Thursday, November 13, 2008

A big tricked-out name tag

You know what’s magical? When an actor can do something in a TV commercial – some small little thing – that ends up ringing and resonating throughout the popular culture.

Like “Flo,” the Progressive Insurance sales clerk with the “big tricked-out name tag.”

Love. That. Commercial.

If you Google the phrase “big tricked-out name tag,” you will see that it has captured the public’s fancy.

All because of the way the actress says it. A perfect little piece of comic timing is what it is.

I could tell right away she had improv training. Because I’ve been an improv groupie for 25 years, having spent many hours at the Second City in Chicago.

Sure enough, “Flo” is Stephanie Courtney, a member of L.A.’s Groundlings theater troupe.

You know who else used to be a Groundling? Will Ferrell. Phil Hartman. Lisa Kudrow. Jon Lovitz. Kathy Griffin.

So that’s where Stephanie Courtney is coming from.

Embedded below is the Progressive Insurance ad, in case you don’t know what the heck I’m talking about. Below that is 2½ minutes of Stephanie Courtney doing standup comedy... which, to be quite honest, is nothing special. Nothing special at all.

But that’s okay, Steph. They’ll never take away your big tricked-out name tag. That belongs to history!

19 comments:

Tarrou said...

She's done three or four of those commercials now and they've all been surprisingly entertaining, though the timing in this one is easily the most inspired.

I had no idea this was a meme. Makes me strangely happy.

Undercover Black Man said...

^ "A little insurance joke... Very little... There it goes!"

BlackRage said...

UBM! It's sooo funny that you posted this. Just last night I was watching that commercial (for about the 100th time) and was wondering "who is this chick and why do sometimes I find her attractive and sometimes a bit strange?". Very bizarre that you posted this about her.

S.O.L. said...

UBM, you are a big ol' sap. Not that that's a bad thing.

james said...

YO... what is wrong with ya'll? She is a pasty over makeup-ed actress.. I dint look at yer other links but that commercial bugs me to no end..
You could save enough on car insurance to either have a expensive pair of shoes or a tricked out name tag? A name tag? tricked out? 2 bucks and a bedazzler? The " tricked out " tag in question is crap anyway... No ice..no flava..
Progressive is an awful company so maybe I am biased, but when this add come on in my crib, i bring forth the mute button...

KeWayne said...

James,

Thank you. I was inspired by your comment.

Anonymous said...

My eight year old daughter even does the line, complete with the half-beat between 'tricked-out' and 'nametag'.

You aren't alone, UBM.

dedolons!

--bad dad

Undercover Black Man said...

^ Even the little kids get it. (Or the bright ones, anyway.) Thanks, bad dad.

Undercover Black Man said...

James, you are not alone in hating this commercial and this actress.

The comments on YouTube illustrate the dichotomy:

"i find flo attractive for some reason. well, now that i think about it, she's actually kinda hot"

"this commerical makes me fucking angry"

But it's the simple absurdity of the idea of spending $220 in insurance savings on a "big tricked-out name tag"... and the poetic power of that particular arrangement of words... and the actor's emotional commitment to the moment... it's a perfect storm of free entertainment.

bill said...

Surprise! Cracks me up every time. The Wife can't stand these ads, I Iove 'em.

The way she totally sells the character, doesn't surpirse me that she's an improv veteran.

james said...

UMB,
You are in the TV world looking out... You understand the nuances of the craft I am sure...I can respect that.
For ME, she and her ilk provoke me enough to spawn my inner Ogami Ittō.
It sickens me to think of the amount of takes it took to get her trite lines just so... Think of the pain of the crew forced into watching "The way she totally sells the character" ad nauseum. Take after take..(.I want to send them all some Shuebert....) Talk about P.T.S.D. for those poor bastards...
Moving on, several of you find her attractive...To me she looks like a burnt out roller derby chick...
I have been holding alot of "feelings inside" about her and am now done venting... Thank you for being there for me.. I needed this..

james said...

I meant UBM.. SORRY!

bill said...

Rage on, James. It's good to feel, means you're alive.

Undercover Black Man said...

I got more than I bargained for with this post.

Vince Spence said...

I think another comedienne should replace her and instead of "Flo", it will say "Sarah".

Then, Sarah can do the American Express commercial with Martin Scorcese and snap out her AMex card with Tina Fey on it...

Then, instead of James bringing 'forth the mute button', UBM can regurgitate some of his venom on Mrs. Palin again and again and again, ad nauseam...

Anonymous said...

I think she's absolutely gorgeous!

Anonymous said...

I want to see that "big, tricked out name tag" on my nightstand!

Anonymous said...

These commercials are very lame and unfunny.

The people who think they're funny are no doubt fans of the sitcom "Friends" because she acts just like Lisa Kudrow. Very lame and unfunny despite trying so hard to be clever.

Joe KImmell said...

I have known a couple of "Flos" in my lifetime....both great friends, fun to hang with, go out with, and absolutely Barracudas (in a very good way)behind closed doors!