Jim O'Donnell: Is versatile sports funnyman Bruce Wolf sneaking back into comeback mode?

  • Bruce Wolf

    Bruce Wolf

Updated 8/27/2021 2:29 PM

FOR CLOSE TO 25 YEARS, Bruce Wolf was as good as it got as one of the most consistently witty, creative people in Chicago sports media.

From his breakout turn as the craftsman behind "Athlete's Feats" on WXRT-FM (93.1) to his gut-busting run with alter ego "Chet Chitchat," Wolf was the broadcast son that Jack Brickhouse, Dennis Miller and Joan Rivers never had.


He parlayed those seminal moments into 16 ½ years as the original lead sports presenter weeknights on WFLD's "Fox 32 News."

Then "The Swarm of the Low-Budget Babbitts" began their annoying conquest of local sports reporting.

So the licensed attorney summoned the William F. Buckley within and reinvented himself as a conservative talk radio host.

That implausibly red well went bust-o and the one-time enfant terrible returned to his law practice and the idle-hours pursuit of a very funny presence on Twitter.

And now, he's ba-a-a-ck.

Sort of.

Via the elusive VPOD-TV, Wolf has emerged as host of "The Weekly Wrapup" on digital channel 59.3 Fridays at 7:30 p.m. with on-demand rebroadcast on YouTube and other assorted streaming media.

"Make that 'wherever better podcasts are sold,' since it's for free," the irrepressible Skokie native said.

Robo-chuckler Tim Slagle co-hosts the 60-minute Wolf showcase.

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With a set that makes a rest stop on the Indiana Toll Road look baronial, Wolf slips quips, Slagle does a seedling Ed McMahon and guests like Mike North and Eric Zorn Zoom in to punctuate the pace.

"Why am I doing this?," Wolf -- now age 68 but going like 66 -- responded to an insouciant inquiry.

"I have no idea what to do with my spare time. My golf game is losing yardage. I've given up on getting past Page 200 of 'Infinite Jest.' I wish even Channel 5 would hire me back but I'd feel out of place.

"So these guys (at VPOD LLC) for some reason thought it would be a good idea to have me do this. I've worked for so many TV and radio stations in Chicago, I thought it was about time to explore the outer reaches. And Channel 59.3, that's almost beyond space and time, isn't it?"

The easiest way to access existing episodes is to YouTube "bruce wolf weekly wrapup."

The host's Mach 89 flippancy and free-floating intellect make it all worth while.


DISTANT DRUMS ARE CALLING more full-field radio listeners this weekend when Garry Meier welcomes frothy Jay Mariotti to his new Sunday night talk show on KABC-AM in Los Angeles.

Meier was hired in July by roaming radio exec Drew Hayes to man the weekly gig.

As for "Cheery Jay," he continues to turn out some of the most provocative sports columning in America, primarily on substack.com.

About Sunday night, Mariotti said: "In what zany, post-Chicago universe would I find myself talking to the great Garry Meier? On a Los Angeles station? About a $6 billion stadium where fans ignored a county mask mandate at an NFL game and could have done a 'Superspread!' chant?

"And a baseball game in Iowa that qualified as Corn Porn, glorifying a 1919 White Sox team that threw a World Series?"

Ozzie Guillen probably won't tune in, but the show segment will be available at the station's cluttered website -- kabc.com.


From gloom to boom, in the first four weeks since Anthony Rizzo joined the Yankees, the Bombers have gone 22-4 while the Cubs catacombed to 6-19. (No cause for Addison St. anxiety -- "Rossy" will turn it all around.) ...

Speaking of stiff Wigglies, Fr. Med Laz -- the founding pastor of Holy Family Parish in Inverness -- reports that Andre Dawson's funeral business is thriving in South Miami. "Father Med," now 77 and "retired" in Fla., has enlisted Dawson to assist in a Haitian earthquake relief effort. ...

Barrington-spawned Lauren Magiera was inadvertently doing a terrific Catherine O'Hara ("SCTV," "Schitt's Creek") on the inaugural Saturday night edition of Channel 9's "GN Sports." It was actually fresh and sparky, even if buttoned-down co-host Jarrett Payton seemed only mildly amused. ...

All-time Naperville Central frequent flyer Drew Crawford has signed to play next season with MoraBanc Andorra of the Spanish League. (Father Danny Crawford remains happily retired after 32 seasons as an NBA referee.) ...

Illinois bettors pining for self-exclusion can now legally get down on jai alai. The national championships are in Miami through Sunday (and on YouTube) and the smart Basque money says bet against Jairo Baroja. ...

And Casey Rush -- on what could juice the weekend's pale-hosed "City, Serious?" between the White Sox and the Cubs: "If Joe Pepitone shows up to pinch-hit with Mickey Mantle's bat."

• Jim O'Donnell's Sports & Media column appears Thursday and Sunday. Reach him at jimodonnelldh@yahoo.com.

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