"Oh! Fireworks! Live! On-air!! Oh, my -- Holy Cow!!!"
If you've been relying on Bob Costas or Matt Lauer or any of NBC's ubiquitous platforms for your Beijing Olympic Games coverage, then you've been missing the high-octane reportage of Ben Silverman on KIIS-FM in Los Angeles.
The voluble NBC co-chairman is on the scene in China, where he's been phoning in daily dispatches on the Olympics experience for On-Air with Ryan Seacrest.
Dubbed "Beijing Ben" by Seacrest, Silverman has treated KIIS listeners to live color commentary on the open ceremonies' pyrotechnics (see above), as well as accounts of his gastronomic adventures ("dim sum and then some") and sightseeing excursions to the Great Wall and the tomb of the Terracotta Warriors.
"The Great Wall is an understatement," Silverman reported. "It's the 'Awesome Wall!'"
The gig has produced some priceless banter between Seacrest and Silverman, who admitted that he'd been misidentifying Beijing's so-called Bird's Nest Olympic stadium.
"I've been calling it the 'Bird Cage,'" he said, "which I realize is something in West Hollywood."
Recounting some proverbs he learned from his Chinese guide, Silverman quipped, "Her name is Fun Fun, so you can imagine how much fun-fun Fun Fun is."
"I think I met her in Vegas," Seacrest replied.
After Seacrest joked Thursday that NBC has been showing promos for its new comedy Kath and Kim "every 10 minutes," things got surreal when he resumed a running game of fill-in-the-blank free association.
"I am your horse," Seacrest began, "you are my ... "
"Chariot?" Silverman replied.
"I am your Kath, you are my ... "
Returning the volley, Silverman offered, "I am your warrior, you are my ... "
"Emperor!" said Seacrest, who then closed out the round with birthday wishes for Silverman (he turned 38 last week).
"You are my cake, I am your candle," he said. "Happy Birthday."
Perhaps "Seacrest Out," the host's signature catch-phrase on American Idol, will soon be eclipsed by "This is Beijing Ben Silverman signing off."
With Melissa Grego
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