In the saturated field of sports podcasting, Rapaport, 48, has orchestrated something of an unexpected success with “I Am Rapaport,” a show built on unfiltered emotional responses and a “no fact-checking” mantra in pursuit of the best sports and culture trash talk on the internet. Ranked as one of the top sports and recreation podcasts by Podbay, the four-year-old show is averaging one and a half million to two million monthly downloads across multiple platforms, according to the show’s producers.
“When you have somebody who feels that comfortable and says what he feels,” Parker said of Rapaport, “it allows you to open up and say what you feel. In this generation, people know what’s real and what’s not — and he’s been real for a while.”
Today, there’s a good chance that a solid chunk of the show’s audience knows Rapaport more for his insight on the greatness of Kevin Durant and the shortcomings of his beloved Knicks, or how he verbally spars with Moore from “Real Housewives,” than for his work in more than 60 films or his current role on the Netflix show “Atypical.”
“It’s art, and it’s a performance,” Rapaport said. “I’m not trying to polish myself or make myself look smarter than what I am. I want you to hear the genuine truth of what I think or feel, whether I’m incorrect or correct.”
It’s a career transition Rapaport is comfortable with after his guest spots on other people’s shows made him realize there might be a market for his intense, hourlong conversations with his friend Gerald Moody, which regularly leave him exhausted and with a hacking cough.
Bill Burr, a comedian, knows Rapaport’s brand of chatter all too well.
“This is a guy who loves his teams and knows the game,” said Burr, the host of “Monday Morning Podcast” and a noted Boston sports fan. But, he continued, “there’s also this part where you’re laughing at him because a lot of times his passion and desire for his teams to win” make him say crazy things that make no sense.