Imitation can be the highest form of flattery, but for John Madden, it was a moment where he wanted to file a lawsuit over it.
Over the years, comedian Frank Caliendo has repeatedly mimicked Barkley and the late John Madden, but it was never malicious. Barkley, who participated on the most recent episode of Barstool’s Spittin’ Chiclets podcast, says he has no objections about becoming a part of Caliendo’s humorous routine. However, Barkley stated that Madden felt differently.
“I remember this phone call I got from my agent,” Barkley recalled. “He says, ‘Hey, John Madden wants to talk to you.’ He called me, I said, ‘Hey, you’re the best. It’s an honor and a privilege.’ He says, ‘Thank you…I want to talk to you about a lawsuit I’m thinking about filing on this a**hole Frank Caliendo.’”
“I’m like, ‘what?’ He says, ‘This ***hole, have you seen the impersonation he does? I hate it and I’m thinking about filing a lawsuit.’”
Barkley, who was shocked about what he was hearing, then asked, “You don’t consider that flattering?”
“He’s like, ‘No! I don’t!’” Barkley recalled Madden saying back.
“And now I don’t want to insult John Madden,” Barkley continued on the Spittin’ Chiclets podcast. “I was like, ‘Well, I’ll tell you what, let me talk to my agent and my representation and I’ll get back to you.’ I never called him back.”
“I actually consider it flattering,” Barkley admitted of Caliendo’s impression. “I know Frank a little bit because he lives in Arizona. I’ve seen it in person, I’ve seen it on television, I think he does a fantastic job. But John was not having it. He was not having it at all.”
Madden would ultimately pass away in December 2021. Caliendo reacted by tweeting about the loss and showing how appreciated he was getting the opportunity to meet him at Super Bowl XLV in 2011.
Caliendo has told the story of that encounter multiple times, claiming that he did his impression in front of Madden’s grandchildren.
According to Caliendo, Madden responded “I get it now” after a few seconds of awkward silence as he watched his grandchildren giggle at the impression.
Now, he’s aware of how Madden actually felt.
After retiring from playing, Madden transitioned to coaching and became the head coach of the Oakland Raiders in 1969. He had tremendous success as a coach and led the Raiders to a victory in Super Bowl XI. Madden coached the Raiders until 1978 when he retired from coaching at the age of 42.
Following his coaching career, John Madden became a highly influential and beloved figure in football broadcasting.
The younger generation know him more for his popular football game. The “Madden NFL” video game series, which is named after him, has been extremely successful and is one of the most popular sports video game franchises in the world.WANT MORE FROM TOTALPROSPORTS? FOLLOW US ON GOOGLE NEWS.