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ABC is adding something completely unique to its Summer Fun & Games primetime lineup this week in the form of Holey Moley, a humor-infused mini-golf competition. The new series boasts NBA all-star Steph Curry as an executive producer who makes an appearance or two, and has an awesome pair of commentators in new Monday Night Football voice Joe Tessitore and the always hilarious Daily Show vet Rob Riggle.
CinemaBlend had the pleasure to talk with Rob Riggle ahead of Holey Moley's big ABC premiere – and we also got some info out of Joe Tessitore via email – and learned quite a bit more about what viewers can expect from the "challenging" and "extreme" series. Naturally, Steph Curry was a topic of choice, so let's start there.
How Involved Was Steph Curry?
As one of the most talented and lauded athletes in the country, NBA superstar Steph Curry was all over TV recently as part of the NBA Playoffs and Finals. (It didn't end well for Golden State, but that's neither here nor there.) Our own Sean O'Connell asked Rob Riggle how involved Curry actually was with Holey Moley as an EP. According to Riggle:
He's a big part of it. He weighed in on every aspect as far as I know. And then, of course, he's involved. He's actually out there swinging the golf club as a team member to some of the players. So yeah, you have to watch the show to see what I'm talking about, but yeah, he's involved for sure.
While Steph Curry likely wasn't part of the teams that physically constructed the courses, it sounds like he had his fair share of input on the course's challenging holes. I like to think he tried to push for everything to feature the Warriors logo, but that's probably not what happened.
Understandably, while he did have a lot to do with the development process for the show, that whole NBA career didn't exactly allow him to stick around for filming on a constant basis. Here's what Rob Riggle had to say on that front:
He is a busy man with a lot on his plate. He definitely was helpful, and definitely was a part of this show in a big way. But no, he's not working year-round on it, I don't think. [Laughs.]
Fans will indeed get to see Steph Curry out on the course in the premiere, but time will tell how often he'll be around after that.
How Difficult Are Holey Moley's Courses For Both Amateurs And Pros?
Anyone who plays mini-golf on a regular basis knows that it takes a keen amount of skill to become an expert in the game, and that it technically doesn't have all that much to do with one's skills in regular games of golf. Here's what Rob Riggle told us when asked if a golf pro would have an advantage on Holey Moley.
It may help a little, but the course is designed in such a way that it's kind of an equalizer on many levels. But I mean, look, if you're a golf professional, you spend a lot of time putting, so you probably have a little edge. But honestly, we saw many, many golf professionals go down to...let's call them 'Regular Joes.'
Mini-shots fired! It sounds like one's overabundant skills in one area may not be all that's needed to win out on Holey Moley. Which makes sense, of course, since most mini-golf is played in settings where there aren't lots of people watching while cameras are rolling. And personally, I've never had ANYONE do color commentary when I play putt-putt.
Rob Riggle said he did get a limited time to test the course out, but what did he think?
I didn't get as much time as I wanted out there, but I got a few rolls in myself, and I found it to be incredibly difficult. I had a tremendous amount of empathy for our contestants.
Co-commentator Joe Tessitore echoed Rob Riggle's thoughts about being surprised by how difficult the Holey Moley course turned out to be for well-seasoned golfers.
I think Holey Moley hit the right tone and the thing that I’m most pleased about is that it is such an inclusive show. That wasn’t just apparent in all the different competitors; we had it actually played out on the golf course. There were some massive upsets. You would think that pro golfers would have a distinct advantage. You would think that a golfer in their athletic prime would be able to handle some of these physical challenges far better. That wasn’t necessarily the case.
Watching underdogs win out over professional athletes is basically the premise of every feel-good sports movie of all-time. So if that's the kind of scenario we're going to see often on Holey Moley, fans are likely going to keep tuning in to live vicariously through the winners.
What Kinds Of Surprises Will Holey Moley Give Fans?
Sure, this might be a show about mini-golf, but it's not a show ONLY about mini-golf. (Okay, it's mostly about that.) But Holey Moley will have lots of surprises, too, from special guests to genuinely surprising competitions. Here's what Rob Riggle teased about the first season.
We had great guest stars, I'll tell you that. We had a lot of really fun people pop by the course to visit with us that are a lot of fun. We had some great competitors, real personalities out there. We had ladies that were 60-year-old retirees up against 18-year-old kids. We have golf professionals, and people who were just fanatics for the game. So I think it was a great mix. I think everybody will be able to identify with somebody out there.
Joe Tessitore got a little more specific about the guest stars, saying this:
We were really blessed on Holey Moley to have major stars from gold medal olympians, to film to TV stars, to music legends who all really engaged with the competition. If you come to a set like Holey Moley, which has a bigger-than-life Willy Wonka feel to it, you better be all-in and have a lot of fun.
So just how will these Olympians, actors and musicians make their way into the putting party?
Does Being A Comedian Help With Sports Commentating?
As a veteran actor who has delivered memorable performances in seemingly 75% of all the good TV and film comedies of the past 15 years, Rob Riggle hasn't exactly stepped into these kinds of shoes before in his career. When CinemaBlend asked if Riggle thought that having a comedian's sensibilities is a plus for color commentary, here's what he told us.
Oh yeah. I think most comedians see things a little differently, They're searching for the humorous in most situations. Whereas, you know, a play by play announcer's giving you the facts, because that's what the viewers want. They want to know what's exactly happening out there: what's stroke are they on, and where are they at in the competition? So I think that's why you have play-by-play and color commentary, because they compliment one another, and this is no different. Obviously, we heightened it for comedic and fun purposes, but the reason you have both – whether it's a straight game or Holey Moley – they compliment one another, and I think we definitely [did that].
One of Riggle's strengths as a performer is the constant energy he brings to every medium, even if he's just standing in one place and talking. Holey Moley will certainly keep him busy as he spices up Tessitore's detail-oriented chatter.
Though Holey Moley is his first mini-golf show, Rob Riggle does have some background in sports-related comedy. NFL fans who watch Fox's Sunday pre-game broadcasts are used to seeing Riggle popping up every week to poke fun at various teams and players (and Terry Bradshaw), often through song. However, the NFL gig didn't do much to inform his job as a color commentator. In his words:
It's completely different. The stuff I do for Fox NFL is sketches, and we have time to prepare those every week. This was more in the moment, reacting to what was happening out on the course, so it falls back more on the improv training. But that's how I started. I started with improv.
Technically, Rob Riggle could quickly write up and perform a song just ahead of taping a Holey Moley episode. So I'm just going to go ahead and hope that'll be the case at some point.
For those who can't wait to watch Steph Curry tear it up on the mini-golf course, Holey Moley will make its debut on ABC on Thursday, June 20, at 8:00 p.m. ET.