Sunday brought one of the weirder Twitter battles in the history of social media. For whatever reason, comedian Norm Macdonald was live tweeting the Final Round of the WGC tournament at Doral. Norm Macdonald’s style of comedy is certainly unique and isn’t for everybody. He’s crossed over into sports several times before, with his Sports Show on Comedy Central bringing a few laughs before meeting the chopping block. Before yesterday, Norm Macdonald had only tweeted a couple hundred times in over a year, and yet he had a few hundred thousand followers. Then, suddenly, Norm went balls to the wall in covering yesterday’s golf action like he was Jason Sobel. Evidently, he has done something similar in the past, with an audio “Normcast” of The Masters, but his thorough live tweeting surprised people, and evidently miffed one fellow golf pundit in particular… Rick Reilly.
Reilly is another person that attempts to combine golf and humor, although it’s tough to tell exactly how many people find Reilly’s work funny. It’s no secret that Rick Reilly has become an internet punching bag over the years, what with accusations of stealing other people’s work, attacks on bloggers, and generally stealing millions of dollars from ESPN while mailing it in these last few years. Rick Reilly tweeted Norm that he didn’t appreciate the excessive live tweeting of what everyone could theoretically see on television. Then came the dreaded unfollow hashtag. Unfortunately for Reilly, Norm noticed and retweeted it on his timeline…
With all the criticism that has been leveled at him in the past, Rick Reilly has never received a shellacking like the one Norm Macdonald delivered on Sunday. In one corner stands a dry, offbeat comedian, who was either furiously drunk tweeting or became very, very offended at being unfollowed by someone whose avatar is a hole in the ground with a stick stuck in it. In the other corner was a poor sportswriter caught in the crosshairs.
Be forewarned, this may be the most brutal Twitter beatdown ever recorded. And the following evidence is only part of the massacre…
This can’t be ruled anything but a first round knockout in favor of Norm Macdonald. Reilly was either too intimidated, scared, or confused to even follow up his initial #unfollow tweet to Norm. I’m willing to place my money on confused. The intensity and fury of Macdonald’s attacks were like a young Mike Tyson in his prime, before the face tattoos and bossa nova singing gigs. This was like feeding Don Zimmer to Ivan Drago. It’s almost uncomfortable to analyze because of its savagery. Norm Macdonald pushed out FIFTY FIVE retweets of his followers bashing Rick Reilly. FIFTY FIVE!!
As for Reilly’s initial criticism, live tweeting sports events are a strange animal. If you aren’t able to watch or follow the event otherwise, then they can certainly be helpful. If you’re already watching or following the event or just not interested, live tweeting can be rather pointless unless that person is adding insights or humor to what you are already observing. I probably wouldn’t be too interested in Norm Macdonald live tweeting golf, but making it known and being cute with the #unfollow hashtag is rather pretentious.
I’m a fan of Norm Macdonald, and not so much one of Rick Reilly, but even I feel sympathy for Reilly in this case. Norm mixed in some of his trademark style of comedy, and a few of those tweets were laugh out loud funny with the simple “HAHAHAHA, what?” after a bad Reilly joke being my favorite. But tweeting the guy tens of times and pushing 55 retweets bashing him? That’s what we call a little bit of overkill. Sure, the wide majority of Rick Reilly’s material is about as funny as Tim Duncan doing standup, but I doubt the “Rick Reilly is a racist” tag is going to stick, Norm Macdonald’s insane Twitter rants aside.
Lesson learned though, never publicly unfollow Norm Macdonald when he’s tweeting about golf. Ever.