It's T.J. Miller vs. Wedgehead for Super Bowl 50 glory.
The Silicon Valley star and the Mohawk-sporting orange wedge that stars on the Shock Top beer label are both making their Super Bowl ad debut this year, and they've set the bar pretty high for themselves, promising no less than "the greatest Super Bowl commercial of all time" in a teaser clip released earlier this week.
"I think it's a little presumptuous," Miller acknowledged, deadpan, in an interview with E! News. But the comedian, fresh from hosting the Critics' Choice Awards and about to embark on an onslaught of press for Deadpool, most definitely enjoyed the meeting of the minds that occurred when he was tapped to lend his increasingly ubiquitous presence to the brand's first-ever Super Bowl spot.
Admitting that he wasn't quite sure what to think when "a small boutique brewery" by the name of Anheuser-Busch first approached him about starring in a commercial, he told us he then realized they hadn't made a mistake once he realized he's be working with a talking beer tap head named Wedgehead that only he could see or hear. (Anheuser-Busch, again the exclusive beer advertiser for the Super Bowl, has purchased a whopping 3 1/2 minutes of advertising time for the Feb. 7 event, 30 seconds of which go to Shock Top.)
While some comedians' favorite subjects are more apparent, Miller considers himself "on the other side of the spectrum, where people are like, 'What is he doing? Is he acerbic? Is he really a nihilist?'
"Shock Top made a bold move by saying, 'This is a fairly irreverent a--hole,'" he cracked, quickly apologizing for the profanity and substituting something equally hilarious and more profane. "I thought it was a strong move by them and I can trust a brand that says, 'Go for it, do your thing—because they're spelling 'thing' T-H-A-N-G. Do your 'thang.' So when I got that email I felt, 'Well, they're going to be pretty open to it being a little bit strange.'"
Well, if you consider Miller matching wits with Wedgehead in a bar at all strange.
Miller noted to E! that, while he gets a nice amount of Twitter love from fans, the criticisms he does see tend to be of the "I don't get it" variety. And the puppet enthusiast who voices the alien-monster host on the headed-to-HBO series The Gorburger Show agrees that he's not for everyone—but that fazed exactly no one involved in the making of this commercial.
"Shock Top is all about living life unfiltered, embracing real talk and experiences without pretensions or labels, an attitude we think comes across loud and clear in our big game spot," says Shock Top Vice President Jake Kirsch.
Miller told us, "You just have to work within the parameters of a Super Bowl commercial," and that includes appealing to people all over the country who happen to be tuning in for what will inevitably be the most-watched TV broadcast of the year. "It's got to be funny and quirky and bizarre, a little irreverent [check, check, check and...check], and make sure the brand has a sense of humor about it."
But back to that promise of the best Super Bowl spot ever. "I do think it captured the spirit of Shock Top," Miller concluded, "kind of like, 'We're a great beer, get with the program. Why are you drinking the competitors when you know we're the most delicious thing?'"
And that, friends, is why Anheuser-Busch may be the real Super Bowl winner, year after year.
Check out the extended cut of the Shock Top spot, "Unfiltered Talk," right here, starring "unemployed Civil War general" T.J. Miller, "citrus snowboard instructor" Wedgehead and your new favorite beer: