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Caliendo’s draft joke with Cardinals GM Keim led to some fake news

Comedian Frank Caliendo performs onstage during Muhammad Ali's Celebrity Fight Night XXI at the JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge Resort & Spa on March 28, 2015 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Mike Moore/Getty Images for Celebrity Fight Night)

Comedian Frank Caliendo thought he was being a funny guy when he sent Cardinals general manager Steve Keim audio messages impersonating Raiders coach Jon Gruden and proposing a trade before the NFL Draft.

It wasn’t so funny when the two publicly discussed their pre-draft joking around and the vicious news cycle churned the prank between friends into a lambasting of Keim.

After Caliendo and Keim went on The Dan Patrick Show to joke about their friendly exchange, headlines posted to more than one website took things out of context.

Some accused Keim of nearly being fooled by Caliendo’s Gruden impression, charging the GM with nearly believing a trade for the first overall pick for the fourth and 27th selections was truly on the table from Oakland. Others even suggested he should have been focusing on the actual draft, believing Keim was busy joking with Caliendo while on the clock.

“Steve always knows it’s me,” Caliendo said Tuesday on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station’s Doug & Wolf. “I sent him audio files. This is not during the draft. So Yahoo! takes the story and says that I’m doing this during the draft. It’s a complete lie. Fake news.

“I’m like, no, this is 100 percent not — he knew it was me from the beginning. This is a joke. This is silly.”

Caliendo also sent fake messages to some of his NFL reporter friends. He impersonated Jay Glazer and Adam Schefter as part of the practical joke.

But like Keim, they knew it was him all along.

“It was amazing to get caught up (in it),” Caliendo said. “It was a phony story. My dad’s texting me, like, ‘What are you doing?’ I’m like, ‘It’s not real!’ People are mad at me, like, ‘Grow up.’ It was known by all parties what was going on.

“I’ve never been in that kind of social media fakeness.”

Keim, who also joined Caliendo on Dan Patrick’s radio show, joked that it was “torture” and said he believed he actually did “three or four trades” with the Raiders and had to confirm with Oakland GM Mike Mayock that it was all a farce. Within context of the interview, it sounded like Keim was joking.

But headlines took those comments seriously, charging Caliendo with actually, nearly duping the Cardinals GM. Just look at the headlines their duel appearance produced:

Comedian Frank Caliendo tried to fool the Cardinals into trading first pick to the Raiders

Comedian Frank Caliendo nearly fooled Arizona Cardinals on draft day with Jon Gruden impression

Frank Caliendo Nearly Pranked Steve Keim Into Trading Him No. 1 Pick as Jon Gruden

Frank Caliendo hilariously pranked GM Steve Keim into almost trading him No. 1 pick as Jon Gruden

Caliendo, who lives in the Valley close to Cardinals headquarters, has known Keim for a while. He’s coached one of Keim’s sons in flag football and two of their children are friends.

He doesn’t feel great about how some news entities took his ribbing and turned it into an indictment on the Cardinals GM.

“I’m looking at these stories, I text Steve, like, ‘Can you believe what’s happening here?'” Caliendo said. “It was kind of a lesson and I know Steve will never do me another favor — I wouldn’t if I were him. I mean, he’s been so good to me and a great friend … I’m even scared to ask for tickets now.”

Here is the original appearance on The Dan Patrick Show that sparked all of it.

Doug & Wolf

Cardinals Interviews and Podcasts