Monday, July 23, 2007
San Jose Mercury News (MCT)
Abbott and Costello. Rowan and Martin. Laurel and Hardy.
Here's another great comedy duo: Kwan and Sapp.
The elegant Olympic skater and mouthy Raiders lineman forged an unlikely friendship while taping an episode of "The Simpsons" together in 2004.
Michelle Kwan and Warren Sapp hit it off instantly, coached each other through the lines and walked away with a mutual respect.
If they ever take their show the road, they'd even have a great name.
The Awed Couple.
"When you're sitting there with a resume that reads off seven straight Pro Bowls, you think it's pretty impressive," Sapp said. "Until you look across the room and there's someone with nine U.S. championships and five worlds. I'm like, holy smokes. I thought I was doing a good job, but that's nothing compared to what that girl has done."
Kwan and Sapp had never met until combining forces for an episode called "Homer and Ned's Hail Mary Pass." The script required the skater to bellow the menacing line, "Beware the wrath of Kwan!"
But since her day job requires her to be something of a princess, Kwan was having a hard time sounding vengeful.
Until, that is, Sapp stepped in. The 6-foot-2, 300-pound sack master helped Kwan sound like a resident of the Black Hole.
"That's what was so great about the line. It's so out of character," Kwan said. "The image of a skater is like the toy ballerina who pops out of a box —: it's a very classical image."
In the least, Sapp and Kwan had something in common from the start. Both are longtime fans of "The Simpsons."
Kwan recalled gathering in the training-center dorms at Lake Arrowhead each week during the show's early days. The skaters made a game out of spotting the differences in animation and voice-overs from week to week. Sapp got hooked early, too — and never tuned out.
"I don't watch `American Idol' — no way — or any of that other stuff," he said. "But `The Simpsons' is like the American icon. That's like `Beavis and Butthead.' If you didn't watch those two in college, something was wrong. That's all we did."
(c) 2007, San Jose Mercury News (San Jose, Calif.).
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