The Jock's Itch

Photo by Kevin Scanlon

Petros Papadakis, 28, has a lisp. He has hemorrhoids. He has the dubious distinction of being the captain of the worst football team in USC history. And every weekday from noon until 2 p.m. since 2003 he’s had a talk show on “SoCal’s nonstop sports station,” 1540 — The Ticket, that defies all logic. It is, in his words, an “anti-sports-talk” show on a traditionalist station that’s home to stalwarts like Tony Bruno and James Brown.

“It’s my refusal to be like every other dickhead dildo who wants to talk batting averages,” says Papadakis. “I hate those idiots. I was that hateful kid in the Morissey T-shirt — do you think I’m going to talk about Wayne Gretzky’s gambling problem?”

Instead, he makes fun of other sportscasters, and just about every celebrity he can think of. Instead of sports, he talks about literature, about his lisp, about getting fat, about not getting laid. He once devoted an entire week to his anal annoyances, calling it “Hemorrhoids Week,” and gave out way too much info. There are strange movie reviews and obscure reggae songs. (Papadakis’ biggest dream in life is to be “gunned down in Kingston.”) A Wednesday segment is given over to his alter ego, “Lance Romance,” during which he dispenses intentionally disastrous relationship advice to hapless jocks.

Still, the jocks keep listening, as does just about everyone else. The Hollywood–to–Silver Lake indie rockers love him, but probably not more than his South L.A. following. He’s become so popular, 1540 has been trying to take his show national, but Papadakis isn’t having it.

“I mean, what the fuck,” he says. “Like some jerk in Philadelphia wants to hear me scream about Tolstoy?”

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