We’re hard on the media around here, so it’s only fair to give some credit where it’s due: Adam Joseph, on Action News last night, was straight-up crushing it with his live tornado reporting.
I can only compare his performance to Klay Thompson’s 37-point quarter earlier this year. Joseph was unconscious. Couldn’t miss. In the zone. Tunnel vision. He went for about an hour-straight once the first tornado warnings kicked in for Chester County, and he never looked back. He informed viewers, warned those who needed warning, entertained everyone else, and did it all with a disarming smile which, quite frankly, could be used to talk down a forming tornado. Pfffffffffff this guy is onto us, let’s just give it up and move out to sea pffffffffff woooooooshhhhh.
As was the case with Thompson, no one else deserved the ball. It was Joseph’s to shoot. Just give him the rock and step aside. Approachable science lesson on converging winds forming dangerous rotation? Splash. Innate knowledge of the highway system and major arteries in and around Chester County? Buckets. An off-the-cuff description of straight-line winds? Count it. Minute-by-minute breakdown of where the storm was headed, complete with street-level view and urgent (but not alarmist!) instructions on where to go in your house to be as safe as possible, even if you don’t have a basement? For threeeeeeeeeee, YES!!!! AND THE FOUL!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Whatever plays had been drawn up by producers were scrapped. Joseph was calling the shots, directing his personal producer – I think his name was Paul – on the fly on which graphics to put up, all while getting the latest updates in his ear. He was so dialed-in that communication seemed to become non-verbal. He may have developed a sixth sense we don’t even know about yet:
At one point they brought in Dann Cuellar, who was on the phone. He was in Exton or some shit where things were getting nutty. But all he did was slow Joseph down, and he was IN THE STORM! Like Thompson foolishly passing to a wide-open Mo Speights in the paint because he wanted to seem like a team player, Joseph let Cuellar, who was in position for an easy bucket, clumsily observe loud thunder, rain puddles and “green clouds,” before finally taking the ball back and doing it all himself. Screw this noise. Give it to me. I’m just gonna jack it up from way out here.
The opposition might as well have been playing blindfolded. While Joseph was taking us inside the vortex with Super Secret Sauce Three-Dimensional Rotational Doppler Radar HD With A Compass In The Stock And This Thing Which Tells Time, NBC 10’s very own Siri, Bill Henley, let us know that it was warm outside:
6 ABC traffic man Matt Pellman was the unlikely beneficiary of Joseph’s hotness. He was using the same board for his traffic updates, and like a sharp-shooting sixth man coming in to spell the starter for a minute, the Juju seemed to rub off on him. He kept the board warm for AJ before Joseph checked himself back in, literally declaring off-camera that he was “going back to the board!”
Jim Gardner’s the star, the institution. Everyone tunes in to see Gardner. He’s Steph Curry. But last night, all he had to do was bring the ball up and kick it to Joseph. Midway through the 6 p.m. broadcast, Joseph, who showed no fatigue but was clearly gassed (he had to be… right?), spotted up and let Gardner put it in his shooting pocket. Gardner was in awe. It became like an impromptu Stump The Schwab. He was firing passes at Joseph. Catch and shoot. Catch and shoot. These are all real, all answered by Joseph: What’s the likelihood of an actual tornado coming from a warning? Are you able to measure rotational speeds and not just the presence of rotation? How hot is lightning? Even an ill-advised question about whether lightning itself could increase the chances of a tornado (NO, JIM!) was handled effortlessly by Joseph, who took one dribble with it and buried it while falling out-of-bounds, leaving his hand in the sky an extra second just so everyone knew whose show it was.
That was it. The end of the broadcast. Gardner was borderline speechless. He commended Joseph on his knowledge. Joseph said something about wanting people to learn from his mouth:
That response wasn’t even weird by that point. Viewers had just been taken to school. Gardner had been taken to school. For all we knew Cuellar was floating away in a van. Pellman couldn’t believe his good fortune to be in the presence of true greatness. I swear even Trebek seemed to be dumbfounded at the start of Jeopardy… and I don’t even know how that works because the show’s not live(!). Dimensions were all screwed up. I truly want to know if Joseph even remembers what happened. Was he actually present? Is he still alive? Did he spontaneously combust when they went off the air? We may never know. We’ll just remember the time greatness struck, and then, like a flash of lightning (which doesn’t create a tornado, Jim!!!), it was over.