Brian Kelly Adopts Worst Southern Accent of All Time

CLAY: I feel like I know Southern accents pretty well. When I was in college — I went to George Washington up in D.C. — my roommates who were all from the Northeast, would ask me to hit play over and over again when my mom and dad called because they were so blown away with how unique their Southern accents were. As guys who grew up in Northeast and also California, they had never really heard a real Southern accent, so they were blown away by my parents.

They would ask me to hit… On the old voice-message machine, you could hit play. They would want to hear my mom or dad leaving a message for me. So Brian Kelly just got $100 million contract to leave South Bend, Indiana, where he had been the coach at Notre Dame, and go take over at LSU. LSU is in Baton Rouge, about an hour outsidish of New Orleans.

If you haven’t been to Louisiana, it’s a fabulous state with fabulous people. I love it. I love all the South. I was born and raised on the South. I’ve been on the bus tour all over the South. I know we’ve got people listening all over the country. But the people I have most in common with are oftentimes people I will meet on that bus tour who are big college football fans and also like me just think the country has gone absolutely insane.

We had Ali, our producer, and Buck, down. They had a great time at the Ole Miss-Alabama game. Brian Kelly takes the $100 million job. He’s from the Northeast, I believe from Massachusetts. He’s been coaching in the Midwest at Notre Dame. Has never had an accent at all to my knowledge. He addressed the LSU basketball crowd last night.

He gets this $100 million deal, moves down to Louisiana. He has literally been on the ground in Louisiana for a couple of hours, and he now has developed this awkward, deep, incredibly fake Southern accent. I want to see, especially the Southerners, I think you guys are going to hear it and think, “Oh, my God,” but I think even people who are from different parts of the country, especially if you’ve ever heard Brian Kelly speak before, this is pretty funny.

He sounds like… There’s a pantheon of bad Southern accents. If you’re from the South, you will recognize actors or actresses attempting to be from the South. I would say Nicolas Cage in Con Air (for those who have seen that esteemed film), that is maybe the apex of the bad Southern accents. But also, if you watched “House of Cards” before Kevin Spacey got kicked off (spoiler alert) for allegedly sexually assaulting kids, he had one of the worst accents of all time as a Southerner.

This now is Brian Kelly — this is real — last night addressing the LSU fan base. I think you’ll enjoy it.

KELLY: Thank you! Thank you! It’s a great way to get started and I haven’t even won all my games yet. It’s a great night to be a Tiger. I’m here with my family and we are so excited to be in the great state of Louisiana. But more importantly, to be with you great fans and to be part of what is going to be an incredible ride here at Louisiana State University.

CLAY: So, look, $100 million. A lot of you out there may be saying, “I’ll put on whatever accent you want if you pay me $100 million,” but this is so transparently bad. Can we just grab that one word “family”? That is the worst Southern accent that I have ever heard. He’s 60 years old. It’s not as if he’s been in the South for 20 years. Every now and then my wife, who is from Michigan, will drop a y’all in and she grew up with a Michigan accent.

But she’s been down here for over 20 years and so you will pick up the mannerisms, the flavor, the speech patterns of different places that you might have gone. But it’s impossible to be more inauthentically Southern than Brian Kelly just trying to do that in that conversation there, and it reminded me of what we see from so many politicians.

Do you remember Hillary Clinton’s awful Southern accent? What about Kamala Harris and the way that she talks when she speaks to different groups? It is just so transparently fake, the way you sound should be the same no matter who you’re talking to. As soon as you start trying to pretend to be like the people that you are around, they can see through you.

And so right now Brian Kelly is getting absolutely roasted, in a funny way, by Southerners all over the country, because he did what so many fake politicians do: Try to pretend to be something that you are not in an effort to try and make yourself more likable, and ultimately people don’t care what Brian Kelly sounds like. If he wins football games at LSU at a high rate, they’re going to love him; if he loses, they’re going to hate him.

Nick Saban is not from the South. He’s from West Virginia, but he doesn’t really have a strong Southern accent. He got to Alabama. If he wins, it doesn’t matter what you sound like, and the same lessons should be true for politicians. We don’t want you to deign to us, to talk down to us, to try to pretend you’re something you are not. We just want you to do the damn job well.

And when you are fake talking to us, when you are trying to adopt our mannerisms or our speech patterns that don’t reflect who you actually are, it doesn’t make us like you more; it makes us trust you less. As funny and ridiculous as that awful Con Air-like accent was for Brian Kelly, I thought it was instructive. As we get ready for the 2022 campaign and everybody prepares to go on the road, don’t try to be something that you’re not. What is so rare today is authenticity. Own yourself, and people will respect it. That’s why Trump kicked ass so bad.


CLAY: We’ve got another clip of Brian Kelly, the new coach of LSU, used to be at Notre Dame. He’s been down in LSU for literally a couple of hours, and he’s developed the worst Southern accent this side of Nicolas Cage on Con Air. It’s Open Line Friday. I want to have some fun, unlike what they do on the Colbert show on a daily basis. What’s the worst actor or actress accent you’ve ever heard, the worst actor or actress accent that you have ever heard in a TV show or a movie?

Here’s Brian Kelly, Notre Dame head football coach at the time, basically, using the word “family.” He’s from the Northeast. He coaches in the Midwest until a couple of days ago, until he got $100 million. I want you to listen to the way he said “family” when he was a Notre Dame coach and compare it to the way he said “family” when he became the coach of the LSU Tigers. This is an unbelievable transformation in the space of a few hours.

KELLY: The most incredible 12 years of my life for me and my family being here at Notre Dame.

KELLY: It’s a great night to be a Tiger. I’m here with my family and we are so excited to be in the great state of Louisiana.

CLAY: Can you believe that? He can’t say the word “family” normally in the space of a few hours? I think this goes well beyond the world of sports stupidity because politicians do this all the time too. Remember Hillary Clinton? Remember when Hillary Clinton would talk to Southerners and she would sound like she was born in Jackson, Mississippi and lived there for her entire life as opposed to Chicago, Illinois?

Now she did marry Bill Clinton and lived in Arkansas for a while. It was so transparently fake. It was a sign that she was trying to appeal to people by being something that she wasn’t, which is the exact opposite of what we want from our political figures. Let’s play Brian Kelly one more time. I’ll open phone lines, 1-800-282-2882. Worst accents ever. This is up there with Nic Cage in Con Air. Brian Kelly, “family” in Indiana versus family in Louisiana. One more time.

KELLY: The most incredible 12 years of my life for me and my family being here at Notre Dame.

KELLY: It’s a great night to be a Tiger. I’m here with my family and we are so excited to be in the great state of Louisiana.

CLAY: Imagine if Buck and I did this. Like when we go on the road, and we’re talking in different cities we used to be from. If you just tuned in and Buck’s in Milwaukee, and all of a sudden he sounds like he’s got a bratwurst and a big kernel of cheese sitting in front of him the whole time. I’m down in Miami or Louisiana, and suddenly I sound like I’m Cajun or Cuban, or whatever it might be. This is so ridiculous.

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