While it was a helluva Super Bowl (Go Saints), when it came down to the ads, too many of the commercials smacked of familiarity and a lot lacked the surprise element because they were leaked to YouTube
in advance of the event. However one commercial kept under close wraps rose above the rest for for not only its shock value, but also because it played off of the overexposed celebrity of two men we've all grown to love over the years- namely Letterman and Leno!
In the weeks that led up to the Super Bowl, the straw that really broke the camel's back was on January 20 when Leno hit the low road and laid out a zinger that a lot of folks thought hit way below the belt:
- During his monologue, Leno admitted that "Letterman has been hammering me every night," addressing the attacks to his crowd and band leader Kevin Eubanks. Leno continued, asking Eubanks: "Hey Kev, you know the best way to get Letterman to ignore you? Marry him. He will not bother you. He won't look you in the eye."
The negative backlash of that comment led Leno to go public on Oprah Winfrey's show to redeem himself.
Adversarial contests like the Superbowl that get played on a national stage always attract major attention. As was the case when Letterman and Oprah buried the hatchet at the 42nd Super Bowl February 4, 2007 to end their long-standing bitter feud.
So now three years later, using that premise as to why Letterman and Oprah would be sitting on the same couch, and than to pan over to Leno - well...it made the 15 second commercial even more climactic...and hilarious. One feud mounts another to provide a spin that was definitely worthy of America's top funny men.
When asked if Rob Burnett, producer of The Late Show, realized the 15-second ad had the potential to upstage the game, not to mention any other Super Bowl ad, he simply laughed: "They had years, millions of dollars, and 30 seconds! I had one week, no money, and 15 seconds," he responded. "The bottom line is, if you’re a comedian and you have the chance to do something funny in front of 100 million people, you should do it."
So when all us complain about late night TV losing its mojo, in my eyes these two great comedy veterans still have the stuff to make us laugh, not only at them, but also at ourselves!