Ohio State president Gordon Gee, whose penchant for ill-advised jokes recently left him apologizing to football coaches and religious leaders alike, announced his (presumably forced) retirement on Tuesday. Come July 1, the bow-tie-wearing, 69-year-old administrator will suddenly have an abundance of free time on his hands -- and Extra Mustard has a suggestion for how Gee should spend it.
As a lifelong academic, Gee couldn't rip Catholics, belittle an entire conference's academics or mock a charity organization without suffering consequences. In Hollywood, however, he could make all of the offensive jokes he wanted in the name of satire and be celebrated instead of castigated. Just ask Larry David’s Curb Your Enthusiasm alter ego, who has “offended” blacks, orthodox Jews, World War II veterans, Holocaust survivors, Parkinson’s victim Michael J. Fox and many others over the years, or Julia Louis Dreyfus' Veep character Selina Meyer, who managed to alienate half of Europe when a mocking song she performed went viral. So to Gee we say: Head west, sir, and get your SAG card. You’re meant to be an actor!
Since the former law professor’s age and grandfatherly demeanor might lead to some typecasting, we've got a few suggestions for the nation's talent scouts:
• Gee as a new member of the Channel 4 News Team in the forthcoming Anchorman 2: Many of the gags in the first film centered around the gang’s misogynistic attitude toward new co-anchor Veronica Corningstone. The guys will have presumably moved beyond that in the sequel, but Ron Burgundy wouldn’t be Ron Burgundy without making or facilitating a slew of tone-deaf jokes. Envision Burgundy tossing to a veteran reporter, played by Gee, who's doing a live hit from the U.S.-Mexico border near San Diego and doesn't realize he's on air. It's easy to see how that might escalate in a hurry.
• Gee as one of Larry’s golfing buddies on Curb: From time to time we see Larry at various country clubs (he’s been banned from at least two, one for accidentally killing the owner’s prized black swan), where off-color humor is often the norm. Gee could play a doctor whom Jeff invites by for a round after a particularly successful hernia surgery. Once the gang tees off, even Larry and Jeff would be alarmed to hear what Gee’s character has to say about one of the other members. “He’s worse than that thug Bret Bielema.”
• Gee as an adversarial senator on Veep: The potty-mouthed Meyer frequently finds herself in zinger-filled negotiations with patronizing politicians from the opposing party, most notably bombastic Rep. Roger Furlong. While we can’t see Gee tossing around F-bombs quite as freely as either character, he could perhaps engage Meyer in a cocktail-party conversation about Middle East politics that veers into all sorts of unfortunate stereotypes. “You just can’t trust those damn [fill in ethnic group here].”
• Gee as a potential client on Mad Men: Gee is finally free to say just about anything that comes to mind knowing the audience will simply write it off by thinking, “I guess that’s just how it was in the ‘60s.” One complication: Gee is a practicing Mormon, so his scene would be the first in the show's history where no one drank or smoked.
• Gee in the next Fast & Furious movie: Admittedly, I’ve missed the first six installments, so it’s hard for me to say where Gee would best fit. But I’m guessing there will be cars and racing and some new criminal kingpin. Gee could play the latter, and he'd surely be unimpressed with the caliber of Vin Diesel's and Paul Walker’s street-racing competitors. “Our gang does not race the Little Sisters of the Poor.”
• Gee as a character on South Park: Actually, this one’s probably already in production, with or without Gee's participation.
(Illustration aided by South Park Studios Avatar Creator)