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On Thursday of Super Bowl week, I check into the Bud Light Hotel, a brand new cruise ship that has docked at 48th and 12th Avenue in the center of Manhattan. The last time I was on a cruise ship was 2002, when we stayed deep belowdecks and I woke up my now-wife, then-girlfriend, while holding up the television on the wall and yelling, “The TV is falling, the TV is falling!” The TV, bolted to the wall and incapable of movement, was not falling. I was sleepwalking. (I still sleepwalk at 34, which I’m told is incredibly rare. Yet another reason why my wife is really lucky).
1. The moment you enter the Bud Light Hotel — after going through metal detectors and security screening — there are waitresses waiting with bottles of beers.
There’s free beer everywhere and every restaurant is all-inclusive as well. You’re basically on all-expense paid cruise in Manhattan.
So, yeah, it’s fabulous.
This is one of many reasons why Bud Light owns the Super Bowl party scene every year, they put on the best parties every year.
We tried to guess how many beers are on the boat and came up with around 100,000. There are beer chandeliers, beer candelabras, basically there has never been more Bud Light anywhere ever.
Continuing the adult spring break theme, we’re given a blue wristband that will allow us to enter all events. The wristband is infinitely preferable to a list because it’s a fail-safe. If you have a wristband, you can enter.
Across the street Bud Light has constructed a concert venue where everything from Run DMC to Zac Brown Band will be playing over the next four days.
We’re in a room on the 13th floor, two twin beds and a balcony.
Everything is outstanding except I can’t figure out how to turn the lights on in the room.
2. So I call the front desk to ask how to turn the lights on.
As calls to the front desk can go, this is a fairly humiliating call to make.
Turns out you have to insert your key in a slot above the lights and then turn the lights on. For the next four days I will consistently mess this up. There is no way I would figured this out myself.
I have no idea why a cruise ship would decide to require you to insert your key into the slot to turn on the lights. Primarily because, you guessed it, when you come back to your room at night and it’s pitch black and you’re trying to fumble around to put the key in the hole — there’s probably a new R. Kelly song to be made here — it’s damn near impossible.
Soon after I figure out how to turn on the lights my wife arrives, still asking me what to wear to tonight’s Fox party.
She proceeds to lay out three different outfits, none of which look remotely different to me in terms of which could be considered the most dressy.
3. In all the confusion over checking into the Bud Light Hotel, I haven’t eaten all day.
So I’m starving as I walk to radio row, a place that I’ve already told you never has food. As a result I make the highly questionable decision to buy a chicken and lamb mixed gyro from a street vendor.
Almost immediately, my stomach starts to rebel.
I know, I know, I’m an idiot. If I’d tried to pick the worst food to buy from a street vendor, I’m not sure chicken and lamb gyro could be beaten.
4. Radio row is a zoo on Thursday, the busiest it has been all week.
But within that zoo, nothing is really happening.
Plus, media are starting to hit the Super Bowl wall. All of the frenzy is adding up, people are tired, like toddlers who haven’t gotten their naps. The guests are pretty mediocre and they mostly move along the walls, hitting the big media sites and ignoring the swarming mass of humanity in the center of radio row, the steerage section of the media.
We snag an interview with Jesse Jackson, during which I ask him whether or not he’s willing to endorse Hillary Clinton for 2016. This would have actually qualified as big news. Otherwise, nothing much happens on radio row.
5. After the radio show, it’s time for the FS1 party.
I’m meeting my wife outside the party at 8:30. She’s late, but, like every married man, I actually expected this. I’m more worried about being on the list since I’m never on lists. I attempt to verify that we’re on the list, but I’m told that you have to be accompanied by your plus one to check-in. What’s worse, I’m told that I can’t stand beside the door and wait on my wife there. So I move back halfway down the block and loiter outside a closed lingerie shop like the saddest pervert in New York City.
Did I mention that it’s freezing outside, actual single digit weather cold?
My wife arrives — wearing one of the three outfits that I couldn’t tell the difference between — and we make our way towards the list.
The whole time I’m standing in line, I’m thinking — It’s an FS1 party. I’m on FS1. They let me on TV. Surely, I’ll be on the list, right?
Nope, we’re not on the list.
“Could it be under any other name?”
I hate when people ask me this when I’m not on the list. Yes, what was I thinking, my bad, it’s probably under my other name, “Check, Batman.”
