Michael Deeds: Boise's 'Burgundy' returns to reality

mdeeds@idahostatesman.comNovember 10, 2013 

Paul Gerke, left, with Boise State football coach Chris Petersen.

JOE JASZEWSKI — jjaszewski@idahostatesman.com

Channel 6 Sports Director Paul Gerke had never received a marriage proposal in his 26 years of life.

Six women have proposed since Halloween.

"Some of them were relatively attractive, too!" Gerke quips.

None of the online seductions came from Katie Couric. But the television journalist did point out Gerke to her Twitter followers.

It's all because he donned a $7 thrift shop sport coat and a phony moustache, then pretended to be the title character from the 2004 comedy "Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy."

Gerke's on-air Halloween hijinks instantly went viral. The most popular video has generated more than 3 million YouTube views. Gerke says it wound up on the front pages of Deadspin, Reddit, Mashable, MSN, Yahoo! - even Funny or Die, the comedy website co-founded by the original Burgundy, actor Will Ferrell.

"It was overwhelming at first," Gerke says. "I didn't sleep, didn't eat, for like the first two days. It was brutal. Hundreds and hundreds of new Facebook notifications. New friends, people you don't know. Messages blowing up."

Gerke couldn't respond to everyone. He tried. He did manage to answer those wannabe wives.

Predicting an Internet sensation is impossible: "It just happens," Gerke says.

But he deserves credit for the idea and performance. It wasn't just Gerke's mannerisms, pre-written copy or camera-hogging ad-libs. It was his complete ease as he attempted the stunt. It could have been local TV at its most cringe-inducing. Instead, he created the most entertaining sportscast in Idaho history.

Of his three performances - he also is sports director at Channel 9 - Gerke prefers the less-viewed 9 p.m. newscast video. He had attended a Capital versus Eagle high school football game, where Chris Petersen happened to be scouting.

"It was total serendipity," Gerke says.

In between terrorizing referees, leading cheers and patting athletes' rears, Gerke approached the dumbfounded Boise State football coach, who said little but provided infinite comedy value.

"He just kind of nodded and smiled and said 'Later, Ron,' " Gerke says. "It was super awkward!"

Things calmed down by the middle of last week. But the Burgundy magic isn't entirely dead. Boise State basketball coach Leon Rice told media Wednesday that if "Burgundy" showed up, he would only talk to him.

Gerke, who came to the Treasure Valley last year from a station in tiny Alpena, Mich., has a contract that ends in June. His dream job is ESPN, he says.

Whether his brief Internet stardom will aid that quest remains to be seen.

And if he's remembered eternally as the Burgundy impersonator from Boise? There are worse fates.

"That's OK. I can live with it," Gerke says. "It's better than being the Boom Goes the Dynamite Guy."

COMEDY UPDATES

• When it comes to making long-term plans at Liquid Laughs, 405 S. 8th St. in Boise, the key is to actually stay liquid. Cancellations and postponements happen.

The Nov. 22 and 23 shows from Dave Coulier (aka Joey Gladstone from "Full House") have been canceled. There's a chance he might come at a future date.

Loni Love ("Chelsea Lately") is still slated to headline Dec. 13 and 14.

Sean Rouse, one of my favorites from the old Dave Attell's Insomniac Tour, is coming Jan. 3 and 4.

Comedians being worked on for early 2014 include Carlos Mencia and Neil Hamburger; nothing's been confirmed, so keep your fingers crossed.

Lastly, Tommy Davidson ("In Living Color") is no longer scheduled for Jan. 9-12. The plan is that his dates will be rescheduled for later in the year - probably summer - so that Liquid Laughs can support and be a part of the Idaho Laugh Festival.

• The first Idaho Laugh Festival will take place at multiple Boise venues, including the Egyptian Theatre, on Jan. 10 and 11.

It's founded by Megan Bryant, who runs local improv troupe Chicks n' Giggles.

Idaho Laugh Festival will feature about 70 comedians, she says, both local and touring.

Tickets go on sale in December, when further details about the event also should materialize.

Online: IdahoLaughFestival.com.

MELTED ICE BOUQUET?

Like sands through the hourglass, so are the days at The Bouquet, Downtown Boise's favorite "what the hell is going on there" bar.

Plagued by drama in recent years, the venue at 1010 Main St. was re-branded as The Ice Bouquet several months ago. But this past week, a cardboard, handwritten "closed" sign appeared on the door. Watch my blog for any updates.

NO 'OTHER STUDIO'

You won't hear Tim Johnstone and me tonight on 94.9 FM The River. We're taking the week off during a system upgrade. But we'll be back at 9 p.m. Nov. 17.

IN SCENE NOV. 15

• Holiday movies are here. We'll have a guide to the oncoming assault at theaters.

• A review of the Twin Peaks "breastaurant" near the Boise Spectrum.

• Put away those oven mitts! Local restaurants will serve Thanksgiving dinner.

Michael Deeds' column runs Fridays in Scene and Sundays in Life. He appears Thursdays on Channel 6 News. Twitter: @IDS_Deeds

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