Chris "Mad Dog" Russo Photo credit: First Take

It’s a weekly occurrence at this point that we’re writing about an all-time rant from Chris “Mad Dog” Russo. You have to give ESPN credit for leaning into Mad Dog’s ability to get riled up on something and making it into one of First Take’s most popular segments.

Needless to say, Russo didn’t waste any time in his rant on Wednesday’s edition of First Take, as he went scorched earth on Lionel Richie for postponing his New York City show with Earth, Wind, and Fire at Madison Square Garden an hour after the concert was supposed to start.

Stephen A. Smith also had a very timely “Hello” reference, in response to a mention of Richie’s name. 

We can make a ton of puns, including asking if it’s Lionel Richie that concertgoers at MSG on Saturday were looking for. Instead, we’ll let Russo’s rant do the talking.


“The weather this weekend in the New York area was absolutely glorious,” Russo began. “Saturday, he was going to play Madison Square Garden. 19,000. People putting their LIFE EARNINGS to go to that event. 50th wedding anniversaries, mom and dad, grandpa, the whole nine yards.

“Did you know that Richie tweeted out an hour after the show was supposed to start—with everybody in the Garden—that he couldn’t make it?”

“He had travel issues coming from Boston! Walk here… call up Stephen A, and figure out a way to get here!” Russo exclaimed. “At 10 o’clock at night on Saturday, with everybody having to spend a fortune to get into the building, food, drinks, parking, all ready to go and he tweets at 9-10 o’clock at night, ‘I can’t make it.’ But you can come back Monday… It’s the weekend! People travel in to see this. That is a complete utter disgrace. He said he had travel issues. You know what you do? You leave TD Banknorth [Garden] on Friday night. You take an Acela. You get your rear end to the Garden. And you play!”

“That is a joke!”

Richie rescheduled the show for Monday, Aug. 14, but you have to admit, Russo does have a solid point here. Richie had to know he wasn’t going to make it to Madison Square Garden on time for the show, and fans were left without any viable information for an hour. And what about the fans who couldn’t make Monday’s show?

One thing for certain is Richie probably won’t be leaving any tickets for Mad Dog at will call next time he’s in town.

About Sam Neumann

Since the beginning of 2023, Sam has been a staff writer for Awful Announcing and The Comeback. A 2021 graduate of Temple University, Sam is a Charlotte native, who currently calls Greenville, South Carolina his home. He also has a love/hate relationship with the New York Mets and Jets.