One of my best friends growing up (who happened to be one of the weirdest—yet smartest—guys I’ve ever come across) had this one saying I always wanted to argue with, but never found the loophole for:
“There is no such thing as bad music, only music you don’t like.”
Being the contrarian I am, I immediately thought “that’s wrong.” My brain jumped to the obvious targets: Justin Bieber (nope, 91.9 million Twitter followers), Beyonce (practically an entire gender, so I guess not), and Kenny G (Grammy Awards, and 95% of dentists cannot be wrong). Heck, even Skrillex and Gwar have had massive followings. This is to say, no matter what your opinion on something entirely subjective, there is bound to be a person that believes you are wrong, and guess what… they are right.
These notions are flying through my head today because Alex Reimer, the third voice on WEEI’s morning show “Kirk & Callahan,” decided to take a shot at New England’s favorite (and largest) frat brother, Rob Gronkowski.
Gronkowski, who is a spokesperson for Monster Energy drinks (talk about a combination made in meathead heaven), was at the Daytona 500 this weekend and was there as a pseudo sideline reporter. The Patriots uber talented tight end spent his pre-race time interviewing people (read: the Monster Energy girls) and having a blast, as Gronkowski is want to do.
In one of these interviews he tried to tee up one of his ubiquitous “69” jokes;
“Hey Ashley, what’s your favorite speed limit out there? I hope it’s somewhere around 70 or something,” the burly bruiser posited, barely restraining an ear-to-ear grin. This, my dear readers, in the journalism world, is called a leading question.
Ashley, oblivious to the baseball sitting on the tee, took a massive swing and missed, much to Gronkowski’s sadness, “I am hardcore. I like to go as fast as possible,” was Ashley’s response. Welp, there is always a next time.
I have no problem with the interaction. I love NASCAR (hat tip to Dover Speedway), I love Rob Gronkowski (Go Pats), and heck, I do not even hate when my leading questions go in directions I was not expecting (interviewing high school athletes). What I do have a problem with though is when people decide to tell me when something is good or when something is bad. I’m a fully formed adult (at least physically speaking, there is still debate on the maturity side). I can make up my own mind about the things I like and the things I do not like without somebody’s input.
Alex Reimer does not like Gronkowski. Or, to be more precise, Reimer does not like Gronkowski’s schtick. That is fine. It really is. Again, we are discussing humor, an inherently subjectively subject.
The problem begins when Reimer decides to turn it into an objective analysis, “But now, after years of ’69’ jokes, the act seems fabricated. Gronk has jumped the shark.” Reimer goes on to (correctly) assert that Gronk’s act has “an apparent savviness” to it, pointing out his line of party limos and his Gronk Cruise and how much money those endeavors have made the 27 year-old All-Pro.
Where Reimer’s take “jumps the shark,” is when he goes “there’s nothing harmful about Gronkowski’s schtick. But that doesn’t make it entertaining.” Okey dokey, let’s pull that emergency brake.
There’s roughly 120 million men in America. A quarter of the entire American population (men and women) is under the age of 21. Yes, “69” jokes are in now way the great bastion of intellectual humor, but there is a large swath of Americans that still cannot help themselves when somebody makes a “69” joke. People still laugh at “yo momma” jokes and even more people are incapable of stifling a giggle at “that’s what she said.”
Just because something does not strike your funny bone, does not necessarily mean the guy next to you is sitting there stone-faced. He brings his own sense of humor to the situation and could very well be guffawing and fighting for air because he thought it was hilarious. Humor is subjective and not everybody can succeed even when given the same material and a fantastic situation (just take a look at “The Daily Shows with Jon Stewart” vs. “The Daily Show with Trevor Noah” if you do not believe me).
Agreed. The “69” joke is stupid, played-out, and massively immature. Yet, people (especially the younger generation that NASCAR is desperately trying to bring in) still laugh at it. This is a marketing ploy by Monster Energy and NASCAR to bring in Gronkowski who IS KNOWN FOR ACTING LIKE A CHILD AND HYSTERICALLY LAUGHING AT ANY UTTERANCE OF “69.”
Monster Energy knew exactly what they were doing when they tapped “the Gronk” as a pit-lane interviewer (Edward R. Murrow he is not). They wanted the inane, the stupid, the utterly immature, and Gronk delivered on that promise.
The interview was immediately picked up by every social media outlet with a sense of humor and played hundreds of thousands of times. Do you think Monster Energy is upset about the added publicity? Do you think NASCAR is embarrassed about a younger generation seeing their product for the first time, displaying their ability to laugh at themselves? I’m going with a big fat nope.
This was a perfect storm for Monster Energy and NASCAR. This was the first season that Monster Energy is the title sponsor for NASCAR’s Cup Series. So, knowing they needed to make a big splahsh, they brought in the big guns of Rob Gronkowski for their most important race of the season and he Gronk Spiked his appearance.
Sure Alex, you do not find “69” jokes funny and did not laugh. That is on you. If you have something against a savvy 27 year-old who is enjoying his life to the fullest and has reportedly not spend a single dollar of his contract money because sponsors and Americans like him so much, there is no help for you and to be more direct, you are not the target audience for his schtick. But I have even worse news for you; Gronk, and his schtick, are not going anywhere.
While Alex might not be laughing, I can tell you who definitely is eliciting more than a few chuckles today: NASCAR, Monster Energy, and your big white dopey whale Rob Gronkowski. They were all laughing in the immediate aftermath of the Daytona 500 as Kurt Busch, who is sponsored by Monster Energy, took the checkered flag. The sponsored car winning the first and most important race of the sponsor’s first season? THAT is a barrel of laughs for all involved.
(courtesy of NESN)