Comedy Experts' Take On Super Bowl's Funniest Ads


From star-studded groups to good old-fashioned fun, this year’s lineup of Super Bowl ads didn’t disappoint its record number of viewers. But how funny/and or effective were these ads? Peppercomm’s Laughing Matters Council of humorists offer their take on the spots they found most side-splitting.

David Horning, founder, Water Cooler Comedy

I was lucky enough to watch the game with three other comedians. We agreed the State Farm commercial with Arnold Schwarzenegger mispronouncing “neighbor” to the ire of the director was the most structurally sound use of comedic storytelling, for three reasons:

  1. The joke is established within the first 25 seconds.
  2. They escalated the joke logically from “neighbor” to other words ending in “er” (labor, concealer, etc.) in a montage ending with “chopper,” of course.
  3. The Danny DeVito appearance wasn’t some forced celebrity cameo that detracted from the joke.



Liz Joynt Sandburg, head of comedy arts, DePaul University

This year’s spots saw a clear delineation between millenial/Gen X humor and Gen Z preferences. Ads from and State Farm spoke to the parents in the room, while Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups (now with caramel!) hit Gen Z with absurd slapstick, meme vibes and plus edits that spoke to the YouTube generation with classic physical heightening. Reese’s had my kids (14 and 10) howling -- while only getting a chuckle from my partner (also a comedian) and me.

Luvell Anderson, associate professor of philosophy and affiliate faculty in African American studies and women’s and gender studies, Syracuse University

The DunKings ad with Ben Affleck and crew had me laughing the hardest. Tom Brady’s determination to be a solid DJ and Matt Damon’s embarrassment etched DunKings into my brain for the night. Alternatively, Pfizer’s Here’s to Science ad didn’t hit its note. Pfizer could have done a better job showing how we all rely on scientific innovation instead of the wistful nostalgia it offered.

Clayton Fletcher, Peppercomm’s Chief Comedy Officer and co-author of “The ROI of LOL”

One commercial that “landed” was the spot with Brad Bellflower, fictional leader of the site, closely encountering two aliens looking to rent a pad where they’ve docked their spacecraft. The nature of the extraterrestrials’ relationship is unclear, and Bellflower is too savvy to presume anything, so he asks, “One bedroom or two?”  Alien 1 suggests two bedrooms “for when my mom comes to visit.” Alien 2 replies deadpan: “Let’s make it a one bedroom.” This ad, employing the inversion technique of sketch comedy, works because it spoofs the current UFO trend ( along with a complication familiar to anyone who’s ever been in a couple!


Malcolm Frierson, professor of history, Riverside City College

Apple Music’s teaser of its “Where’s Usher?” commercial played on the way meaning often gets lost in texts. Watching celebrities struggle to figure out if a friend’s exclamation point was angry or encouraging proved funny and relatable. And it truly made me wonder where in the heck was Usher!

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