One of the best TV ads I’ve seen in a long time comes to us from Direct TV in a recent piece featuring a parody of a Russian oligarch. The :30 spot, produced by Grey Advertising Group, has officially gone viral on the web and in my head - exploding into innumerable views on Youtube and elsewhere.
(Actor Tim Murphy was actually kissing a metal stand)
Recently disembarked from the International Space Station? Here’s the spot:
With much of the Tube-consuming public addicted to the ad, the language-mangling Russian character’s opening line in the scene, “Opulence, I has it,” is rapidly penetrating our lexicon.
As an obsession, the more I watch, the more I want, so my only problem with the Direct TV commercial is there’s an absolute dearth of intel on the piece’s behind-the-scenes.
(Actor Murphy appeared at MTV VMAs in character as, “Gregor Chigal“)
I want to know every detail behind how that mini-giraffe came about, who the actor behind the Russian character is, and the scoop on the photo of the blue-shirted soccer players flanked by a man resembling an authentic oligarch, Roman Abramovich. (Incurably sick. I am.)
Thankfully, I was able to get in touch with the two-person creative team from which the entire production germinated: Jon Kallus and Luis Romero.
Jon and Lu were kind enough to submit to my series of queries about their stunning work. Read more…
The Manny Ramirez Traveling Salvation Show hit a snag last night in New York, thanks to an umpire with a hair trigger. Well, it’s hard to call anything about John Hirschbeck’sfifth-inning ejection of Ramirez “hair trigger,” since it took roughly 15 minutes seconds from when Hirschbeck rung Ramirez up on a called third strike to when he tossed Ramirez from the game for throwing his helmet, bat, elbow guard, cleats, socks and jock strap into the air in disgust.
Manny didn’t seem to think it was that big of a deal, since “I was playing only five innings, so I was leaving anyway.” Which came as news to Dodgers manager Joe Torre. Not that it mattered much - with Ramirez going 2 for 4 with three RBI and Clayton Kershaw throwing six shutout innings, the Dodgers cruised to an 8-0 win over the Mets. But it did give Los Angeles residents driven nutty by the Michael Jackson Circus a chance to remember the other, ridiculously overblown media circus in town.
If you are a college football fan who hates the current BCS system, you had reason to celebrate yesterday as Sen. Orrin Hatch ordered up a can of whoop-ass with a side of hash on the football elite during a congressional hearing about the college football playoff system, and the Senate cafeteria was all out of hash. Specifically, he said that “the Justice Department ought to be looking at this” because he believes the system violates antitrust laws.
(Play the BCS off, Keyboard Hatch.)
Which is great, until you realize that Hatch was the only member of the subcommittee on antitrust, competition policy and consumer rights to actually attend any significant portion of the hearing. But there were plenty of junior staffers there, fresh out of college and probably the only people outside of Hatch and Barack Obama who care about college football in Washington D.C.
Also, you have to understand that Hatch is from Utah, where the majority of the state is still steaming about the undefeated Utes being left out of the BCS Title Game last season, so there’s certainly an element of “playing it up for the home constituants” going on here. So you basically had Hatch grilling the President of Nebraska University, who was acting on behalf of the BCS Backers, which is kind of sad when you realize that Nebraska is roughly one zillion percent less likely to play in a BCS Title Game in our lifetimes than Utah.
Meanwhile, you might remember a small link we had yesterday about U.S. National Soccer Team midfielder Michael Bradley being suspended following a red card and subsequent confrontation with a referee at the end of the team’s shocking 2-0 win over Spain in the Confederations Cup. And it turns out that he will be suspended for three games, although it’s perhaps the weakest three-game suspension in sports history.
Ever get mad when a pitcher receives a five-game suspension for his part in a brawl, which only means that his next start gets pushed back one game? This one is even worse. FIFA has suspended Bradley for three games, all right - three games that he was never going to play in. The suspension will be served during the group play stage of the CONCACAF Gold Cup, which is convenient for Bradley since he’s not on the roster for the tournament.
Which means that Bradley will be available for the U.S. next game that matters, a World Cup qualifying match at Mexico on August 12. Somewhere in Mexico City, a Mexican senator is preparing a special committee hearing.
DEUCE OF DAVENPORT knows that the only thing better than Erik Estradadrunkenly butchering “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” during a Cubs game is him giving an interview in the booth during the game that somehow works in child porn and Ron Jeremy. A master class in awkwardness in two parts: First the singing…
…and then the interview:
Lance Armstrong has moved to within a second of the yellow jersey after his Astana team cleaned up during a team stage during the Tour de France. Which I’m sure no one in America cares about, but it has to be irritating the French more than a canceled Jerry Lewis movie marathon, and that’s always a good thing.
