We’re chronicling 100 days of Indy 500 history on #SpeedRead leading up to the historic 100th Running. With 38 days to go, Jeff Vrabel continues exploring the many tie-ins between the Indy 500 and pop culture.
More Vrabel: Harroun and the rearview mirror | “500” in Hollywood’s glory days | A.J. Foyt has a secret | Late-night TV hosts at Indy | The “500” in reality TV shows | In old TV | In silent movie | In “Cars” | In “Turbo” | The Beatles at IMS | Pace Car drivers | Snake Pit rebirth | The ultimate “500” playlist | David Letterman, pit reporter | Indy 500 on Atari 2600 | On “Jeopardy!” | More 100 days blogs
If you’re from Chicago, you watched the “Superfans” sketches on “Saturday Night Live” with an equal mix of appreciation, laughter and deep abiding poignancy, because they were basically like going downstairs at Thanksgiving when your uncles were over, only with slightly fewer terrible mustaches. (If by some fluke of the universe you haven’t seen any of these sketches, Google them or go to snl.com, we’ll wait.)
Either way, rest assured that every last minute of the Superfans somehow get better with time and repeated plays on YouTube, probably because they’re played by the absolutely Chicago comedy all-star team of actual Chicago guys George Wendt, Robert Smigel and Chris Farley and honorary Canadian-Chicagoan Mike Myers. Most sketches discuss the ways the Bears and Michael Jordan are superior to everyone else in the athletic world ever, at least half of which is non-debatable. But our favorite sketch, naturally, finds the Superfans discussing the inevitable results of a hypothetical Indy 500 that features a large bus driven by, well, every member of the 1992 Chicago Bears.
Bob Swerski: Now what if Da Bears were to enter the Indianapolis 500? Uhhh, what would you predict would be the outcome, huh?
Todd O’Conner: How would they compete?
Swerski: Well, let’s say they rode together in a big bus.
Carl Wollarski: Is Ditka driving?
Swerski: Of course.
Wollarski: Then I like Da Bears!
O’Conner: Yeah, I gotta go with Da Bear Bus!
Superfans: Da Bear Bus!
Wollarski: Bus full of Bears!
It’s hard to pinpoint exactly how a school bus driven by a mustachioed football coach would perform in the actual Indy 500, but we’ve thought about it a good bit and have to think they’d make it at least maybe 50 laps or so before someone probably had to go to the bathroom. (Pit stops would be a nightmare.) (Also Jay Cutler would almost certainly get hurt, somehow.)
It’s important to note that one fan still picks Rick Mears, probably because of how he’s a “real race car driver” or whatever. “That’s all right, Pat,” says Wendt’s Bob Swerski. “There are no easy questions in this life, my friend.”