Nobody could believe it (least of all us) but BlatherWatch talked our way into Fisher Plaza's studios and the inaugural show of "The Commentators," Monday morning.
We have a feeling there were plenty of listeners, but in case you weren't one of them, "The Commentators" is KOMOAM's (1000 KHz) first in years, foray into political talk. It's a weekdaily (10a-12p) hard-scrabble debate between KVI's veteran talker John Carlson (m-f, 3-5p) and KOMO TV's resident lip, Ken Schram.
(Don't confuse this with KKOL's upcoming cooking show, "The Common 'Taters" to hopefully compete with Tom Douglas' elitist, foodie Saturday (4-6p) show on KIRO that deals with truffle oil and the kind of leeks you can't take behind the garage).
We were scuttled through tunnels and funny stairwells into the labyrinthine building by KOMO drones we'd bribed with promises that we'd humiliatingly blog-trash their bosses. We were sat down on a folding chair, a glass separating us from the mics behind which sat Schram, Carlson and much to our delight, the mighty mouth of Christian thought and action: Rev. Ken Hutcherson, who was seated next to the diminutive Schram. (Ok, Schram is not that small- anyone seems puny next to Hutcherson, who once played hockey or one of those violent pro-sports where you have to pray to survive- hurting people gave him his spiritual edge).
Schram and Carlson sat directly across from each other at a "decent distance" and separated by a "cone of silence." The 50-something Schram wearing a turtle neck and jeans, the 40-something Carlson, of course, wore a tie.
Schram came out punching, a brave act considering the weight difference and that he was in easy reach of the giant, shave-headed Rev (did we mention he's black?) who looked like one of Michael Jackson's security posse. Schram said something like: last time we talked, I called you a bigot, and Hutch said yes, you did.
The argument ensued with Hutcherson jabbing the air with all manner of "finger pointing," like the R's are always accusing us liberals of.
Schram put up a strong offense to which Hutcherson responded deftly with his usual provocative, but predictable talking points. ("I know many ex-gays," he said," but there's never been an ex-blackman- Michael Jackson doesn't count.")
Hutcherson's politics go only so deep. Push him past the glib sound-bites (as Schram did)- and you get the B-I-B-L-E. He, like many of his evangelical cohorts, are not really political- they have a religious agenda they're trying to make us all dance to, or as Schram put it- [they're] "trying to make the community at large be bigoted." But when it comes to the consensus-building that's our political system, they don't buy it. Giving up a half a loaf doesn't pack it if it's God's bread, they say. Click here for some of our favorite Hutcherson sound-bites.
After some Seahawk talk, Hutcherson left and during the break, we ventured into the studio where Carlson greeted us and asked if we'd like to stay in the real studio and catch the rest of he show in the seat Hutcherson had just vacated.
There are no callers on "The Commentators," just the play between Schram, the unpredictable libertarian liberal and Carlson, a doctrinaire conservative and the guests. What makes it compelling is the chemistry between these two. It's obvious they genuinely like each other, which creates a tension not unlike family dinner table argument where everyone pounds the table but gets up still liking each other.
Schram & Carlson look each other in the eye, and the insults are as much for each other's enjoyment as the audience's. Heated exchanges are always with smile, and subtext is like, "Gotcha, motherfucker," and, "Not bad, sucker, now take this..."
We must note: Carlson would NEVER say motherfucker (even if his mouth was full of it) and Schram, it's fair to say, would.