Theatre 99 improv and sketch actor John Brennan has been on television before. But he's now got a shot at fronting for Super Bowl XLI on Feb. 4. And he's gonna need your help to do it.
Brennan's one of 12 national finalists in the NFL's Super Ad competition, which asked anyone, anywhere to pitch them an idea for an NFL commercial. He was one of thousands who put his funny where his mouth is last Nov. 16 and drove up to New York City. There, at Giants Stadium, he stood in line for hours with hundreds of other hopefuls before getting exactly 90 seconds with the three judges to make his pitch, which he calls 'Everybody's a Winner.' (View his pitch at www.nfl.com/superad through Jan. 7.)
"I'm kind of used to auditioning," says Brennan, who's landed spots on the WB's One Tree Hill and several local commercials, "and I'm used to improvising on stage at Theatre 99, so I was ready. But there were some nervous people there. In the line outside, you could tell people were thinking, 'This is my chance.'"
On Dec. 10, Brennan got a call from contest organizers that he was one of 12 finalists in the competition. The ultimate winner will be chosen through a combination of online votes and the subjective valuation of each of the judges. Like everyone else, Brennan will be judged on his presentation ("nailed it," he says), how the concept relates to the NFL, and, lastly, what kind of connection he made with the judges.
"I was bantering with them the whole time," he says. "And I know nobody there had my energy. I was bowing at the end of my audition, all the judges were grinning and going 'Yeah!', the PR lady was eating it up. I was like, 'Thank you, thank you....'"
Brennan's a regular fixture at Theatre 99, where he performs with improv teams The Sofa Kings and Big Dicktionary and sketch groups The Bottom Line and the Measled Knights. Anyone who's seen him perform live knows he's not kidding about his energy level. With an audience and a treadmill, the kid could power a small eastern European nation for a week.
If Brennan wins, he'll nab a pair of tickets to the big game in Miami as well as $500 worth of NFL merch. There's also the strong possibility that the NFL will produce his ad and air it during the Super Bowl. They'll make a decision on Jan. 7. In the meantime, Brennan's asking CP readers to go to www.nfl.com/superad, view his 90-second pitch, and vote for him. ("People can vote once a day, every day if they want.") The swag and game tickets would be nice, Brennan acknowledges. "But I'd like to get a job out of it, if I could." –Patrick Sharbaugh