Every four years, we all become futbol fans. This is true even if you star in a raucous FXX show about the members of a fantasy American football league called The League. So just hours before hosting a Budweiser World Cup viewing party in Boston, actor/comedian Steve Rannazzisi sat down with us to talk about Italian hair, shame bets, murder and suicide. Oh, and soccer.
“Do they even let ugly people play soccer? They’re all incredibly good-looking! There’s nobody that looks like a foot.”
You’ve got hosting duties for a Budweiser World Cup party in Boston. What are the essentials for a solid World Cup viewing party?
Plenty of beer, for sure. A good TV. Some rowdy international fans. And, you know, just a great attitude. Those are the ingredients for a great World Cup viewing party.
Are you a soccer fan, and did you play it growing up?
I enjoy watching soccer, but I did not play it growing up, no. I like playing sports with timeouts and water breaks, maybe an orange slice. They run around too much. The field’s too big. And I’m not as handsome as a lot of those fellas are. Do they even let ugly people play soccer? They’re all incredibly good-looking! There’s nobody that looks like a foot that’s out there on a poster.
It’s pretty annoying, we agree. And the hair…
Yeah, beautiful! Coiffed at all times. I look like a red, sweaty mess after a half-hour of any athletic endeavor.
Obviously we don’t want you to disparage the NFL, but is there some aspect of soccer that you think is superior to the NFL?
I think parity is probably a lot more prevalent in soccer just because, you know, it’s tough to score. It really is. So it’s not like you’re going to be sitting there watching a blowout like the Super Bowl this year. You’re probably going to be watching a 1-0, maybe 1-1 game. And it’s exciting to have that energy, that anticipation for a goal to happen. It’s really great.
On the flip side, what does the NFL do better than soccer?
On a grand scale in America: marketing. You know? It’s almost like they built a sport to appease the American appetite to take a potty break and get another beer and order a pizza. Those things are all built into American football.
An NFL game is definitely a lot longer than a soccer game, which could be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on how much time you have.
Soccer moves along quickly. It’s great. It’s a sport that doesn’t take breaks. I am in favor of getting sports done a little quicker. We don’t need all the pomp and circumstance.
If looks could dribble: Pirlo’s peerless hair; Ronaldo’s general handsomeness.
What are your thoughts on Team USA’s chances in this tournament?
Look, it’s a tough group. I mean, everyone’s calling it the Death Group. If they tie with Portugal, I think that they can get out of that group. But it’s going to be tough. Very, very difficult.
Who do you think will win it all?
I kind of like the way the Netherlands played the other day. They played really, really, really well. I like them. I like England a little bit. I feel like if they got some help they could make a run at it. And then you have the powerhouses. You got Brazil, you got Germany. So I think one of those four teams has got the best chance of taking home the Cup.
We’re guessing from your last name that you’re also a fan of the Italians?
I am part Irish and part Italian, so I do root for the Italians. We were talking about hair earlier? I think that they are the most coiffed gentlemen out there. Not one of their hairs moves on their heads when they run. That is remarkable to me.
Right. You wonder what kind of product they’re using.
Oh, there’s a pomade that they make in some backwoods in Italy that no one has gotten their hands on except for the Italian soccer team. Because it’s beautiful—their hair is dark and beautiful, but it does not move! So yeah, it’s some sort of above-human-strength pomade.
You play the former commissioner of a fantasy NFL league on The League. If you were the commissioner of a World Cup fantasy league, what special rules would you establish?
You could probably do a shame bet at the end. You know, loser has to run shirtless across someone else’s lawn and fall on their knees. Or they have to listen to Euro techno music for five hours in a row. There could be some horrible, horrible punishment for the losers. But for all fantasy sports, my big rule is try to act like an adult. Just act your age. Until it’s time to turn up that techno music.
You start shooting the sixth season of The League next month. What can people expect?
Hijinx. I can’t really talk about too much stuff yet, but it’s going to be crazy. It’s going to be exactly what fans have come to expect from the potty mouths that are the cast members of The League.
You also have a Comedy Central stand-up special, Manchild, out now, and you’re working on a new hour-long special. What sort of topics are you covering?
Drugs. Family. I have a new bit on murder. Suicide. Racism. You know, all the light topics that people like to talk about at comedy clubs.