Drew Magary turned his hands into pincers when he imitated the crab named Crab.
The Deadspin columnist, GQ writer and author was in town Tuesday night to promote the paperback version of his most recent novel, “The Hike.” Magary read an excerpt from the book, which details one suburban family man’s business trip gone wrong, at the Tattered Cover on Colfax.
One of the characters in “The Hike” is a foul-mouthed crab whose name is Crab. Magary read a couple of Crab’s lines, and he did so in his best crustacean voice and with his hands curled into crab-like claws.
After it was over, I caught up with Magary about the book, his annual NFL series on Deadspin titled “Why Your Team Sucks,” his “Chopped” appearance and more. Here was the back-and-forth.
Denverite: How did you settle upon a profane crab being one of the featured characters in “The Hike?”
Magary: The animal lends itself to its personality. It makes sense, right? OK, he’s a crab. He’s probably going to be pissed off a lot. I don’t really remember when I thought there should be a talking crab in the book. There had to be some sort of enchantment. The folk tales I read when I was a kid, there was always an enchanted animal that could talk and would fuck with the main character. Sort of like a trickster. And that’s who Crab was supposed to be.
Denverite: Today in your Deadspin column, you talked about Odell Beckham Jr.’s “widehawk” haircut. You didn’t used to be a fan of it. Now you are. Why the shift?
Magary: Because my friend Greg Howard (a former Deadspin writer, who’s now with The New York Times) was like, “That’s racist and problematic, Drew.” And also because it works for him. And I was like, “Who am I to disagree with how Odell’s hair is working for him?” Plus anything different is good. The NFL is in such desperate need of colorfulness. Anybody willing to look or act with some life and some pizzazz, I’m in favor of it. So I have changed my mind on the widehawk.
Denverite: You write a series of columns leading up to football season in which you roast all 32 NFL teams. Which fan base do you experience the most backlash from when you write the “Why Your Team Sucks” columns?
Magary: It really depends. The most violent was always Oakland. That might change this year. But it really depends every year. It’s getting more muted. The series has been around long enough that it’s mostly a fixture. Most people get it. The number of people who are like, “What is this?” isn’t as much. It’s always fun on Twitter when one person explains to the other that they do this for every team.
Denverite: What’s the response like from Broncos fans?
Magary: They’re usually pretty chill. The reason why is because they won a Super Bowl two years ago. And then the other thing is that they just don’t have that imminent defensive hateable-ness of like Washington or Pittsburgh. I don’t mean that they are worse fans. They are a bit more relaxed. I know that that is not necessarily true given the Broncos fans I meet on the street.
Denverite: You’ve written a couple books now — “The Hike,” “The Postmortal,” “Someone Could Get Hurt,” and “Men With Balls.” What’s the most challenging part as someone who made his name blogging about sitting down and writing that much?
Magary: That. Like the fact that I have to fill all this space. And I can’t just fill it. It has to be good. It’s daunting, although it’s not so daunting if you just break it down. If I took every blog post I’d ever written and slapped them all together, it’d be a book. It’d be a bad book. But it makes you realize you can crank out something that has a lot of words. Making it good is always a challenge. I think the important thing is to really enjoy the process. When I do something like this, I want to make sure I’m having fun doing it. Or else it’s not worth it.
Denverite: Who are your two or three favorite people to read right now?
Denverite: You won an episode of “Chopped” a couple years back. Do you still own that striped polo you wore on the show?
Magary: No, I don’t. After I won, I came back and told my wife the judges made fun of my shirt. And she said, “Just give it to Goodwill.” So I did without realizing — because it didn’t air for like a year — that it would become a thing. Then people were like, “Drew, where’s that shirt?” And actually Macy’s doesn’t produce it anymore.
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