Wayne Gretzky has endorsed numerous products, and thus has been in a lot of commercials during and after his NHL career. But many of the commercials were either footage of Gretzky playing hockey intercut with shots of products, or of him seriously explaining that whatever he was shilling was a good thing. Boring!
So, in honor of The Great One’s Birthday today, I came up with a list of the 10 funniest Wayne Gretzky commercials.
10. Bo Knows (1989)
Now, I know what you’re thinking: Bo Jackson is the star of this commercial, and Gretzky is just a bit player. That might be true, but really, Gretzky makes this commercial work so well. Originally, Gretzky was supposed to look at the camera and ask “Bo knows hockey?” but kept messing up the line, which was shortened to just “No.”
While his part in the commercial is not long, it is arguably the best part due to Gretzky’s deadpan delivery and the look of disbelief; the proverbial record scratch, underscored by the music stopping for a beat.
9. Domino’s Pizza (1994)
Bo may know baseball, football, tennis and hockey, but in 1994, Wayne Gretzky knew that the only great pizza is a fresh pizza. Watch Wayne glide across a cold sheet of ice to deliver a pipin’ hot pizza to some kid’s front door. I am now left with three questions:
1. Is Gretzky skating across some frozen wasteland to deliver a pizza?
2. How long would a pizza stay cold if delivered in a frozen wasteland?
3. Did the kid tip Gretzky for delivering a pizza in a frozen wasteland?
8. McDonald’s Gretzky vs. Sundin (1997)
Gretzky’s acting ability got much better by the time he played for the New York Rangers. Mats Sundin…well, just watch the video. Here, the two centers have a ridiculous puck shooting contest, where the loser has to treat the winner to lunch at McDonald’s. Lunch at McDonald’s? What, are these guys AHL players? Regardless, this commercial is much better than the food it is promoting.
7 & 6. Bud Light “Bubble Boys” (2000)
A year after Gretzky retired, he starred in a series of Bud Light commercials with the “Bubble Boys” — two little talking hockey players from a table hockey game (sometimes referred to as “bubble hockey”). Gretzky was named the commissioner of the “Bubble Boys Hockey League.”
Even better is one of the follow-up commercials, where Gretzky dreamed of what it would be like if he was a table hockey player.
“We can’t! We don’t go back there!”
5. NHL Slapshot for Wii (2010)
Gretzky endorsed a hockey video game in 2010 called NHL Slapshot for the Nintendo Wii. This commercial relies on physical humor, as Gretzky wreaks havoc on his living room while playing the game. (Gary Thorne’s play-by-play makes the commercial even better.)
4. Wayne Gretzky ’98 3D Hockey (1997)
Thirteen years prior, Gretzky endorsed a different hockey video game called Wayne Gretzky’s 3D Hockey. If you had a Nintendo 64, Wayne Gretzky 3D Hockey was one of the four games you needed to own (the other three being Super Mario 64, GoldenEye and Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire).Gretzky’s expressions in this commercial are priceless, as is his rant at the end about the game’s shoddy officiating.
3. Gretz and Mess Play Chess (1996)
The NHL’s slogan in the late 1990s was “The Coolest Game on Earth.” In this commercial, Gretzky keeps his cool — and Mark Messier does not — while the two engage in a game of chess. Unlike the previous commercial, where Gretzky’s over-the-top anger is funny, here he kills it with his subtlety.
2. Phoenix Coyotes Checking Line (2007)
Gretzky’s acting was even better by the late 2000s, when he was coach of the Phoenix Coyotes. In this commercial, he does a convincing job of acting alongside “Pierre,” an angry French-Canadian snowman puppet who wants to join the team.
1. Feelin’ 7-Up (1982)
Wow. Just…wow. This 7-Up commercial is hilarious because it is so bad, with the stilted dialog, bad puns and the horrible jingle. And when you compare it to the Coyotes commercial from 2007, it really shows how far The Great One has come along as an actor.
So, which of these commercials is your favorite — or do you find the funniest? Is there a commercial that you think should be on this list? Leave a comment and let me know. ■
Follow Sal Barry on Twitter @PuckJunk.