The Latest Episodes of INSIGHT with Chris Van Vliet
April 19, 2022

The Schmo - MMA's Most Interesting Journalist On Interviewing Dana White, Jake Paul & Mike Tyson

The Schmo - MMA's Most Interesting Journalist On Interviewing Dana White, Jake Paul & Mike Tyson


Dave Schmulenson is better known as The Schmo (@theschmo312). He is a sports journalist, interviewer and host of the podcast "The Triple C and Schmo Show". He joins Chris Van Vliet inside the Blue Wire Studios at Wynn Las Vegas to talk about how he got started as a sports interviewer, what he learned from conversations with people like UFC President Dana White, Logan Paul, Mike Tyson, Colby Covington and other sports stars, how he came up with his character "The Schmo", how he feels about comparisons to Nardwuar, who his dream interview is and much more!

 

Check out The Schmo's website: http://theschmo312.com

 

This will be the first time that a lot of people will be hearing you as David. A lot of people only know you as The Schmo.

“So I grew up in Chicago in the 1990’s, I am a 90’s child. My favorite sport was basketball and my childhood idol was Michael Jordan. I think he is the greatest athlete of all time. When I relaized the dream of being a basketball player died in high school, the next best thing would be talking about sport.”

You created this character. Where did this begin and how many different versions have there been?

“I would say that the original version of the Schmo always lives on but I have adapted it. If you don’t adapt then you die and change is inevitable. So I am a goof, I was always the class clown and made jokes. What you see is an extension of myself, but I can get away with crazier things when I put the glasses on. I grew up doing impressions, I do Borat and I do Austin Powers. Me and my roommates were goofing around in Los Angeles, I put on the glasses and a jacket and one thing lead to another. The idea of the character began with things like that in 2015.” 

Did you ever fear that people would not take you seriously?

“At that point I had stopped caring about that. No one would take David Schmulenson seriously. I wanted to go the traditional broadcasting route, I dropped off tapes after graduating and would not hear anything back. When I moved to California in 2012, the NFL Network and Fox Sports were starting up. I would do whatever I could to get my foot in the door, which I think a lot of people are afraid to do. I think an accumulation of many factors lead me to create a character to mock the system and say look, if you don’t want to give  David Schmulenson a chance then I will do it in character.”  

Who was your first interview as The Schmo?

“I believe it was with Rick Neuheisel. I met him on a Southwest Airline flight and I had the glasses. So I am on the flight and I told him what I was doing, I was doing The Schmo thing while being on USA Today. I went to his living room and that was the first one. But the first guest on The Schmo and The Pro was Jerry Hairston Jr.”

Did you ever think about going into stand-up?

“I think that I would be doing myself a disservice if I did not do stand-up. At some point I will do stand-up as The Schmo, it is 100% on the cards.”

Who is on the bucket list of interviews for you now?

“Michael Jordan is number one. The only UFC fighter I have not interviewed is Conor McGregor.”

Why hasn’t this happened yet?

“I have my conspiracy theories but it will happen someday. It took me a long time to interview Khabib but it happened, he did have to retire first. Everything in life is timing, a lot of things haven’t happened on my time, but you have to be patient.”

These last 2 years have been strange for interviews. I say if you do a Zoom interview then you don’t meet them. What do you think about that?

“If you meet someone that you have done a Zoom interview with then it is like you have met and talked to them before. Ironically this happened to me in Dallas recently. The Venezuelan Vixen [Julianna Pena], she and I have done Zoom interviews before but I have never interviewed her in-person until last weekend. We have had the familiarity, but it has to count for something.”

A lot of interviews are asking questions to get a headline. You are just asking as a fan and out of curiosity.

“For sure. And I think that with that, the headlines will come. The other journalists and sites take the video and spread the word and the sport grows. But asking the right questions? I’m not too worried about it.”

So let’s say you are about to interview me. How does the pre-interview conversation go?

“Great question. I try to keep it as short as possible because I don’t want to give it away. When the glasses are on, I am in character, when they are not then I am not. All I say is ‘When I put these on I am the Schmo and you are the pro. Are you ready to go?’ I want to say as little as possible, because I want to catch them off guard and get the ebay out of them. If they want to talk after the interview then cool.”

People only see the tip of the iceberg with you. What is the rest of the iceberg?

“I am really good at business and brand marketing. A lot of people can call themselves a social media expert, but if you can start something from scratch and you believe in yourself and do whatever it takes, that is what it is all about. I love to wake up every day, watch sports and make people laugh.”

Have you seen many Schmo imitators?

“Oh all the time. Also Helen [David’s wife] laughs at me all the time, but there are a lot of journalists doing what I am doing. If you are copying someone though, you are 2 steps behind who you are copying.”

What would you say has been your greatest Schmoment?

“Mike Tyson is up there along with playing basketball with Floyd Mayweather. When I met Goldberg for the first time and he grabbed my neck and said ‘You’re next!’ It was like my childhood came to life.”

What advice would you give to someone who is trying to get into this?

“You have to be able to take a step sideways or step backwards to move forward. No event is too small, find out where the closest regional scene is and do it for free. I have struggled so many times to make money, but if you love this then you will find a way.”

I end every interview talking about gratitude. What are 3 things in your life that you are grateful for right now?

“Good health, my inner circle and for good human beings.”