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Billy Corben: The 7th Floor Interview

Billy Corben
Billy Corben

After a semi-horrifying foray into objectivity (Jacory is the black Kirby Freeman?), it's time to return to the warm, nubile, and exotic bosom of Miami fandom. Who better than Billy Corben, alumnus of the U, lady-ogling hero, founder of Miami Beach-based content studio rakontur (with producer Alfred Spellman), fraternity gang rape documentarian, and creator of the legendary Dade County classic "Cocaine Cowboys?" 

No one, that's who. Billy graciously freed one hand while working on the highly anticipated ESPN Films doc "The U," a boner-inducing excerpt of which you can and will watch here. Get his thoughts on the season now before his deal with Jerry Bruckheimer causes him to realize he's far too big for people who post pictures on the Internet and call it a blog.

@ Florida State, Ga. Tech, @ Va. Tech, and Oklahoma: the ballsy return of 'anytime, anywhere,' or proof that the schedule-makers in the front office are smoking crack?

Yes. It's good to challenge the team and get the fanbase energized, seeing those big names and big games on the schedule. But then you might also have to prepare yourself for some heartbreak. And tooth loss if they're actually smoking crack.

If we start this season 1-3, but beat the ever living f*&k out of Florida State in Tallahassee, do you deem that acceptable?

Acceptable? Absolutely not. Possible? Unfortunately.

Having lived through the Butch Davis/rebuilding years, I understand it takes time to tighten a team, but I grew up in an era of total Hurricanes domination. When I was between the ages of 7 and 16, they did not lose a home game. They not only won six national championships (I include 2002), but for awhile it seemed like they were at least playing for a championship every year.

So, as amazing as it was to go up to The Swamp last year and see those Gators fans filing sullenly and silently out at halftime, in total disbelief that they were not killing us, we lost the game. A few weeks ago, I told Michael Irvin I was so hopeful after that game last season and that the team played with so much heart -- boy did he give me an attitude adjustment! The tradition of the 'Canes is not about heart. It is about winning -- and winning with style. That's THE U.


The end of season record will be __________.

If I could answer this, I would be spending all my time on World Sports Exchange, not making movies! Regardless of what it is, 'Canes fans can rejoice at the end of the season because at the very least we can all relive the glory days when THE U premieres December 12th at 9PM on ESPN immediately following the Heisman ceremony.

Nice! Tell us about your first Canes game. How old were you? Who took you? Were you already a Canes fan at that point, or was it the BBQ cat on a stick that brought you into the family?

I was so young, we're talking single digit, I don't recall exactly which game it was. But I remember the whole experience from my childhood. My dad, who has had season tickets forever, would take me. I remember him paying to park on somebody's lawn, trying to park on the outer edges of their yard, so we wouldn't get stuck having to wait for the people who parked behind us, blocking us in, to come out after the game. [Ed. note: we're familiar.] Following the crowds to the stadium. The smell of the bathrooms. The team of bad asses on the field. The more they did their thing, the more we loved them. The more the rest of the country hated them and shit on them, the more we loved them. When the crowd would get revved up, man, that top level felt like it was swaying under your feet (it got scary for a little kid). Did I mention the smell of those bathrooms?

Tell us your best Orange Bowl story, and "best" we mean something involving boobies, vomit, fisticuffs, a national championship, or any combination thereof.

Ha, a friend of mine got her ass thrown out of the stadium years ago. She was wasted, completely out of control and ready to rumble with some 'Noles fans. She only avoided a drunk and disorderly arrest cuz her cousin was a cop working the game! We beat FSU in overtime, so everybody won that day.

Butch Davis: Lying, Godless whore? or the single greatest recruiter in the history of everything, ever?

You've gotta hand it to him for his part in putting together that 2001 team. They were unfuckingbelievable. I'll tell you, though, in his interview for THE U, Luther Campbell has some strong opinions about Davis. I don't know if they'll make the final cut or not!

The Bobby Bowden statue outside Doak Campbell is: "not as gay," "equally as gay," or "much much gayer" than the Tim Tebow "promise" plaque outside Ben Hill Griffin?

Almost as gay as Tim Tebow's jorts. And purity ring.

True/False: Griselda Blanco was intentionally mischaracterized as "The Godmother" so as to deflect attention away from the fact that approximately 65% of the cocaine trade in Miami in the mid 1980's was actually controlled by Michael Irvin.

Hahahaha. No comment.

The Godmother was deported to Columbia after being released from prison in California. If Howard Schnellenberger, Jimmy Johnson, Butch Davis, Dennis Erickson, Larry Coker, and Randy Shannon were similarly deposited in the Bogota airport with powerful enemies, who'd you put money on to survive?

I've been watching a lot of old games working on this movie and I can tell you, Randy Shannon would have no trouble surviving. Jimmy would hop on one of his fishing boats and escape with a cooler full of light beer (some of his enemies would probably join him, opting for a life of leisure in Islamorada than hanging around Colombia). Butch Davis would recruit some of them. Coker I would be worried about since he fired all the assistants who might be able to help him out of this jam. BRING BACK ART KEHOE!!!

You must have come across a lot of archival goodness and juicy story-telling in your research for "The U." Is there something that you couldn't include because of time or story that you wish could make the cut?  How much, if at all, did ESPN make you sanitize the final cut of "The U?" Don't lie.

I am literally typing the answers to these questions with one hand and editing with the other, so the situation is fluid right now. Ask me again in a couple months. The biggest challenge in terms of cuts right now is the running time. Trying to pack this epic story of the 'Canes, 1979-1992, 4 national championships, 3 different head coaches, dozens of games, hundreds of players, into 95 minutes is a real challenge. And some great material is going to have to be sacrificed. But....

Follow up question... what is the expected release date for the Unrated & Uncut version of "The U," and can we place go ahead and place our pre-orders now?

I'm hoping to put a "director's cut" together for 2010. Schedule and ESPN permitting.

Lt. Winslow went to law school with Christian Magluda. You know, until he got indicted. You guys gonna do right by his boy in Cocaine Cowboys 3?

Cocaine Cowboys 3 isn't about Willie Falcon and Sal Magluta anymore. It's about Michael Irvin ;)

And after reading that, we're ready to sack Christian Ponder ourselves. A big 7th Floor thanks (spoiler: it's hookers) to Billy, obviously, but also Evan at rakontur