Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy posted a 63-second snippet of his appearance on Varney & Co. this morning, in which he and host Stuart Varney achieved an indescribable and impossible-to-replicate vibe.
Evidently Varney had asked his colleague Abby Hornacek if she'd filled out her brackets for March Madness in an earlier segment — a terrible and money-losing strategy as the field won't be set until Sunday night. Hornacek played it off like a pro to reduce awkwardness. Portnoy took another tack, informing Varney that the brackets are yet to be compiled, resulting in Varney laughing and saying "what a guy, Portnoy, alright" as if he were providing pitter-patter in a Catskills comedy routine.
And to be perfectly clear: I loved it.
These two have It. Don't know what It is but it's something. Put them on camera together for 30 minutes and you'd have a pretty lively show. No idea what direction it'd go but it wouldn't be boring. Varney's staff should be reaching out every single morning to see if Portnoy wants to run it back.
For all the coverage of Barstool's ascension, it's possible that one angle that hasn't been considered enough is Portnoy's ability to drive content either solo or in partnership with other people. The latter element is a different skill than the former and he seems to have an innate ability to draw people out of themselves and be more interesting. Not an easy skill to master or appreciate until one reflects on it.
He seems equally at ease with A-list actors and sporting icons as he does local bar owners and pizza-curious passers-by. Being able to connect instantaneously across a wide spectrum to yield interesting video is secretly high-level work despite the lack of sweat.