Revisiting BDK’s Epic 2009 Botch with Michael K. Williams (Omar)

by Chris 'Blue Shorts' Lingebach
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Michael K. Williams -- known for his HBO roles as Omar, in The Wire, and Chalky White, in Boardwalk Empire -- who's sometimes confused Brían F. O'Byrne. (Credit: ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)

Michael K. Williams — known for his HBO roles as Omar, in The Wire, and Chalky White, in Boardwalk Empire — who’s sometimes confused Brían F. O’Byrne. (Credit: ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)

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FAIRFAX, Va. (CBSDC) - When KTLA anchor Sam Rubin stumbled into confusing Samuel L. Jackson with Laurence Fishburne, he found himself in a pitfall familiar to many who have worked in live television: stepping in it, and getting caught.

Rubin’s slip, which Jackson immediately called him on, played out as follows:

Rubin: Did you get a lot of reaction to that Super Bowl commercial?

Jackson: What Super Bowl commercial?.

Rubin: Oh. My mistake. I’ve been (uh buh buh).

Jackson: You’re as crazy as the people on Twitter. I’m not Laurence Fishburne.

Rubin: That’s my fault. I know that. That was my fault. My mistake.

Jackson: We don’t all look alike! We may all be black and famous, but we don’t all look alike.

That of course is the abridged synopsis. For the full awkward encounter, see the video above.

The entertainment reporter was noticeably flummoxed, and was repeatedly and admirably apologetic, as Jackson hilariously grilled him for the next minute for his gaffe. It should also be noted, one of Rubin’s co-workers (off-camera) unceremoniously threw him under the bus with a “you are guilty!”

As the Junkies discussed on Tuesday morning, this was eerily similar (at least upon first glance) to an on-air botch made by their own entertainment reporter, Kevin McCarthy, during a live radio interview with “The Wire” and “Boardwalk Empire” star Michael K. Williams in 2009.

Let’s revisit, shall we?

See, Kevin is the ultimate movie nerd. His acumen for picking up the little details in movies is unmatched; part of which, I’d like to believe, can be attributed to the nature of his OCD — which forces him to hone in on little subtleties with laser-sharp focus — but also, because he’s a complete fanboy.

But none of that is applicable here.

Things to listen for: How fast everyone piles on Kevin (true to Junkies’ botch nature), how high-pitched Eric’s voice gets (that’s how you know he’s really upset), and how utterly embarrassed Kevin is by his botch.

From the Junkies:

JP:  Michael, we were just talking about our movie reviewer, and he just loves the scene, I guess, in the Guggenheim, in The International, and he wanted to know where was it shot, how many bullets were flying?

BDK: That was one of the most amazing shootouts with you and Clive Owen, man.

MKW: Aw man, thank you, but you’ve got the wrong dude.

[Laughs all around]

EB: You’re kidding! You’re kidding!

Lurch: Look how embarrassed he is…

Cakes: This is the best interview ever!

EB: You don’t even know what you’re talking about, you moron!

Lurch (fact-checking on IMDB) : Michael K. Williams doesn’t look like he was in The International.

BDK: Then who’s the guy from The International???

Lurch: Well it wasn’t him!

JP: Good research, BDK!

EB: Take your headphones and leave. You’re done! Get out of here! You embarrassed our guest!

JP: You were talking for five minutes about that!

Lurch: Oh, that’s gonna tilt him for years!

So years later, does that botch still tilt Kevin?

I reached him for comment, to answer that very question.

“No,” McCarthy laughed. “I just learned from it — to always do my research.”

Ironically enough, the actor Kevin confused Michael K. Williams for — the actor who was actually in “The International” — is named Brian F. O’Byrne, who is white (photo at bottom of page).

In fairness to Kevin, this interview also took place in 2009, when he was still very green in the movie reviewing business. And, he hadn’t ever seen The Wire, he says, and had no idea, at the time, who Omar or Michael K. Williams were.

You might say, he had some WIRES crossed in his brain, causing him to believe that any role O’Byrne, white, had played, was actually played by a man named Michael K. Williams, black.

Also, knowing Kevin personally, he doesn’t have a racist bone in his body, and considering he confused a white guy for a black guy, this exchange is distinctly and categorically dissimilar from that of the donk reporter above, who mistook Jackson (black) for Fishburne (also black).

Lesson learned, and a joyous moment in Junkies’ history revisited.

THIS is Brían F. O'Byrne, who Kevin somehow thought was Michael K. Williams, who plays Omar on The Wire. (Credit: Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images)

THIS is Brían F. O’Byrne, who Kevin somehow thought was Michael K. Williams, who plays Omar on The Wire. (Credit: Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images)

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