9. Wilbon and Kornheiser
RCS: You gave USA Today a quote that seems to perfectly encapsulate your chemistry with Wilbon and why PTI works so well. You said, "Wilbon and I have been doing this for 20 years in a hallway. I love Wilbon. I mean, who wouldn't love Wilbon? He's Mayor McCheese. You have to really love the other person — and at that point you can yell at the other person. ... He'll call me a New York idiot and I'll call him a fat dope and it's OK."
One day in the future one of you will be speaking at the other's funeral. If you're speaking, what will you say about him? And if he's speaking, what do you think he'll say about you?
Kornheiser: I love him. I do. People talk about the chemistry, and I’m sure I will say that its sort of like the grass courts at Wimbledon when someone goes over for the first time and sees how green they are. They say, "Well, gee, how did you get the grass this green?" And the answer is you start with 5000 years of rain.
Wilbon and I didn’t get on TV in an hour and half. We worked together since 1980. That’s an awfully long time, we had adjoining offices across the hallway. And the people at the Washington Post, when PTI is on the air, if they’re listening, they think we’re in our offices yelling at each other.
I love him. He has the skin as thick as a rhinoceros. I envy it so much. He is not bothered when people say bad things. If you write about me and say 50 nice things and then say one not so nice thing, I will dwell and obsess on that thing, which is why I am one of the people who really doesn’t really read about himself. In the words of my good friend Mitch Albom “You don’t want to do it Tony, because you don’t want to hate people who you used to like.”
Wilbon’s got the skin of a rhinoceros. He’s as loyal as the day is long, he’s as gracious a person as you could ever meet. He’s just lovely; he’s just lovely on all levels. I started making fun of him in print, and I didn’t know how he would take it. And he took it great. I would make fun of everything about him, and he takes it so well.
He looks for the best in people differently than me. He encourages people and I’m not a hand holder or an encourager in the way he is. He seems to have moments, the moments that I envy so much, the moments of genuine happiness that washes over him and makes him smile. I have those very, very rarely, and I envy his.
But I’m much older than he, so he’ll probably be speaking at mine.
RCS: Still, what do you think he'd say about you?
Kornheiser: He'd probably say something like, "If Tony were here right now, he'd want all you people to sit the f*** down and shut the f*** up."