Here it is, the only reason to ever discuss First Take in a serious manner. During a characteristically loud discussion about Kevin Durant in Monday’s episode, it very much sounded like someone coughed as a maneuver to cover up a fart. But who was the culprit?
As with any investigation, we must go through the facts thoroughly: There were three mic’d-up people at the First Toot desk: Stephen A. Smith, Molly Qerim, and Max Kellerman. As pointed out in a Reddit thread, the cough-fart happens at 5:50 of this video. It is very clear that whoever coughed was doing so in order to conceal the bomb they were about to drop. Smith was in the middle of talking, so it couldn’t have been him. Qerim’s voice does not match the voice of the mystery farter. The main suspect is thus one Mr. Max Kellerman.
For your convenience, the relevant part of the video has been isolated and slowed down. Please turn up your volume and listen carefully for the brassy flatulence, and note that Kellerman looked tight and uncomfortable a few seconds prior.
Here’s another angle that confirms it was Kellerman who coughed:
There is another unlikely possibility that should nonetheless be addressed: Perhaps someone on the set was near a microphone and cut the cheese. That would not explain the noise before it, however. The cough and fart are tied to each other, and the former belongs to Kellerman. There is an infinitesimal chance that his sincere cough happened right before someone else in the studio had to rip one, a coincidence too extraordinary and horrible to contemplate, as it would unjustly tarnish Kellerman’s reputation and brand him as a person who sometimes needs to fart at inconvenient moments.
Kellerman went on The Dan Le Batard Show today to defend himself, and denied the fart (which in some circles would suggest that he in fact supplied it). Kellerman claimed he couldn’t hear it when the audio was played, and while he did not rule out that someone on set had farted, he insisted “it wasn’t me.” Although it’s not in the clip below, he later said, “I will say this: No, I did not fart on the set—I have farted in the past, though. That is true. But that’s not one of the instances.”
Despite Kellerman’s protestations, we must arrive at the most reasonable scenario. He was in a critical situation: Would he let loose on live TV or deal with some gas buildup later in the day? His options were limited, and so he did what any human would do: throw viewers off the sound (and scent) with something louder and more socially acceptable. It almost worked, but his timing was off, and the connection couldn’t be any clearer. As the late Johnnie Cochran once said, If you fake a coughing fit, you need to shit.