"It is possible to die from eating. But I think to be professional means you don't die." (Takeru Kobayashi)

Friday, October 12, 2007


As long as I've been a CE fan and eater, the sport has always been loosely compared to WWF style wrestling (yes, I know it's WWE now, but it'll always be WWF to me). Roughly translated: both are individual "sports" (in quotation marks because...are they really?), both feature mostly men and some women attempting feats that seem impossible and somehow unreal, and both are heavy on personality and schtick.

But how important is "personality and schtick" when it comes to being a successful eater? Philly Guy made a point on that last post when he said "you don't need to have a gimmick (to have) charisma. Pat, Rick, and Kobe aren't dancing around in dumb costumes and acting like fools and people love them. I'm not a fan of making the MLE the WWE."

I hear what the Philly Guy is dishing out, but I'd contend that Pat, Rick (?), and Koby have trancended the need to pour on the personality by using their awesome eating powers. Unfortunately, we're not all blessed with the ability to eat 21 pounds of grits in one sitting.

Maybe it's like this: Your success as an eater/entertainer (remember, in the end, every contest is about entertaining a crowd) is based on an unseen eater report card. Maybe that report card looks like this:

  • "THE KOBY FACTOR" - This is based on physical eating ability. What kind of numbers you can put up that will leave the audience in shock and grab the attention of the media? Those who rely heavily on this area: Joey, Chip, Bob Shoudt, Pat Bertoletti.
  • "THE CRAZY LEGS FACTOR" - What is your ability to entertain and engage the crowd? How memorable are you, regardless of how many hot dogs you can eat? (Though some still eat a lot of hot dogs.) Eaters who excel here: Dale Boone, Tim Janus, El Toro, Pat Philbin.
  • "THE LEFEVRE FACTOR" - How likeable are you? This is closely related to the Crazy Legs Factor, but includes an eater's ability to connect with fans and make them like you--and competitive eating--before you even take a bite. Stars here include Sonya Thomas, Steakbellie, Juliet Lee.
Most eaters have a little bit of all three. Some eaters specialize in one over the others. And some, like Eater X, are triple threats, with high scores in every category.

My point is, if you begin to rate eaters based on these categories, you can begin to see why some eaters were chosen for the Spike contest and how some eaters are actually more valuable performers than higher ranked guys like Joey Chestnut and, dare I say, Takeru Kobayashi? I've said it before and I'll say it again, If I were starting a new CE league and had the opportunity to draft one MLE eater, it would be either Eater X or Crazy Legs. Then I'd hire Vince McMahon as my league president.


Anonymous Philly Guy said...

I meant Rich LeFevre . Last time I'll try to make a blog comment after just waking up.

9:09 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pat B. doesn't rely on "schtick" but the Mohawk, Moustache, Headband, etc. show that he knows how to bring home the bacon in more way than one.

9:45 AM

Blogger Mega Munch said...

I like Rick Lefevre better. If he ever needs to liven up his image, maybe he can make that one letter change.

The thing I like most about Rick is when he wears button down collared shirts under his sponsor t-shirts with the collar out. I love that. Seriously.

10:13 AM

Blogger Carey said...

Don't mess with the rickster

11:04 AM

Anonymous Philly Guy said...

Rich "Rick" LeFevre, now thats something I can guarantee the Shea brothers would use.

11:51 AM

Blogger steakbellie said...

Just got back a few hours ago, and caught up on this. I think MM has a similar point of view as I do, probably because we have Advertising Backgrounds.

When you understand the format, the selection makes alittle more sense. They invited the top 8 available (it's hard getting a full week off of work at little notice) for the 'Main Event' and thats really what it was. The guys up there were AWESOME.

They also had an undercard that was the kiddie table. We were the opening act, and everybody was hungry for a win or good performance. The way the system worked you could actually move up to the Main Event for a good performance.

I really like this format, because it fixes the problem of 16 people eating but on the camera on Joey/Koby/Pat. Plus, while I was mostly outranked at the Kiddie table, I was given a real chance for a win, and I only want a chance.

The people chosen for the kiddie table had a balance of talent and schtick. I know myself that the kilt (dress, to most of you) helped distinguish me visually for TV. I know there;s better eaters out there, but I dont think I'm too far out of consideration.

I am really really happy with performance 1 & 3 for me, and I cant wait to see them shown. I rose to the occasion and ate to the best of my ability. Despite what the final placement played out, you can watch it and know that I was firing on all cylanders.

Performace 2 was ok, but very very hard on me physically. Feel free to forget to watch that night.

I hate being cryptic with you guys, I swear I'll write all the details when it airs.

There are some surprise performances that will make you stand up and yell at the screen! Damn!

1:20 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

my name is pat phiblin oink oink oink

2:32 AM

Blogger Mega Munch said...

Thanks for that insight Steak. That "kiddie table" format sounds like a good one for televised events.

2:16 PM

Anonymous beautifulbrian said...

Steak is it true Toro ate more cranberry sauce than you ? Im actually not supposed to mention this because the show hasnt aired yet but i dont want to attract attention by posting that on eatfeats. I love the guy but i think you would have smoked him in other foods. I never touch the stuff. Matter of fact at the thanksgiving table when asked if i would like some cranberry sauce with turkey i always pass. I commend you for eating or drinking an ounce of the stuff

8:39 PM

Blogger Mega Munch said...

Mmmm...cranberry sauce. Plopped right out of the can with the ridges still on side. Gotta have it.

10:13 AM

Blogger Ice Cream said...

sdjf sl s

8:27 AM


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