Oscar Madison And Skip Bayless: The Odd Couple?

With the passing of actor Jack Klugman, who played sportswriter Oscar Madison on “The Odd Couple,” we look at many of the similarities between the character and ESPN’s Skip Bayless.

Actor Jack Klugman has died at age 90. He was best known as Oscar Madison in the television adaptation of “The Odd Couple.” Madison’s occupation was a sports columnist for the New York Herald; he was fired toward the end of the first season of the show, but eventually latched on to other publications throughout the course of the sitcom, which ran for five years.

As you would expect, there was at least one vote for Oscar Madison as their favorite fictitious sports media figure “ahead of Skip Bayless.”

It’s not like such a cheap shot is unwarranted. Like Madison, Bayless bounced around at newspapers like the Los Angeles Times, the Miami Herald and the Dallas Morning News before settling into his current gig as a debating head on ESPN2’s “First Take”.

When asked why he hung up his pen at his most recent tome, the San Jose Mercury News, to join ESPN for what was then known as “Cold Pizza,” Bayless explained that part of the appeal was that he and his original debate mate, Denver Post scribe Woody Paige, had what he called “very lively ‘Odd Couple’ chemistry.”

So is it any wonder that there were so many parallels between real-life sports personality Skip Bayless, and pretend sports personality Oscar Madison? And it’s not the just the fact that both of them just happened to write for a newspaper called “The Herald” at one point. Consider the following:

Oscar Madison was kicked out by his ex-wife, “requesting that he never returned.”

Skip Bayless kicked himself out of the Chicago Tribune, citing, “Things change. Paths split.”

Oscar Madison’s neighbors were The Pigeon Sisters.

Skip Bayless’ neighbor is Stephen A. Smith, who defies pigeons once he opens his mouth.

Oscar Madison was caught sneaking in junk food that time he joined a health spa.

Skip Bayless was caught lying about his athletic record.

Oscar Madison regularly played a game of poker.

Skip Bayless was never good at sports at all.

Oscar Madison once had a bout with sleepwalking.

Skip Bayless once received a video text from his BFF Stephen A. before he went to sleep.

Oscar Madison got into a heated feud with Howard Cosell.

Skip Bayless got into a heated feud with Mark Cuban.

Oscar Madison was swindled by tennis player Bobby Riggs.

Skip Bayless was once vilified by tennis player Andy Roddick.

Oscar Madison was skeptical about the honesty of Felix’s writing class teacher.

Skip Bayless was skeptical about the integrity of Derek Jeter.

Oscar Madison once posed for a cologne ad, at Felix’s discretion.

Skip Bayless once leaked a photo of himself working out, at Skip’s discretion.

Oscar Madison wanted to be a part of a commercial with football player Deacon Jones.

Skip Bayless wants to be a part of the success of football player Tim Tebow.

Oscar Madison’s roommate orchestrated an episode of “This Is Your Life” for his birthday.

Skip Bayless’ network orchestrated an episode of “Obsessed” on Tim Tebow’s birthday.

Oscar Madison once fell asleep while smoking a cigar, and burned Felix’s bed.

Skip Bayless was once wished to “fall onto a burning pile of rusted AIDS needles.”

Oscar Madison has an ulcer.

Skip Bayless has to deal with Stephen A. for ten hours a week.

Oscar Madison has taken money from Felix and blown it on horse racing bets.

Skip Bayless takes half a million dollars from ESPN and gambles with facts.

And last but not least…

Oscar Madison: “Pits-pits-pits in my juice-juice-juice.”

Skip Bayless: “All he does is win, all-all-all he does is win.”

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