Chris Russo slams Stephen A. Smith for missing First Take

It’s hard to tell whether Chris “Mad Dog” Russo is more annoyed at Stephen A. Smith for promoting his book or more annoyed at Stephen A. Smith for promoting his book on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.

In case you missed his hundreds, maybe even thousands of book tour appearances during the last few months, Smith wrote a memoir. Russo was sick of Smith’s “stupid” book tour back in January and surely, he’s not going to change his tune as the media appearances continue three months later. Wednesday morning on First Take, with Smith doing the show remotely, Russo ripped his weekly debate partner for prioritizing his book tour over being in the studio for ESPN.

“How about our little co-host there bouncing around Southern California and when he’s up to it, he comes to the East Coast on Monday to do two and a half minutes with Steve Colbert on this stupid book! ENOUGH WITH THE BOOK,” Russo ranted, criticizing Smith for flying coast to coast on Delta, not Wheels Up.

“Back and forth, back and forth, back and forth,” Russo continued. “On this dopey book with Colbert! Giving him a big hug! He was on for two and a half minutes! It can’t be worth it Steve! To travel 12 hours for two and a half minutes and then blow off this show…two and a half minutes for that guy (Colbert)? On that dopey Straight Shooter book? That is a disgrace! You should be ashamed of yourself. Ashamed.”

To be fair, it was a 10-minute appearance for Smith on that guy’s late-night show. Regardless, Russo’s criticism seems to lack some self-awareness. Amongst all the sports radio and TV hosts, Chris Russo should be the one supporting a colleague’s appearance on a late-night show considering he was a guest with Colbert’s predecessor, David Letterman, 37 times.

Later, Russo explained that he felt Smith was flat on First Take due to his travel and effort to squeeze a Colbert appearance into his schedule.

“You’re flat today, you’re flat,” Russo told Smith. “Flat as a pancake. I need some syrup!”

Mike Francesa must have used that pancake line on Russo after one of his many Letterman appearances. With Russo cutting out of Mike and the Mad Dog early to make the taping of Letterman, Francesa probably had even worse things to say about his radio partner than “flat as a pancake.”

After three months of ceaseless TV, radio, and podcast appearances, still waiting for Smith’s book tour to land on The Mike Francesa Podcast.

[First Take]

About Brandon Contes

Brandon Contes is a staff writer for Awful Announcing and The Comeback. He previously helped carve the sports vertical for Mediaite and spent more than three years with Barrett Sports Media. Send tips/comments/complaints to