Oscar-winner Jamie Foxx joined the set of ESPN’s First Take on Thursday and treated Stephen A. Smith, Max Kellerman, and Molly Qerim to offer some bold predictions (a Cavaliers sweep in the NBA Finals, for example) and a brief LeBron James impression.
He also debuted a startling new character called Cleveland A. Smith. Foxx was made up to look (sorta kinda) like Stephen A., then got in the host’s face to yell about Isaiah Thomas and Aaron Rodgers. When Foxx — er, Cleveland A. — said he was glad Rodgers was hurt, the actual Smith declared he had taken enough, grabbed Foxx by the neck, tackled him onto a couch and started fake punching him.
The skit was all in good fun (Smith and Foxx have apparently been friends for a while), but it was kind of bizarre nonetheless.
As another sportscasting great famously said, that escalated quickly.
Generally, you tune in to First Take expecting to see people debating loudly about sports. Sometimes, as it turns out, you also get to see a 50-year-old host tackling a movie star.
We must admit, Foxx’s impression is pretty solid, but he’s nowhere near the GOAT Stephen A. impersonator Jay Pharoah.
But anyway, good for Smith for being able to laugh at himself a little bit. It’s a good reminder that although the opinions on First Take might sometimes be… questionable, the show is meant as entertainment and the people on air are often having fun with it.