides of my head – that’s all it would take.

That would be the first role you’ve actually cut off hair to play?

Finally. Less hair.

If your life depended on your performance in a competitive sport, which would you choose?

One that I’ve participated in?

Yes.

Oh, that’s tough. I’m just slightly below average in all sport. I guess football.

Did you play?

David Koechner
David Koechner is touring with comedians Owen Benjamin and Abby Elliott this week.
I did, but to no effect. There is no record of me playing. I hold no records. My cousins were state title holders as running backs, so the last name would be there. I could tell people they used to call me Kirk and Kyle when I was in high school. The genes are intertwined somewhere, but apparently the Downey gene was stronger in my family.

What’s your favorite sports memory, either as a fan or a participant?

Just thinking out of the box, I’d probably go with Devin Hester’s kickoff return in the Super Bowl against the Colts. I thought it was sewn up. It was so amazing because it felt like there was danger lurking, and then there he goes. That was the opening kickoff. I felt like, wow, game over. But alas, it was not to be. That was a really great moment. Oh, and you know what I loved seeing last year? In the NBA playoffs, they showed that Dr. J dunk, where he goes up, and comes all the way under. I remember as a kid I was so hoping Dr. J would get an NBA title, and then he did, so for some reason that sticks out. When I was a kid, I always wanted the Vikings to win a Super Bowl and it never happened. I guess my memories, a lot of them are kind of sad. I remember the Chiefs in the ‘70s. 1970, to be exact.

You were young – how well do you remember it?

I remember it, especially because I had cousins in Kansas City. Hank Stram – you know, that’s probably who I’d like to play. The coach of the Chiefs. He was a very colorful guy.

So following those Chiefs teams, who was your childhood sports idol?

I’d say Buck Buchanan and Willie Lanier, the linemen on the Chiefs. I had a Willie Lanier poster in my room as a kid.

So for Champ Kind, your role in the Anchorman movies, where did you draw your inspiration from? Any real-life sportscasters?

Your guys at your network, the era pre-dated even ESPN. Obviously we’ve all grown up watching our local anchors doing news and sports, so probably my inspiration was from that and every sportscaster I’ve seen. I know people want one answer, but there isn’t one. And the script was so hilarious, you didn’t really have to manufacture or divine something special to make it work.