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MQFT with Marc Kennedy

This week, John sits down with Marc Kennedy, current third for Team Koe and famously a member of one of the greatest curling teams of all time, with Kevin Martin, John Morris and Ben Hebert. A two-time Brier champion, one-time World Champion, and the 2010 Olympic gold medallist, Kennedy and the Koe rink also just won the 2015 Home Hardware Canada Cup, securing the first berth into the 2017 Olympic Trials.

Welcome to Magical Question Fun Time, the new Curling Canada feature in which comedian John Cullen sits down with your favourite curlers for interviews like you have never seen. Each interview will feature eight questions: five standard questions that will be asked to each curler, two questions specific to that curler, and one question provided by the curler interviewed previously.

1. What’s the nicest shot you’ve ever been a part of?

Marc Kennedy: Wow. There’s a lot. And a lot against us, too. It feels like it’s been more against us lately. Epping made that crazy shot a few weeks ago . Gushue makes that one-in-a-million against us in the Brier last year. It’s tough to choose one. From my end, it would have to be the open hit to win the Trials.

John Cullen: Not the one to win the Olympics?

MK: I mean, that too, but in a sense, it is harder to win the Trials than the Olympics, and I think too, it’s so hard to win Canada that you’re never thinking past the Trials. You work hard for four years, and you just think about getting to the Olympics. Once you win the Trials, you barely have time to think about winning the Olympics, so in a sense, the Trials feels like a bigger shot. And against Glenn Howard’s team too, it was a huge moment.

JC: I have to be honest, I’m surprised you didn’t choose that crazy triple from the Alberta Provincials in 2008.

MK: Is it bad I totally forgot about that one? (laughs) That’s the nicest, for sure. You’re right. I remember, that shot was what really got us going in 2008. We ended up winning our first Brier together (Editor’s note: and going undefeated), and Ferbey really should’ve beaten us in that game. To make that shot was huge.

Brent Laing (Curling Canada/Michael Burns photo)

Brent Laing (Curling Canada/Michael Burns photo)

2. Which curler could you take in a fight?

MK: Probably Brent Laing. Brent Laing and Colin Hodgson. (laughs) Probably not many others.

JC: I think you’re the first person to pick someone not on their own team, and it’s Colin, who has now been named twice. Why Colin?

MK: Well, he’s just a little guy. It’s nice to find someone smaller than me, and he’s not very aggressive either. (laughs) I think it’s more that there’s a lot of curlers I don’t want to fight.

JC: Like who?

MK: Ryan Harnden, for one.

JC: Really? See, that’s always a guy that I’ve kinda felt just has a big softer side and wouldn’t actually hurt anyone.

MK: Well, I don’t want to find out. (laughs)

3. If a deli named a sandwich after you, what would be on it?

MK: I would have the Southpaw Sub…

JC: Wait, you’re coming out with the name first? (laughs) Every previous interview I’ve done, they’ve been terrible with the name part. This is impressive.

MK: Well, I read the previous ones you did. I didn’t want to be unprepared. (laughs) So yeah, I’m an Alberta boy through and through, so we gotta have lots of roast beef on there, and then nothing too hot, maybe like a honey dijon sauce? Then lettuce, tomato, cucumber, green pepper, and onion.

JC: I’m assuming being from Alberta, you gotta throw some Angus beef on there.

MK: Oh yeah, the beef is definitely Angus. And you can double it.

4. What’s the worst job you’ve ever had?

MK: I was a sales rep for Pepsi my first four months out of university, and it was awful. I was so bad at it, John, you have no idea. (laughs) I used to have to go to calls every day, and I was responsible for 16 sales calls per day. My first few days, I didn’t know my way around Calgary, so I got to four. Four! (laughs) So that means the 12 calls I didn’t get to roll over to the next day, and then the next. By Friday, I had to make 57 calls. (laughs) Needless to say that didn’t go well. I honestly have nightmare stories of the things I did to try and make these calls. It made me realize I need to avoid working at a day job as long as possible.

JC: And that’s when you turned to curling.

MK: Well, sort of. I moved home, took a job at Kevin Martin’s Curling Supplies, and worked there for two and half years before he agreed to curl with me. (laughs)

5. I’m experimenting with fifth questions, so here comes a new one. If there’s a fire in your house and you can save yourself and your family and one item, what do you save?

MK: My Olympic gold medal. And thank goodness you said my family was gonna be saved, otherwise my wife would’ve been like, “What the hell, you don’t want to save me?” (laughs) Lots of stuff in my house is important, but I think that’s the most important to me.

(Curling Canada/Michael Burns photo)

(Curling Canada/Michael Burns photo)

JC: I hear that they won’t replace it if anything happens to it.

MK: Yeah, they told us when we won it that you should never display it, keep it locked up, because if it gets stolen, you’re out of luck. I think the only way they will replace it is if it breaks. If you can bring it back to the IOC in pieces, they’ll make you a new one. But that’s it.

JC: You definitely hear of a lot of horror stories of guys having stuff stolen, for sure. I know Brent Pierce had his 2000 World Championship ring stolen.

