ESPN commentator Stephen A. Smith is a huge fan of General Hospital. So much so that when the ABC soap's star Maurice Benard (Sonny Corinthos), visited Smith's show, First Take, back in 2015, the daytime favorite promised to pull strings to get Smith on GH for a second time (the first was back in 2007).
“Maurice recognized that I was a huge fan and said he'd have to get me on the show. I received a call a few months later to play ‘Brick,' a surveillance expert for Sonny and the Mob,” the sports expert told ESPN Front Row, adding that he's been watching the series for 40 years. “I have four older sisters and when we came home from school, all the TVs in the house were on General Hospital. Since I wasn't allowed outside until I finished my homework, I watched the soap every day.”
As for starring on a daytime drama, Smith says it's vastly different from his everyday work on First Take and his radio show, The Stephen A. Smith Show. “The pressure is immense,” he admits. “I practiced and practiced to make my lines conversational. Since I have watched the show for so long, I know Sonny and his mannerisms. So the scene was like talking to a long-lost friend and I was working with Maurice, one of biggest soap stars ever, who talked about how he visualizes the scene and environment. ‘How would you bug a phone? How would you say this to your boss, the mobster?' I knew him and how he goes about things. I imagined all that and it helped relax me.”
Of course, it doesn't hurt that he was working with two of the most respected stars in the genre: Benard and Laura Wright (Carly Corinthos). “I marvel at their professionalism, how focused and ready they are to perform at a moment's notice,” Smith says. “I don't get nervous too often, but I was incredibly nervous. [But] Maurice made it easy for me, coaching me the entire day. He made me so comfortable that at one point I almost forgot I was on the set.”
Check out a sneak peek of Smith's scenes below, and be sure to tune in on Thursday, March 31, to see his entire episode.
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