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Chicago Red Stars' Ella and Erin Show Is a Trainwreck ... and a Hit

By Justin Breen | August 9, 2013 9:58am
 The Ella and Erin Show features Chicago Red Stars players Ella Masar and Erin McLeod. The show is a cult hit on YouTube.
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LINCOLN PARK — Professional soccer players Ella Masar and Erin McLeod host one of the most unprofessional shows you'll ever see.

And it's a hit.

Masar and McLeod, forward and goalkeeper, respectively, for the Chicago Red Stars, star in the weekly "The Ella and Erin Show." The YouTube cult hit averages thousands of viewers each time it airs.

"We try not to be serious at all costs," said McLeod, who's also the No. 1 netminder for Team Canada.

The pair, who live with several other teammates in a Ukrainian Village apartment complex, do almost no preparation for the show. "We talk about it on the car ride over. We haven't always been on the ball here," Masar said.

 Chicago Red Stars teammates Ella Masar (left) and Erin McLeod converse during a taping of "The Ella and Erin Show" at the Red Stars' Lincoln Park office. The show averages thousands of viewers each time it debuts.
Chicago Red Stars teammates Ella Masar (left) and Erin McLeod converse during a taping of "The Ella and Erin Show" at the Red Stars' Lincoln Park office. The show averages thousands of viewers each time it debuts.
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DNAinfo/Justin Breen

It's evident.

There is incessant giggling. The show always begins with the co-hosts clumsily hitting their leather chairs into each other. The jokes — Masar one time asked "How did the rabbit propose to his girlfriend? With a 14-carrot diamond ring" — are ridiculous. The outfits — McLeod once wore a "Canadian tuxedo," or a denim jacket and jeans  — are absurd. The editing — shaky and blurry with awkward splicing — is deliberately terrible. The show is so low budget that Masar was the one who painted the "studio's" blue background. There are absolutely no retakes.

"We've got the whole thing going on here," Red Stars general manager Alyse LaHue said.

It's working.

"It's cool people are tuning in to see female soccer players talking about nonsense," McLeod said.

The Red Stars were officially eliminated from playoff contention late Wednesday night, so Thursday's taping at the team's Lincoln Park office was the season's final show. Part of the plot — well, there really wasn't a plot — was McLeod belting out an Adele song while Masar played guitar and beatboxed. "Think this will get me a lot of dates?" McLeod asked.

Thursday's format is comparable with other shows' storylines. In one taping, LaHue, while McLeod's dog Maxwell sat on her lap, told a childhood story of holding her breath until she passed out because her parents wouldn't buy her a Big Bird raincoat. Another time, Red Stars player Alyssa Mautz and Jackie Santacaterina performed an "interpretive dance" that went nowhere.

"I don't want to know what they're doing," LaHue said.

The show began this year after Masar bought a pair of season tickets, and she worked with LaHue to find a creative way of giving them away to fans. Masar's original co-host was Carmelina Moscato, who "just happened to be in the office that day," Masar said.

"It went online, and it was one of those things. We never thought it would turn into a variety show," LaHue said. "If you let players interview each other, you see their interactions and their funny side-jokes. Our fans have really appreciated it."

"The Ella and Carm Show" became "The Ella and Erin Show" after Moscato was traded to Boston in late June. Masar said McLeod's personality was a good match to serve as Moscato's replacement. Masar said the pair work well together because they're able to rip each other and still have a good time.

"Erin makes fun of me a lot, but deep, deep, deep, deep, deep down she cares," said Masar, a former standout for the University of Illinois who also has played the U.S. National Team and Paris Saint-Germain.

The Red Stars' last home game of the season is 6 p.m. Saturday against Sky Blue FC at Benedictine University in Lisle. Masar could score a hat trick in the tilt, but because of The Ella and Erin Show, she said most fans won't want to talk to her about her performance on the field.

"Instead, people will tell me how well I beatboxed," she said.