MK: Yeah, you hear of that all the time. I know Ferbey had all of his jackets stolen, and I’m sure you’ve heard the Kevin Martin story.

JC: No!

MK: So Kevin had his 1996 Brier ring stolen, and he obviously assumed it was gone for good. Eight years later, he gets a call from a guy who was playing golf at a course in British Columbia. I guess the guy was a huge curling fan, and he found Kevin’s Brier ring in the rough. He knew it was a Brier ring and knew that Kevin won in 1996, so he got a hold of Kevin and got him his ring back from the 12th hole. Crazy stuff.

6. All right, now we’re onto the Marc Kennedy-specific questions. First, how many of the words to Eminem’s “Lose Yourself” do you know?

MK: (laughs) Every one of them. I know every single one of them, and I’ll karaoke it if I have to. (laughs)

JC: I have heard some rumours floating around of some epic Marc Kennedy karaoke performances. How do you know all the words?

MK: You know what, it started in juniors. I curled with Chris Schille (who now plays third for Jamie Koe), and we were really good friends, and the guy was the biggest Eminem fan in the world. Seriously. It was all he listened to, all day, every day. So I started to get into it, bought some Eminem albums, and learned some of the words. (laughs) I don’t show that skill on too many occasions, but when you’re out at a karaoke bar in Japan, sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do. (laughs) I won’t quit my day job though, that’s for sure.

(Curling Canada/Michael Burns photo)

(Curling Canada/Michael Burns photo)

7. If you could describe the underwear you curl in with one word, what would it be?

MK: Saxx. I think they’re the best invention ever. Brad Jacobs and those guys got me into it.

JC: Oh really? Because I had heard other words used to describe it, like “man-thong”, “tiny”, and “embarrassing”. (laughs)

MK: Oh man, okay. I know what you’re talking about. I just started wearing Saxx this year, but before that, I had a really hard time picking underwear to curl in. I don’t know if it’s my slide, or what, but it was just horrible before that. I tried wearing boxers, and I would honestly sack myself at least once a game. So when I was looking for underwear that would work, I came across these underwear that were basically man-thongs, but they didn’t quite ride up my butt, so I didn’t have to adjust all game. They were great, really. (laughs)

JC: And now you’re wearing underwear another curler suggested to you. How does that come up?

MK: Well, we’re always in the locker room together. At some point you just gotta ask a guy what he’s up to. (laughs) It’s all about picking your spots. Right after a loss, maybe not. (laughs)

8. Amazing. Okay, this last question comes in from Kaitlyn Lawes. If Team Koe was a band, what type of music would you play and what instrument would each member of your band play?

(Curling Canada/Michael Burns photo)

(Curling Canada/Michael Burns photo)

MK: Okay, I would’ve said we’d be a country band, but the whole team is really into Justin Bieber right now, so maybe we’d be a pop-style band.

JC: The whole team? You mean to tell me Kevin Koe is rocking to the Biebs right now?

MK: Oh yeah, Koe loves it. (laughs) It was our entrance music in the Canada Cup.

JC: (laughs) I can’t picture that at all. He seems so quiet.

MK: Yeah, he would be our drummer for sure. Just hanging out at the back of the stage. Benny would be our lead singer, obviously. I’d rock the guitar, and Brent…I’m gonna say banjo.

JC: (laughs) So no bass player, but banjo? (laughs)

MK: Well, look at the guy. He looks like he should probably play a banjo. Or ukulele. (laughs)

JC: (laughs) I can see it.

MK: We clearly are seeing the same vision. And Benny would honestly be a kick-ass lead singer, he can sing anything. You should see him do karaoke. Any genre, any song, he crushes it.

JC: What would be your ultimate song, if you guys had to perform one together?

MK: “Benny and the Jets”. Obviously. (laughs) Benny would love that.

JC: I can just hear the banjo on “Benny and the Jets” now. (laughs) And lastly, I need a question from you.

MK: Okay. If you could pick an all-time, all-star mixed team, who would it be?

JC: Ooh, I like it. Who would you pick?

MK: Well, you need an understanding skip, so that leaves Kevin Martin out. (laughs)

JC: (laughs) Really? You don’t see it?

MK: We played mixed together a few times at the Continental Cup, and it just doesn’t work. I had to be the middleman between Kevin and the ladies, because they would get intimidated by him and just clam up, and Kevin can be tough to deal with too. He doesn’t like to take advice. (laughs)

JC: I can see it. So what would be your team?

MK: Okay, so I think you would have to have Jennifer Jones on there, with Dawn McEwen as the lead.

JC: You’re not picking your own mixed doubles partner and past MQFT guest, Kaitlyn Lawes?

MK: Oh shoot, you’re right. Put Kaitlyn on there so she doesn’t get mad. (laughs) So we’ll go Kaitlyn and Dawn, Carter Rycroft at 2nd, and Glenn Howard skipping. He likes to play with the ladies and he’s a great skip.

JC: All right, phenomenal! Thanks Marc, really appreciate it, and best of luck the rest of the season!

Marc Kennedy and Ben Hebert (Curling Canada/Michael Burns photo)

Marc Kennedy and Brent Laing (Curling Canada/Michael Burns photo)