You have no idea how tempted I was to say, “Yes, certainly. Murdoch, Rupert.”
Would they have let me in as Rupert Murdoch or do you think the people checking the list know who he is? Can you imagine what would happen if he arrived and the list girl was like, “I’m sorry Mr. Murdoch, we already checked you in here.”
But I bet Rupert Murdoch isn’t on the list either. He’s probably standing outside in the cold, like, “I own this company. I am Fox. This is bloody bulls—.”
6. At some point Outkick the Coverage will throw a big party — maybe at this year’s BCS title game — and I guarantee you I won’t be on that list either.
There will be all these people walking by me to the Outkick party and I’ll be saying, “T-r-a-v-i-s, I own the company.” I’ll be trying to pull up the website, “Look, here, that’s me.”
Anyway, when you’re not on the list what do you do? It’s freezing outside and I’ve got my wife with me. I don’t want to make a scene, I’m inclined to just accept defeat and leave.
As I’m trying to decide this, Fox PR rolls into action and saves me, “This is Clay Travis, he should be on the list. He’s on TV.”
Damn right, people, I’m on TV.
Wristbands miraculously appear and we’re ushered inside. No one question the pr people at all. They could have just ushered in bin Laden back when he was alive and no one would have blinked. This just proves what I’ve always believed — pr people are the only ones who actually have any idea what’s happening at big social events. No one else knows anything.
7. The FS1 party is only about 5% actual Fox people.
The thing about Fox Sports is it’s pretty small, there aren’t actually that many of us. It’s basically like a small high school. Charissa Thompson, who I mistakenly said I didn’t see again after Wednesday, is stunned that my wife is good looking. She keeps looking at me like I brought a hooker. She pulls me aside, “Your wife is really hot,” she says.
Remember that street vendor food?
Yeah, it’s kind of a disaster now.
As Kings of Leon play, I’m thinking to myself, “Just don’t sh– your pants.”
During this time my wife sends me up to take a picture of the band because I’m taller than she is, and it’s a total disaster. I am the worst camera phone picture taken on Earth. I’m not kidding, there is no one worse than me at this. It’s to the point where I don’t even want to try and take pictures anymore. My wife’s like Ansel Adams with her camera phone, she has all these apps on her phone. She takes a picture and adds and detracts lighting, zooms in the focus, pinpoints details, it’s uncanny.
All of my pictures end up looking like Jackson Pollack paintings.
8. After Kings of Leon, my wife meets Bill Murray, who is a huge Kings of Leon fan.
My wife’s afraid to meet Bill Murray, but I assure her that no famous man has ever been upset to meet attractive women who like him. After she gets her picture taken with him she says it’s the best thing that’s happened to her since she married me.
When our kids see the picture, they say, “Mommy went to New York City and met Dr. Venkman!”
They think that’s the coolest thing ever. So now they want to go on a family vaction to New York City so they can meet the ghostbusters.
9. Leaving here we head to the Bud Light Hotel for the first concert, a tribute to New York City hip hop.
When we enter the concert area, Naughty by Nature is playing, “You down with O.P.P.” Right after they play, “Hip Hop Hooray.”
I’m contemplating trying to get Naughy by Nature to play at a Steeplechase party this year in Nashville. Can you imagine what would happen if they showed up on the infield at around 2:30 in the afternoon? Anyone better? Coolio? I’m open to suggestions.
There are wristbands at Steeplechase, so I’ll probably be able to get in to this party.
Tonight’s party is being thrown in conjunction with EA Sports. Last year we made the mistake of arriving when doors opened. That’s unfortunate because then you get to stand around and watch NFL players compete in Madden on jumbo screens.
This year, we’ve timed it perfectly, arriving around 11:30.
10. The Bud Light concert venue is built on a parking lot and cavernous, with a stage on one end and a balcony with bars surrounding it at the back end.
The entire venue is heated — I have no idea what it would cost to heat a cavernous tent — and all drinks are free.
It’s an awesome venue to end the night, with Naughty by Nature followed by Busta Rhymes, Run DMC and the Roots.
Around 1:30 we bail on the concert and head back to the ship. Four straight nights of drinking and the gyro from the New York City streets have taken their toll on me. In the morning, I’ll barely be able to get out of bed. But for now all is okay.
That will change.
In a hurry.
The Super Bowl is adult spring break part one
The Super Bowl is adult spring break part two