Mark Woodley really didn’t feel like going to work on Thursday, and he wasn’t afraid to tell you that.
Mr. Woodley, a sportscaster and reporter for KWWL, an affiliate of NBC News in eastern Iowa, was put on duty as the huge storm system moved across the plains. Temperatures dipped to 12 degrees in the morning and continued to drop, and it was snowing – at times heavily – as Mr Woodley broadcast live from the streets of Waterloo for more than three hours.
“What better time to ask the sportsman to come about five hours earlier than he would normally wake up, go out and stand out in the wind, snow and cold and tell others not to do the same?” Mr Woodley told Ryan Witry, a presenter who was back in the hot, dry studio. “I didn’t realize it was also 3:30 a.m. until today.”
“Listen to the show for the next two hours to see me get more and more grumpy,” he said, before lamenting missing a mission that would have kept him inside a car .
“How do I get this Storm Chaser 7 duty?” He asked. “This thing is heated, the exterior is currently unheated.”
As the minutes and hours passed, his efforts to enunciate became more strained.
“The good news is that I can still feel my face right now,” he said. “The bad news is I kinda wish I couldn’t.”
And as the sun began to rise, Mr. Woodley wondered aloud if the joke was on him.
“Can I go back to my usual job? I’m pretty sure, Ryan, you added an extra hour to the show just because someone likes torturing me,” he said. “Compared to two and a half hours ago, it’s getting colder and colder.”
He signed at dawn – “luckily for the last time this morning” – with large piles of snow behind him.
In an interview, Mr Woodley, who worked intermittently at KWWL for 20 years, said the previous 24 hours had “been crazy” and the response had been overwhelmingly positive, including from his employer.
“It was all amazing, I don’t understand how celebrities do anything,” he said. “It’s exhausting. I love it because it’s something new for me, but I’ve never seen anything like this coming.
Mr Woodley said he did 14 live stand-ups in three and a half hours, but selected the funniest parts to put together ‘like a trailer for a terrible comedy’ and post them to the networks social. He first posted the montage on his personal Facebook page, but his friends and family encouraged him to put it on Twitter. The next thing he knew, the director Judd Apatow and the actor Josh Gad retweeted it.
While Mr Woodley was a bit worried about getting in trouble with his bosses at the station, he said ‘they know who I am on the air’, and adding a bit of sarcasm and sarcasm wasn’t off. about. The station was “completely boarded up”, he said.
Mr. Woodley managed to avoid doing a second round of coverage on Friday morning and instead planned to return to his usual 6 p.m. timeslot to preview the Music City Bowl in which the University of Iowa will face the University of the Kentucky in Nashville next weekend.
“I was glad I wasn’t that guy anymore, and God willing, I never will again,” he said. However, if his team is understaffed, as it was this week, he said he would reluctantly step in.
As a local journalist, Mr Woodley said he imagined he would become “big” one day.
“Being known for being the grumpy old sports and weather guy wasn’t on the list,” he said, “but it is what it is.”