The Original King of Comedy

Oct. 24, 2001

by Gina Gray

Lenny Haynes should not only be known as a Husky football player, but also as a comedian. He likes to make people laugh and knows his humor is unique.

The 5-foot-10, 195-pound senior cornerback moved to Seattle from San Diego, Calif., and refers to himself as 'kinda goofy.' One might think he would have a difficult time making friends in a new place, but with his outgoing personality and one-of-a-kind sense of humor, Haynes had no problem.

'I've met a lot of good people and I am happy that I moved out to Seattle,' he says. 'I have some relatives out here so there was a lot of support. All of my friends are out here now, all my best friends, and that is what really counts.'

Haynes' fun-loving character, sense of humor and all-around good heart have made a lasting impression on the Husky football team and players. Despite being worn down from a long day of school, workouts and practice, other players can't help but crack a smile and a joke as they pass by Haynes.

Over the years, Haynes has had many different nicknames, including one - Heinous, no doubt referring to his tenacity on the field - that he temporarily adopted as his real name. Haynes states that changing his last name was a 'growing phase' that he went through, another reminder of his distinctive brand of humor.

Haynes' ability to smile and tell jokes has also helped him adapt to playing different positions on the team over the course of his Husky career. Haynes came to Washington in 1997 as a cornerback, was briefly switched to wide receiver in 2000, and returned to his customary corner spot in the spring of 2001.

'I can play different positions, I am happy to play wherever they put me. It doesn't bother me to be moved around,' he says.

Haynes downplays his outgoing personality, claiming that he is a shy guy.

'Once I feel comfortable, though, I'm like a Starburst - bursting with flavor,' he says with a smile.

He was not always so gregarious. When Haynes first came to Seattle, he mostly kept to himself. Once he adapated to the situation, however, and began to make friends on the team, his irreplaceable - and irrepressible - sense of humor emerged.

'I am kinda goofy,' he admits. 'People don't understand my goofiness. In fact I really don't understand it, but funny things just go through my head. However, people are receptive to my sense of humor and that's all that matters. As long as they laugh I don't care if they don't understand why.'

When asked how he wants to be remembered by his fellow teammates and coaching staff he replies with that humungous smile, 'Lenny Haynes always had a smile on his face.'

Haynes is on a one-man mission to bring smiles to the world, stating that everyone needs a smile. However, sometimes even the smile child himself feels down. All it takes to get the mirth-making mojo working is a quick encounter with a Husky fan, which never fails to leave Haynes feeling good.

'People are amazed to meet a Husky football player, and some kids even ask for your autograph. It makes me feel kind of mushy inside,' he says.

With all of the attention Haynes receives from fans and kids alike, he says it's nice to go home and relax and just be by himself. Nonetheless, Haynes enjoys walking around campus and having his peers ask him about current developments with the team.

'It's nice, you get to be cool on campus because people want to know what is going on with the team, our record, and who we are playing next,' he says. 'I feel like I have accomplished something.'

If gruff, tough football players are the rule, Haynes is the exception, always smiling and cracking a joke. The team comedian, Haynes takes his smile wherever he goes, brightening the faces of Husky teammates and fans alike.

Even if they don't quite understand just why it is that they're laughing.

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