Hometown boys Rob Riggle and David Koechner may be movie and TV stars now, but they still get a thrill over their latest celebrity perk: hosting Sunday’s Big Slick Tailgate Experience at Arrowhead Stadium.
“Rob and I grew up lifelong Chiefs fans, so this is kind of a ‘pinch me’ moment for us,” Koechner said. “When you grow up as a kid, you’re a fan of the Chiefs, and then you get to partner with them for this event and give back to the city and Children’s Mercy, it’s really a dream.”
Sunday’s tailgate, which cost $350 per person, brought in $60,000. That amount will be added to the total for next year’s Big Slick Celebrity Weekend on June 1 and 2, when they hope to break this year’s record of $1.75 million for the hospital.
The Chiefs’ opponents on Sunday were the Buffalo Bills, but Koechner and Riggle — both “Saturday Night Live” alums — couldn’t think of any Bills fans.
“I’m not sure they exist,” Koechner said. “They’re kind of like a salad. You don’t take it to go.”
Riggle, who grew up in Overland Park, and Koechner, from Tipton, Mo., gave us a few moments just outside their tailgate tent to talk Chiefs fandom, from earliest memories to worst moments.
Q. As lifelong Chiefs fans, what are some cool items of memorabilia that you have?
Koechner: When I was a kid, I had a Willie Lanier poster. Sadly, I don’t have it anymore. The thing that I love about it is that it was a Willie Lanier poster. How often would you have a poster in the ’60s of a linebacker?
Riggle: I had (defensive end) Art Still one time give me a shout-out on some video. I thought that was pretty cool, because I was a big Art Still fan. Big Art Still fan.
Who’s your all-time favorite Chiefs quarterback?
Riggle: I’m loving this kid now, this Alex Smith kid. This No. 11 is pretty good. He’s doing some good things. He’s winning some games for us. Lenny Dawson, obviously.
Koechner: When we went to the playoffs in the early ’90s. … Gosh darn it, I’m forgetting his name now.
Koechner: Steve DeBerg!
Riggle: When he had a shattered hand, his pinky was shattered.
Koechner: Just a warrior.
Riggle: That was some true grit. Because he was an older quarterback at the time. And he was out there, doing it for the Chiefs.
Koechner: A seasoned veteran.
Riggle: Hats off on that one.
Koechner (to Riggle): Thanks for the assist on DeBerg.
What was your worst moment as a Chiefs fan?
Koechner: Well, I tell you, I was embarrassed a couple of years ago when (quarterback) Matt Cassel got hurt and the fans cheered. I thought that was a low moment.
Riggle: That 13-3 team and we lost to the Colts here. That one cut real deep because I had aspirations of a deep run if not a Super Bowl. And then giving the Raiders six downs to win the game a couple of weeks ago. No, no. I don’t like that.
What’s your first Chiefs memory?
Riggle: Five-years-old. My neighbor had tickets. My dad and I came, and we sat way up in the nosebleeds. I was too little to know what was going on. Just the size of the stadium, the grass, the colors. Everything just popped out. That was in 1975. There was still some black-and-white action going on at our house, as far as the TV sets.
Koechner: “Wow, the colors are red!”
Riggle: Yeah! “I didn’t know they were red!”
Koechner: My earliest Chiefs memory: I think I was 10, it was the Christmas Day game. Longest game in history at the time. Jan Stenerud, wide right, too bad.
Riggle: Against the Dolphins.
Koechner: Against the Dolphins. This is early NFL, I was with my Kansas City cousins, and I think that’s why I became a Chiefs fan, watching them in my grandmother’s living room. The game went on forever — I didn’t know the games weren’t always that long. A favorite Chiefs memory is the day I got engaged to my wife (Leigh, of Overland Park). We went and sat with her father and her sister. He had four seats on the 50-yard-line — against the Bills. The Chiefs won, and that’s the day we got engaged.
Rob, would you rather have another KU basketball national championship or a Chiefs Super Bowl?
Riggle: Chiefs Super Bowl. I mean, come on. It’s been way too long. We haven’t been to the Super Bowl in my lifetime, and that’s gotta stop.
Koechner: Plus, you know, you’re pretty confident that KU’s gonna get there again.
Riggle: Look, I don’t want to brag, but I feel good. I feel good about KU’s opportunities to get back to the championship. The Chiefs, come on now. We’re too good to not have been to the Super Bowl.
Koechner: Too good, too often.
Riggle: Yeah. We’re due.
Tickets for next year’s Big Slick Celebrity Weekend will go on sale in the spring at bigslickkc.org. Riggle, Koechner and co-hosts Paul Rudd, Jason Sudeikis and Eric Stonestreet will invite celebrity guests to play softball at Kauffman Stadium before a Friday Royals game, go bowling at Pinstripes in Overland Park the next morning and then head to the Arvest Bank Theatre at the Midland that night for the annual auction.