It is one thing for a gambler to risk money on a wager. It’s quite another to put his gonads on the line.
“Cousin Sal” Iacono — best known for his appearances on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!,” hosted by his actual cousin Jimmy — falls into the gonad-imperiling category.
During a 2017 episode of his “Cousin Sal’s Sure Thing,” a video series in which he gave out football betting picks on Facebook, Iacono, also a “Kimmel” writer, was so confident about his prediction of the NFL Seattle Seahawks defeating the Atlanta Falcons, he added a sweetener.
“I said that if I was wrong, I’d be willing to get punched in the nuts by [my pal] Johnny Knoxville,” Iacono, 49, and a married father of three, told The Post. “But moments later, Johnny jumped the gun. He slugged me in the groin long before the game even started.”
Iacono doubled over in pain and breathlessly requested that Knoxville read the rest of his picks.
That was not the only time that sports betting created physical danger for Iacono. As related in his new memoir, “You Can’t Lose Them All: Tales of a Degenerate Gambler and his Ridiculous Friends” (Twelve), the former real-estate lawyer once got a wager going with some “Live!” office mates. The Los Angeles Lakers were playing the Boston Celtics for the 2010 NBA championship, and Iacono and two others wanted to find a trio willing to make a stupid bet against them: Whoever picks the losing side would undergo a cycle of steroids.
“Nobody would take the bet,” said Iacono, a Brooklynite who now lives in LA. “So we came up with another idea. The three of us would get Botox injections in our foreheads if the finals went for the full seven games.”
Some celeb pals that Sal gambles with:
They lost and wanted to do the deed atop a moving double-decker bus. “But the doctor administering the shots said it could be bad if we hit a pothole” — potentially causing the needle to go awry and result in blindness. “Instead, we did it on the roof of a building. We wanted to put it on the [Kimmel] show but a lawyer went crazy. He added, ‘You idiots did this for nothing.’”
Sometimes Iacono’s gambling losses are monetary and physical. Such was the case when he, superstar chef David Chang and sports analyst Bill Simmons gambled after a meal at Chang’s Momofuku restaurant in Las Vegas. After they lost thousands at blackjack, Chang suggested trying their luck at craps.
But there was one wrinkle: Chang likes to bet what is known as the “don’t pass line,” in which you wager on the house to win and fellow players to lose. Iacono and Simmons played like Chang plays. “People get mad when you root for them to lose,” said Iacono. “This one guy was so angry that he started whipping the dice at us. We left the table with welts. It was a loss all around.”
He also brought Chang into his fantasy football league, which has a special rule in which the season winner can ban any one participant for the coming year.
When “Mad Men” was the hottest show on television, its star was given the boot. “Jon Hamm, I guess, just seemed like he’d be the funniest person [to eject],” said Iacono.
After rushing from the set to the coming season’s draft, held in a private room above a bar in LA, Hamm ordered a beer. “He got kicked out, downed his drink and coolly left the bar in classic Don Draper style. The next couple of days, Hamm was, like, ‘I don’t need you losers.’” By the next season, he rejoined.
Iacono will wager on most anything. He has bet with Adam Corolla on “Dancing with the Stars” outcomes and lost a wager that Pete Townshend would smash his guitar when The Who played the 2010 Super Bowl halftime show. (“He laid it down daintily, as if it was a valuable Beanie Baby and he was worried about bending the tag.”)
And then there were the 2017 Oscars. “My cousin Jimmy was host; I got to write for the show and that should have been enough euphoria, but I bet a parlay” — a wager that required him to correctly predict four winners.
He had three in the bag when Best Picture came up. Iacono picked “La La Land” — which was first incorrectly called the winner. Iacono thought he had snagged $3,500 until “Moonlight” actually won.