Commentary

"Tom Brady's Wicked Accent" Makes Eli Manning Look Like Sidney Poitier

Adventures in high-fiving notwithstanding, I've never been as entertained, delighted or otherwise be-giggled by viral-video depot Funny or Die as most everyone else has. After a clip or two, the whole OMG-it's-a-celebrity-playing-against-type-and-providing-conclusive-evidence-that- he/she-is-in-on-the-joke! thing gets really tired. "Oh, look, it's Bieber trying to transition out of teen-idoldom! How fantastically, impossibly droll!" Etc. That's just one guy's opinion; you might feel differently. The freedom to disagree on the Internet is what makes America both great and rhetorically perverse.

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But I won't be the only one who misses the wit in "Tom Brady's Wicked Accent," a FOD-hosted video that arrives courtesy of our performance-wristbanded pals at Under Armour. Here's the setup: Tom Brady enters a Dick's Sporting Goods store (logo displayed prominently for five seconds, as per sub-section II(b)(iii) of the contract). As he searches for Under Armour golf gear, he's accosted by a hipster-haired sales guy who can't understand his drahhhhwn-out Boston accent. But here's where the funny starts to rage like a wildfire: Brady doesn't have an accent! He speaks like a normal person, but nobody in the store acknowledges it! I believe this reality-denial subgenre of humor was pioneered by the Bob Dole campaign.

From that point on, the clip hits every excruciatingly obvious note. The clerk references Marky Mark and plays the ever-reliable "chowdah" card (funnyometer: engaged). A shopper confuses Brady with Matt Damon (entering SNL-outtake territory). An Asian man who speaks English poorly snaps a photo (Jerry Lewis salutes you, sir).

It's a one-beat joke stretched out over three minutes, and that one joke isn't remotely creative or original. What am I missing? Is there some societal lens through which I should be viewing the salesclerk's barbs? Do I lack the necessary amount of pop-cultural sensitivity to appreciate such a nuanced depiction of anti-regional-accentism?

The clip doesn't advance the Under Armour brand, either. The company makes apparel for athletes (full disclosure: I own approximately three pairs of its breathable moisture-wicking mesh-paneled performance underpants). Thus one would think that depicting its threads in or around acts of sportiness might be a savvier strategy, even if it means overlapping with the brand's more traditional ads and marketing, no? Whoever sold Under Armour on the wisdom of Attempting To Be Funny On The Internet must be a persuasive individual, indeed.

As for Brady, he makes Eli Manning look like Sidney Poitier by comparison. It doesn't matter. He's still Tom Brady and, as such, could survive 2,000 brand-marketing Hindenburgs like this, so long as his beautiful, beautiful cleft chin isn't infested by fungus.

I have nothing else to add, so let's end with some of that constitutionally protected American Internet speech I mentioned up front: "Tom Brady's Wicked Accent" is not funny and packs the branding wallop of a palm frond swaying in the gentle afternoon breeze. If you disagree, you're either a Brady apologist or on Under Armour's payroll.

6 comments about ""Tom Brady's Wicked Accent" Makes Eli Manning Look Like Sidney Poitier".
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  1. Tara Santoro from Anagram, LLC, May 31, 2012 at 4:55 p.m.

    I think you are missing the humor. I found it quite funny, but then again I am from Boston. Maybe you just need to be from New England to find it funny.

  2. Norm Page from Grapeshot, May 31, 2012 at 5:32 p.m.

    Here's the thing about the vid: it propagates the maddening misunderstanding that people from New England have somehow morphed into people from Chicago or Minnesota. We do NOT say (with extreme nasal inflection) "Bah-stin", "cah-cktails", "hah-ckey", or "cah-ffee". That's a Rah-chester MN accent. People from New England say (thick and drawn out) "Baww-stin", "caww-cktails", "haww-ckey", and "caww-ffee". Yes, we also say "cah", "fah", and "bah". If you can't do it correctly, jeez, let somebody else who can get in front of the camera. It's not that tough an accent to re-produce. (Tom's kind of hysterical in it though. His time in Boston has clearly rubbed off on him when he unloads on all the knuckleheads in the store.)

  3. Chuck Lantz from 2007ac.com, 2017ac.com network, May 31, 2012 at 7:59 p.m.

    The author is forgetting that the majority of today's comedy audience thinks Tom Green, Dane Cook and SNL are actually funny. ... Need I say more? ... (rim shot)

  4. Kath Marish from Stonhge Media, May 31, 2012 at 8:50 p.m.

    Tom Brady comes off as very unlikable in this-as someone who is "too good" for Boston. Yet, he plays for Boston/New England. This completely escapes Under Armour and Brady who does the whole Diva bit incredibly well. There's JLo. LiLo. And now TBra.

  5. Sean Tracey from Sean Tracey Associates, June 1, 2012 at 9:22 a.m.

    I agree totally, Larry. This was a complete bomb. A waste of money for the brand and an embarrassment. There was potential in the setup but the script, direction, and performances tanked it.
    Sean Tracey
    Creative/Commercial Director

  6. Kendall Smith from Tremor Video, June 1, 2012 at 3:31 p.m.

    It's funny and I'm not even from New England, I actually thought it humanized Brady on some level. It's a video on Funny Or Die guys, so ask yourself, does the material match the venue? Absolutely.

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