I saw the satirical version of him first. Martin Short, during his SCTV days, did a television interviewer character named Brock Linehan. He was long-winded, slightly pompous, and always overly researched.
I didn’t realise until years later that he was based on a real guy, named Brian Linehan, who passed away last night at age 58. Martin Short’s character was so intwined with the real person that many people, Linehan once noted, started calling him “Brock.”
The running joke with the Brock Linehan character was that his extensive research was often way off the mark:
“You, while living in Paris in the 1940’s, once studied under none other than Sir John Gielgud, with whom you shared a brief but passionate relationship.”
“Yes, yes, you did. It’s right here.”
I had my own Brock Linehan experience doing a phone interview with the bassist for the Rheostatics for a piece that was never published. I had just read On a Cold Road: Tales of Adventure in Canadian Rock by Rheos guitarist Dave Bidini and Have Not Been the Same: The Canrock Renaissance: 1985-1995. I was armed with several notes of questions about the Rheos, their relationship to their country, and their place in Canadian alternative rock. I was ready:
Me: “In his book, Dave Bidini writes glowingly of your concert at Saint John’s Harbour Station. He writes: [passages are quoted at length]. Tell me of your impressions of that show.”
Tim Vesely: “I fuckin’ hated it.”