When playing for Russian side CSKA three years ago, Yuri Zhirkov didn’t take the advice of Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich to learn English. Which is a problem, since Abramovich signed Zhirkov to a a huge deal on Monday, and the winger will have to deal with struggling to communicate with his teammates.
When GM Joe Dumars fired Michael Curry as head coach of the Detroit Pistons, he claimed that the team needed a more experienced hand at the helm. Which makes it curious why he eventually decided to give Cavaliers assistant John Kuesterhis first crack at an NBA head coaching job. Couldn’t have anything to do with both Doug Collins and Avery Johnson bailing from the gig? But Kuester has been a head coach at Boston…University, which is close to the Celtics, right?
Another depressing sign of the economic times: the NBA salary cap will decrease next year for only the second time in 26 years. The cap number next year is $57.7 million, down almost one million dollars from last year. So when Dwayne Wade lashes out at the Miami Heat for failing to land a big free agent again, they have a ready-made excuse.
Reports are circulating that Mike Krzyzewski is going to be coming back to coach Team USA at the 2010 World Championships and the 2012 Summer Olympics. Because as he showed in Beijing, he clearly could handle coaching with limited talent.
In case you were wondering if there was any bad blood between Brock Lesnar and Frank Mir ahead of their heavyweight title unification rematch, CAGEWRITER answers with a resounding “yep” after watching the two trade barbs during the “Countdown to UFC 100″ on SPIKE. Also, Lesnar thinks the referee of the first match is an idiot, and really, really hates doors.
Meanwhile, if you were curious, UFC fighter Quinton “Rampage” Jackson is still insane. He’s not crashing an SUV with his name and picture on it after a wild car chase this time, but SPORTS RUBBISH says he is dry humping unsuspecting reporters during interviews.
Interesting news about “aspiring rapper” Keith Norfleet, the ex-boyfriend of Sahel Kazemi. Not only was he the person who picked her up after she was popped for a DUI in Steve McNair’s car, but he also emailed a local newspaper the following: “Pretty interesting news about our golden boy McNair…You would be pretty amazed at the fact of who he was actually with, which I really don’t think his wife would like it too much either.”
Roman Abramovich, one of the world’s richest private citizens and owner of London’s Chelsea Football Club (not to mention a handful of other sporting organizations) is typically portrayed as a shrewd business investor who dumps money into Chelsea to help him pass his time. Everyone knows he got his money from selling his post-Soviet oil empire — Sibneft oil — to Russian state-owned Gazprom for a whopping $13 billion. What few know, however, is how close he would be to bankruptcy or, worse yet, jail for failing to cooperate with a psuedo-authoritarian state if he hadn’t sold when he did.
(The advantage of selling at the right time: Landing this woman)
It’s a shocking revelation considering the fact that Abramovich single-handedly changed the face of the world’s richest sports league, the English Premier League. By dumping hundreds of millions of dollars into the Chicago Cubs of the EPL, Abramovich turned Chelsea into a household name, and set the stage for other oligarchical investors — Sheik Mansour at Manchester City, before all others — to snap up soccer teams before they got even more expensive. It’s now clear that getting Chelsea when he did is a credit to former Prime Minister Vladimir Putin as it is to Abramovich himself.
The MIAMI HERALD counts up news that the holder of the NBA’s Heat has been ranked the wealthiest owner in the U.S. and 3rd-wealthiest in the world, according to a new list released by Forbes.Arison also runs Carnival Cruise Lines, which helps put his total net wealth at $5.8 billion. The only ones with more in the bank are a couple of soccer team securers - Chelsea controller Roman Abramovich ($18.7 billion) and AC Milan maestro Silvio Berlusconi ($11.8 billion).
On the heels of Arison, the sporty rich list also includes:
• William Davidson (Detroit Pistons, Tampa Bay Lightning - $4.5 billion)
• Charles Dolan (New York Knicks, New York Rangers - $3.2 billion)
• Carl Pohlad (Minnesota Twins - $3.1 billion)
• Mark Cuban (Dallas Mavericks - $2.6 billion)• Wayne Huizenga (Miami Dolphins - $2.5 billion)
• Malcolm Glazer (Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Manchester United - $2.5 billion)
Keep those figures in mind the next time you get ready to pony up $2,000 for a personal seat license.
Despite her innocent visage, before she started shacking up with soccer club owner (who is twice her age, not that there is anything wrong with that), Daria had already been put through the jet-set ringer by Russian tennis star Marat Safin.
I’d also like to personally thank Safin for giving me reason to pop out the old, trusty “Marat Safin Girlfriend” photo. Which has probably given two billion internet users the same feeling that Abramovich’s ex-wife is experiencing at the moment.