Taran Killam talks ‘NFL Pile On,’ a sports comedy show that will be ‘The Daily Show’ for football fans


Taran Killam has one of the most fascinating careers you can find in Hollywood. The 40-year-old Culver City, Calif. native has been acting since he was a kid (his first film role was in a scene ultimately cut from Naked gun 33 1/3 – and no, he didn’t work with OJ Simpson). He is best known for his six-year stint on Saturday Night Live from 2010 to 2016, and remains one of the most underrated alumni of that era. And while most of his work has been in comedy, he’s also proven himself to be a true utility man. He appeared in the Oscar-winning drama 12 years of slavery as kidnapper Abram Hamilton and played King George III for six months in the Broadway smash hamilton.

Now he claims the Jon Stewart (or Trevor Noah) title of football.

Killam’s Prime Video Sports Variety Show The NFL stacks up is like The daily show for grill fans, though other comparisons abound.

“One hundred percent,” Killam says of the Daily show comparison in a new interview with Yahoo Entertainment. “Everyone takes their own favorite half-hour comedy show. So it’s either talk about soup for football or The daily show for football or Last week tonight for football. And to be completely honest, we’re still finding our structure and playing things. But our mission statement, which you can find us on Prime — and we’re buried pretty deep, Kevin – or you just see a clip on your Instagram feed is [to present] something visually that will stand out and look like nothing else. So we’re still playing and trying to find our forms so that eventually someone can throw, ‘You know, ‘That’s The stack on meets failures.

What Killam and his team have experienced so far has been a wide range of monologues, sketches, impressions, panel discussions (including with Yahoo Sports commentator, former player and comedian Jared Quay Campbell) and comedy bits that proved the show to be entertaining, funny, and just the right amount of weirdness. In an inspired guest spot, Ricky Williams shows up to offer advice to the saints — and only recommends different types of edibles. In another inspired segment, kids adorably voice over one Mic Up parody. (Due to Amazon’s lucrative partnership with the NFL, Killam and company have carte blanche over the league’s official images, a rare and enviable nest egg for the show.)

To paraphrase Killam, a die-hard Los Angeles Rams fan who makes no secret of his show allegiance, this is our favorite NFL pre-game show every Wednesday on Prime Video.

“That’s bold of you,” Killam laughs. “I mean, we’re having so much fun. I mean, in terms of comedy, it’s weird where I like to live. And luckily I was on the radar of [Chris Pizzi and Jason Weber], the guys who invented this show, as football enthusiasts and also having a background in comedy. So I keep counting my lucky stars that this show exists. And we’re probably having more fun than we deserve doing it.

Elsewhere in our interview, Killam weighed in on a variety of hot football topics:

Who is the best commentator in the game? “I’ll get old and I’ll get new… Cris Collinsworth, I could listen to this guy talk about anything and sometimes I listen to him talk about anything [laughs]. Like, his tangents are pretty good, but I don’t know, there’s just something comforting about the timbre of his voice, and the fact that he’s a former player. I really respect [his voice]. And more recently, I think Mark Sanchez is pretty good. If he chooses to be, he’ll be there for a long time because he’s lively, he’s fast, he’s quick, but he also has charisma and he keeps him alive, he keeps him active. He doesn’t just regurgitate statistics. So yes, Cris and Mark.

Who is the best expert? I’m a Peter Schrager guy. You can have your [Kyle Brandt], but I’m Team Schrager. I love that Schrager loves everyone and everyone loves him, you know what I mean? I also like Sarah Spain. You know who else is fun to listen to? We beat the reporter who covers the Rams for Athleticism, Jourdan Rodrigue. She is fantastic. She is so funny. She’s thorough, she’s sharp, she gets the information right, but she’s also hilarious. So she’s probably my favorite. But that amounts to being biased about the Rams.

Where are you on the Josh Allen-Patrick Mahomes debate? Should it even be a debate, who is the best? Or should we just enjoy them both? Listen, like someone who starred in hamilton on Broadway, I would say the world is big enough for Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen. These guys are awesome and I really have so much fun watching Josh Allen just because of his enthusiasm, you know what I mean? There’s something about Mahomes where [he] kind of goes into a kind of Zen thing, like Deadeye Zen mode where he’s just focused on one spot on the field, but his arms are aware of reality all around him. But Allen plays with a passion that’s really, really fun to watch. He is enjoying the ride. So right now it’s Allen by a hair’s breadth, but I also love Mahomes.

Are Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers screwed? I mean, washed? No, because they participate in the games, you know what I mean? Are they of the same caliber as some of these young players who are coming? I do not think so. But it’s not the first half of the season, it’s the second half of the season that gets you to the playoffs. So those were the two guys who were perhaps the most successful of all time. So I’m not going to write them off completely yet. Would we be shocked if it turns out that they do one of the the toughest physical jobs in the world at a grade below their height because they’re both in or near their 40s? Of course, that’s OK. They deserve to be dulled a little, you know?

What happened to Russell Wilson? Altitude poisoning? [laughs] Yeah, that’s crazy. And listen, from a guy from NFC West, I don’t understand, the implosion. Like “Russ is going to show them everything now and Seattle is doomed.” That being so irrelevant. Seattle is number one in our division. I don’t understand it. And I can’t believe it will last. Again, wear and tear, you know what I mean? And Russell was one of the best scramblers the league had ever seen.

Who wins the Super Bowl? The bills. And they will beat the Rams because it will be a season of symmetry.

New episodes of The NFL Stack With Taran Killam airs every Wednesday on Prime Video.


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