ESPN’s Kenny Mayne on childhood prank calls, cloud computing and his love for Twitter

Washington native Kenny Mayne is one of the more hilarious people around sports broadcasting. A quick YouTube search of his name or a scroll through his latest Tweets is a surefire way to get a good chuckle.

So when we ran into Mayne at the Seattle Sports of the Year awards show earlier this year, we had to ask him some geeky questions.

Unlike his first round elimination from Dancing With the Stars, Mayne didn’t disappoint.

From his childhood stories of prank-calling Seattle newspapers to his thoughts on cloud computing, the veteran ESPN journalist gave us five minutes of some good ol’ tech talkin’.

You can watch the video above to hear him, or if you prefer reading words, continue below:

kennymayne1GeekWire: Do you have a smartphone?

Kenny Mayne: Yes. It’s terribly smart. More intelligent than I am. It’s an iPhone 4. I just took a picture with it. Who knew you could take pictures with phones? Couldn’t do that in my day. We just had one phone with a long cord in the hall and one TV.

We used to make prank phone calls a lot. We’d do fake cash-call jackpot and call the Seattle papers and do hole-in-ones. Just make up a course and make up a name. The next day we’d all have our big laugh when we saw so-and-so’s hole-in-one in the Seattle PI. You can do that on a smartphone but now the problem is — and I’m sure there’s a way to mask it — they mostly know who you are now. The joke’s gone.

GW: So, smartphones have ruined it.

KM: Smartphones have ruined some of the fun. But they do more. I’m not like a luddite, but I still like newspapers and books. I don’t like the fact that we’ve gone too much to technology because I can count easily 20-to-30 emails a day I have to erase, maybe 50, that come in as junk or maybe even work stuff I don’t need. So I’m spending that many minutes a day just cleaning out, just to stay in the game for what I do want to use it for. I’m not the hippest guy, technologically.

Mayne was eliminated in the first round of Dancing with the Stars.

Mayne was eliminated in the first round of Dancing with the Stars.

GW: So technology isn’t saving you time, it’s actually wasting time?

KM: Indeed I think some of the technology has put time in our lives that we were using for better things before. On the other hand, how many times have you wanted to know an answer really quick and boom, you just Google it. You couldn’t do that before. Or what am I supposed to say? Bing it? I don’t know what I’m supposed to say. I just say Google it. It’s almost like saying I want a Coke in the south. But then they say what kind of Coke? And you say I’d like an orange Coke.

I’m on the side of technology, but at the same time just like anything else there are detriments as well, like excessive use of it. We are trying to get our daughter off of Tumblr, but at the same time, Tumblr is awesome and it’s very creative and very cool. But how about spending one hour, not five hours.

GW: Do you have a favorite app?

KM: I do not have many apps. I’ve gone through three phones in the last eight months — couple of accidents — and so I have to bring everything back. I only have a third of my music back. I’m too lazy to take the time and download it again.

GW: You’re too lazy to sync it up again?

KM: I don’t believe in syncing. I’d like to go wireless entirely. Right now, I don’t have any of these songs and allegedly they are in some cloud somewhere. I keep getting a notice that I am losing capacity — like, what kind of clouds are they using? I mean, there is a lot of sky up there. You think they’d have room.

I don’t like how many things you have to do to keep it going — the new downloads, the updates. Just make the damn thing work. I think, like a lot of other things, they probably make them to last only a certain amount of time or update them to such a degree that you’re jealous and you think you need the next one. It’s a crock. Whole thing is a scam.

Mayne interviewed Justin Bieber a few years ago to find out more about his hair.

Mayne interviewed Justin Bieber a few years ago to find out more about his hair.

GW: Is technology just a scam?

KM: You know what, I was perfectly happy with the one phone we had growing up, the one TV we had growing up. I communicated quite well with my friends, so in that sense I could get by by going back to pioneer days. But it’s cool to be able to do the things I can do with my phone.

In fact I was just on stage and I decided to just to be be silly and take a picture of the crowd, because I wouldn’t be able to get that picture any other way. Then I stuck it on Twitter, and in four minutes the world — or what part of it is listening to me — knew that here I am at Benaroya Hall, the same stage Pearl Jam played on, and I just took a picture.

GW: Twitter. Do you like it?

KM: I love Twitter.

GW: You just mentioned how you don’t like how technology eats up so much time.

twitterlogoKM: Twitter does eat up a little time. But it’s good practice for writing, like you can do the set-up and the joke, or pass along information. For what I do for work, I can advertise and promote things I’m doing. It’s cool to have that communciaton. I like the free form.

But I don’t like the hateful stuff that gets out there. I don’t get that much and I ignore it, but some people like to battle with people and Retweet the most viscous remarks.  I think too many times people hide behind a typewriter with an “I’m going to attack the world” mentality and you look and he has four followers, so whatever.

GW: Are you concerned about your follower count at all (currently at about 262,000)?

KM: I’m not going to lie that there is some ego to it and you wonder how some people have so many followers. But it’s whatever. I think some people play the game …

*Someone interrupts on the intercom asking people backstage to be quiet*

KM: They are asking us to keep it quiet. If we want to talk about technology, we will talk as loud as we want. It’s the future, it’s all zeros and ones.

Anyways, it would be cool to have a million followers, I guess, maybe. But whatever. I’m some stupid guy from Kent, Washington. I have enough. I’ve earned them.

 

Check out all of Mayne’s Wider World of Sports videos here.

Previously on GeekWire: From Shawn Kemp to Edgar Martinez: Favorite phones and apps of Seattle’s sports stars

  • http://twitter.com/Frank_Field Frank Field

    Kenny Mayne is funny. Question: How tall is he? Or, conversely who shot this, an Oompa Loompa? :-) I just didn’t need the view of his nose hair. :-) Be well and keep up the good work!

    • Taylor Soper

      I love candy but my skin isn’t quite orange and my hair isn’t green :) Thanks for reading!