Adam McKay is pretty much known at this point for taking a “Saturday Night Live” approach to larger-scale projects. Everything from “Vice” to “Succession,” and now on “Winning Time,” we see comically over-the-line portrayals of either real people or characters we’re supposed to loosely tie to today’s society.
Within that context, we knew heading into “Winning Time” that we’d see a darker, cartoonish side of everyone associated with the Showtime Lakers, but we weren’t necessarily prepared for what that would actually look or sound like. So this week on “The Anthony Irwin Show,” I welcomed Spencer Garett — who plays Chick Hearn — to discuss some of the show’s and his own choices in portraying the legendary Lakers broadcaster.
I started by asking about his preparation for this role, in which he’s suiting up as someone he listened to call games as a Lakers fan all his life. We talked about his own reaction to getting the gig, how his family and friends reacted to him playing one of their city’s most iconic voices, and his general approach to playing Hearn.
By now, we’ve seen Garrett as Hearn make a couple of casually racist or homophobic comments, so I tried to ask what it was like to have this be such a large part of the character thus far, as well what amount of leeway Garrett has to veer from the script. It led to a discussion about Hearn and the different way people spoke at that time, and about the choices a show can (or should) make with people who really existed and, in this case, can’t defend themselves against what the audience has seen to this point.
I also made sure to ask if we’ll see progress from Hearn on this front, and without giving too much away, it sounds like we’ll get more of an explanation for how they’re portraying Hearn, as well as some growth from working with Pat Riley.
We wrapped on what his favorite parts of the role have been, as well as some fun reminiscing about what Hearn was like on the mic in games.
You can listen to the full episode below, and to make sure you never miss a show, subscribe to the Silver Screen and Roll podcast feed on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher or Google Podcasts.
And for a short-form recap pod, check out Lakers Lowdown, in which Anthony Irwin recaps the previous day’s news and gets you ready for the day ahead in LakerLand, every weekday morning on the Silver Screen & Roll Podcast feed.