Long before he made it to ESPN, Kenny Mayne played quarterback at UNLV, rode his 10-speed down the Strip to his loading dock job at the Holiday Casino and wrote copy at KLVX, Channel 10, the PBS station.
A broadcasting major, “my goal was to be a Middle East correspondent, do serious stuff like that,” Mayne said Wednesday from his home in Connecticut.
A tryout with the Seattle Seahawks took him down another road. He landed a job with a Seattle-area TV station that kept pushing him to stay in sports.
“I took the path of least resistance,” said Mayne, who parlayed the break into an anchor job 14 years ago at ESPN2, where he built a fan base with his dry wit, irreverent style and smart writing.
Mayne returns to Las Vegas on Friday for an appearance to promote his book “An Incomplete & Inaccurate History of Sport.” He’ll be at the Red Rock Resort’s sports book from 3-5:30 p.m. to do a reading and sign his book, which is a hilarious mix of his offbeat humor and memoirs.
The younger generation will remember him for a brief appearance on “Dancing With the Stars” that judge Bruno Tonioli described as “like Pinocchio chasing Jiminy Cricket,” according to Mayne’s book.
Dancing was not Mayne’s cup of tea, not after suffering a severe ankle break while playing at UNLV. But he went along with it because you never know where TV can take you.
When it took him to “Regis and Kelly” for a post-elimination appearance, and he and partner Andrea Hale were told to put together a dance routine on short notice, they refused.
When Regis Philbin asked him how it felt to finish last, Mayne’s humor salvaged a rough outing.
“We don’t look at it that way,” he told Regis. “Right now we consider ourselves to be No.10 in the world.”
In the book, Mayne shares a lot of laughs from his Las Vegas days, including the time he and two dozen other UNLV football players served as ushers at the Muhammad Ali–Larry Holmes fight on Oct. 2, 1980.
A security supervisor singled out Mayne and told him he would be assigned to “a very important person.” To Mayne, that meant he would be joining Ali’s detail.
Instead his job was to shadow Nabila Khashoggi, the oldest daughter of legendary high roller and arms dealer Adnan Khashoggi.
Mayne dropped the ball. He lost her in a crowd surge. After a frantic search, he caught up to her and stayed close.
The next day he was invited to join her and another friend to see Wayne Newton‘s show.
Google Nabila’s name on the Internet, and you’ll find her father built a $100 million yacht and named it after her. The craft was featured in the film “Never Say Never Again,” the last James Bond movie starring Sean Connery, and later was owned by Donald Trump.
Mayor Oscar Goodman, being presented Tuesday with a “Doctor of Ginology” honorary degree from Tequila University, the bar at Adam’s Ribs on Maryland Parkway, across from UNLV. Owner Adam Carmer, a UNLV prof, presented the spoof degree. … Hilton headliner Terry Fator, acknowledging fellow ventriloquist Ronn Lucas, who performs at Excalibur, in the audience on Tuesday.
Soap star Susan Lucci of “All My Children,” celebrating a friend’s birthday at Picasso, in Bellagio, on Saturday.
THE PUNCH LINE
“So hot, the nuns were out in front of St. Patrick’s misting themselves with holy water.” — David Letterman
Norm Clarke can be reached at (702) 383-0244 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Find additional sightings and more online at www.normclarke.com.