Comedian Rob Bartlett revealed that Vince McMahon personally hired him after being roasted by Bartlett for his fashion sense.
In the early days of Monday Night Raw, comedian Rob Bartlett served as part of the commentary team alongside Vince McMahon and Randy Savage. He only served in the role for a number of months, and his time in the commentary booth wasn’t particularly well-received by fans as he was largely unfamiliar with the world of wrestling.
Speaking in a new interview with Steve Fall of WrestlingNews.co, Bartlett recalled being hired by Vince McMahon himself after mocking McMahon’s suit at a charity event.
“It was by Mr. McMahon himself. I was working on the Imus in the Morning program, which I had done for 31 years before he retired. The program was very involved with the Connecticut Special Olympics and I used to do a lot of their fundraisers. I was kind of like the quote unquote celebrity auctioneer. I would basically shame all these really rich types into paying enormous amounts of money for, you know, basically worthless stuff.”
“There was this fundraiser one evening, some banquet or whatever it was, and there was an auction. It was somewhere in Stanford, I think, and it was in a tent. It was outside of the tent. There were a couple hundred people, and Vince was sitting up front at a table with his lovely wife and whoever else was within his party. He was wearing a three piece velour peach colored suit, and so I did basically 20 minutes just on the suit, which he appeared to be enjoying and laughing along with everybody else. He was basically the foundation of my act that evening.”
Continuing, Bartlett explained that while he was nervous about receiving a phone call from Vince McMahon after the event, it led to him being hired as a commentator on Monday Night Raw.
“Everything went well. We raised a lot of money for the Connecticut Special Olympics, and then during the week, I’m heading back from the station after Imus and the morning show. I got a call from his assistant. She says, ‘Vince McMahon called. He wants to speak with you’. I thought, oh, no, here it comes. There’s gonna be death threats. The Steiner brothers are going to be waiting for me in my garage.
“I called and he said, ‘Bartlett, I’m really disappointed that you didn’t appreciate the fashion sense I displayed the other night. How would you like to be on live TV? I got this idea for this program called Monday Night Raw’, and he explained to me the whole concept of it.
“At the time, my son was eight. I have four sons, but this is the first one. He turned out okay, so we had three more. He was about eight and a huge WWF fan. I had taken him to a bunch of matches. I think I took them to the match where Macho Man got married to Miss Elizabeth. It was a father son bonding kind of thing and I thought, wow, this would be great. I’ll get some good seats at the shows and my son can meet some of the wrestlers. So, I thought it’d be fun. I thought it’d be an interesting experience.”
In the end, Bartlett also ended up being fired after dressing as Vince McMahon without permission. He explained:
“Making fun of Vince was one of my favorites. The following week, we were back at Manhattan Center and it was the pre-show meeting. Everyone went crazy for it and the crew went nuts because no one had ever dared make fun of Vince before and I had really nothing to lose. I kind of knew that I wasn’t going to be there much longer, so I figured I’d go for it. Everyone just thought it was the greatest.”
“So I show up and then you could see the wrestlers are kind of looking down and smiling. They don’t want to say anything. We’re all in the room for the pre-show meeting, Vince walks in, and there’s a hush. The place goes silent. He walks in and he just stares at me. He goes, ‘Bartlett, you’re fired.’ The place goes nuts.”
“The following week or two weeks later, I showed up at the Manhattan Center for the show and there was nobody there. There’s a cameraman. The entire place is empty. Nobody in the stands. Empty. They got a camera and they’re shooting me on camera. They didn’t tell me they were moving and they set it up so they could play this joke on me and that’s how he got me back for the impression.”