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We here at 3 Shades of Blue have interviewed practically everyone you can think of. We have talked to the owner, GM, VP of BusinessOperations,coaches, players, dance team members, radio personalities, columnists and fans. So when I tell you that this was the most rewarding interview I feel that I’ve ever done, I should probably give you some backstory.

After graduating high school, I started working at American Eagle Outfitters in the Wolfchase Galleria. One of the first people I met there was Jeff White, who is now the MC for all Grizzlies home games. Jeff was a character then and has only enhanced his love of entertaining people since then. You’ve seen him out there during timeouts, making fun of contestants who cannot hit free throws or presenting loyal fans with gifts of appreciation. Well, as satisfying as it is to be able to converse with the Grizzlies front office continually, it was even more gratifying to me to be able to catch up with someone I know personally who now has a position within the organization and is one of the most genuine people I know.

3 Shades of Blue: How did you get the job as the in-house MC and how long have you been doing it?
Jeff White: I got the job by showing up at an open auditions last season. I had to audition again this year. So, this is my second season with the Grizzlies as the MC.

A-OK

3SoB: What has been your favorite moment in the job so far?
JW: My favorite moment so far has been getting to interact with the fans, especially the season ticket holders. I’ve gotten to know some of them and always enjoy seeing them at every game. I love that the Grizzlies upgrade and spotlight their season ticket holders and I’m glad to be a part of that.

My most embarrassing moment…I backpeddled into Greg Buckner before a contest.

3SoB: Who is your favorite player on the current team?
JW:
My favorite player is O.J. Mayo. He’s incredible. I also love Marc Gasol’s passion and energy for the game. The fans LOVE Marc.

3SoB: Have they ever asked you to do something that you just weren’t sure about?
JW:
I will do anything anyone asks me. The only thing I was apprehnsive about was human bowling. It was me vs. Grizz and I had never done it and I thought I was going to be too tall to sit in the bowling ball thingy…but it worked out great and I beat Grizz…only because he didn’t knock down any pins. He did what I thought I would do which was fall off the thing before he hit the pins. I was lucky that day. Other than that, I’ll do anything…dress up like a 70s game show host or the blue’s brothers. Last year I wore an afro wig for 70′s night…I have no shame.

3SoB: I was there the night you did human bowling and I could tell that you were kinda nervous about it. The shot of your wide eyes up on the Jumbotron was priceless when they did the slow motion replay. LOL!How much of the job is in your hands? That is, even though the skits, contests and segments are set up prior to the game, how much is simply you having to ad lib and be entertaining or funny on your own?
JW: Everything is scripted but within the scripts there is room to improvise. During contests like the half court shot contest, Ashley Furniture Sofa Shot and Sonic Tic-Tac-Toe I’ve got to ad lib on what is happening on the court and that is some of my favorite stuff to do especially if they miss shots real bad…it’s always fun to give someone a hard time. I’m given the script before the game and then I memorize everything and add in my own personal touch to a lot of it. A good example is that I was given a read for the huge sale they did in December where allhome games were like up to half off…and they had a line in there about coming to the game and raising the roof with the 209 Boyz and I added to it by singing “Ole, Ole, Ole…buy tickets today” after that because that was my favorite thing the 209 Boyz did…when they used to come to evey game.
Jeff wearing his "normal" clothes

3SoB: Who were your influences as a comedian? Have you had the opportunity to meet any of them?
JW:
My influences as a comedian…there are three. I grew up on Bill Cosby. He’s the best storyteller ever. Also Eddie Murphy. “Delirious” and “Raw” are some of the two best stand-up specials ever. I also was heavily influenced by Brian Reagan. His show is totally clean and he’s extremely hilarious. He came to Memphis recently and played the Orpheum…my face hurt when we left.

3SoB: How do you choose your victims…I mean contestants for the various contests? What’s your favorite contest/game?

JW: I choose the contestants at random. I usually look for fans that are wearing a lot of Grizz gear. Sometimes I’ve got to get people that are athletic to do certain games, but usually it’s a whim. Sometimes I’ll go to the upper bowl and grab contestants…sometimes from the lower bowl. It all depends.

3SoB: What’s in the box for the FedEx Delivery of the Game?

JW: You know what…I have no idea. Honestly…I’ve never seen them fill the box…I’ve just always seen the box. I know what’s in a Grizzlies Prize Pack but if I tell you…I’d have to kill you.
3SoB: Have you ever been heckled — at a game or while doing stand-up? Dodge any rotten fruit perhaps?
JW: I’ve been heckled plenty as a comedian…that’s part of the game. One of my favorites was when I was first starting out as a comedian I was doing a show at Winchester Bowl in the lounge…there was 2 people in the audience and the girl working the door kept heckling me…and I was thinking…”you work here…you shouldn’t be trying to destroy the show!” At Grizzlies games I don’t get heckled but I get a lot of people saying they want to talk on the microphone or they want a free T-Shirt. People go crazy for free T-Shirts. When they see me in the stands, I guess they expect me to give them stuff…and I usually don’t have anything cause I busy doing an MVP Spotlight or a triva question or something…but they always raise their hands when I come by as if to say…”whatcha got for me???
Jeff getting warmed up on stage
3SoB: What do you do when you aren’t keeping the home crowd entertained?
JW: I’m a theatre and English teacher at the Grizzlies Academy which is a Memphis City School sponsored by the team. It’s a program for students who are a bit behind in high school and we have a three year graduation program. We do four years of high school in three…so I’m there quite a bit.

I also am a stand-up comedian and perform around the city and area. I was recently named Funniest Person in Memphis and I have also earned the title of Funniest Teacher in Memphis. I’ve been the feature comedian at Comedy, TN here in Memphis, South Street Comedy Club in Jackson, TN, The Comedy Forum in St. Louis, MO and have worked many private corporation gigs and whatnot. People should check out my website for upcomming gigs and song and video clips at tallandgoofy.com

3SoB:I want to thank Jeff for taking the time to talk with us and for giving me the opportunity to share just what he does with all of you. I encourage all of you to visit his website and to check out his stand-up routine.

On a final note, this will be my last post here on 3 Shades of Blue for quite a while. I’m taking a hiatus to work on some other projects, but rest assured that I’ll be back eventually. I’m leaving all of this in Chip’s very capable hands and he has a great staff working with him. I have enjoyed running this blog since starting it two years ago and look forward to the future when I will be able to devote the time to returning to it. God bless you all and go Grizzlies!

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