Ah, booze and the boob tube; there hasn?t been a partnership this profitable since Barnum and Bailey started dragging wild animals kicking and hissing from their habitats. And while most of us probably can?t remember our first legal taste of an alcoholic beverage, we certainly remember our first intrepid sips from Dad?s room-temperature can of Bud when he wasn?t looking, our first ?Tom?s brother said he?ll buy us a six-pack for $20!? party in high school, and, of course, our favorite beer commercials from our childhood.
While cigarette manufacturers often got the shit end of the stick for marketing their lung-defiling product at the youth of America, the breweries of this great nation somehow bypassed scrutiny, for the most part. Spuds McKenzie was criticized for his kid appeal, but everyone from Bob Eucker to Billy Dee Williams has proven that drinking booze sure is a hell of a lot of fun. At least it is on television, the Land of Fully Stocked Fridges and No Hangovers. Since commercial spots for alcohol can be as far-fetched as Pabst Blue Ribbon being marketed as the choice refreshment for upper-class fairway frequenters (It?s true! You?ll see below?), here are the 10 most hilarious booze ads of all time.
10) Elvira & Coors Light
This one may seem like a cop-out since the Mistress of the Dark has always basked in the ridiculousness of her goofy-sexy appeal. And it?s not even this spot?s ingenious expansion of the ?Monster Mash? concept by having a bunch of grotesque freaks throw a beach party or its horrible zingers that merit its inclusion here?no, it?s just ?cuz of that friggin? bear. Why the hell is there a bear at ?Maliboo Beach?? We don?t care, but watching him dance in those last five seconds is funny as shit. If Coors Light can get a bear that fucked up, imagine what it can do for the rest of us!
9) Yakov Smirnoff & Miller Lite
And the award for most handsomely paid extras goes to ? seriously, these guys are nowhere NEAR drunk enough (or good enough actors) to convince us that whatever bar ?80s cast-off comic Yakov Smirnoff is hanging out in is the place to be. Watch closely how they all migrate to him when he starts in on his routine?and how his ?America has unopened mail!? line is a killer. Also, we take umbrage with the fact that Miller thought they could pass Smirnoff off as a ?famous Russian comedian.? Even by 1985 this douche already had one foot in a Branson, Mo. Theatre. Yak-yak-yak, don?t come back. Unless you?re buyin?.
8) Fred Williamson & King Cobra
Blaxploitation badass Fred Williamson was in a weird place in the ?80s?his glory days as Black Caesar and Mean Johnny Barrows were far behind him, and he?d yet to resurrected as a cult icon by Robert Rodriguez?s From Dusk Till Dawn. So what?s a former defensive back to do but shill for this snake-themed spirit that tasted more like motor oil than malt liquor. Three things working against ?The Hammer? here?too much neon, he?s missing his trademark cigar, and he?s not punching out a giant king cobra that?s trying to slither off with his can. And that chick who warbles ?Don?t let the smooth taste fool ya!? ain?t doing him any favors. Next time, Fred, do a better job picking your poison.
7) Orson Welles & Paul Masson
We?ve all seen the viral clip of poor (literally), drunken Orson Welles trying his best to film a Paul Masson champagne commercial while being hopelessly wasted. Oddly enough, a commercial that Welles didn?t inebriate his way through is just as wildly entertaining. ?I like to CAST a party much like I cast a play with very special people,? he hurriedly informs us at the outset. Really? ?Cuz people aren?t exactly getting to? up from the flo? up back there, old bean. And listen to the way he intones ?Old Paul Masson himself said it nearly a century ago?? That sound you hear, dear friends, is that of a genius who?s had the sudden realization that he?ll probably spend the remainder of his career voicing giant robot planets who tear off their own legs.
6) Carlton Draught
If we were actually giving away awards for these spots, this little-known Australian beer (seriously, they drink something other than Foster?s down under?) would walk away with both the ?Best Original Song? and ?Holy fuck, what in the holy hell is going on here?? trophies. Yes, it seems the Aussies like to knock back a smooth C.D. after they heard a bunch of cows off a boat and nearly drown them in the ocean. And apparently you may as well not drink a Carlton unless you spill half the damn thing on your chin. That?s the way real men do it, kids. Foam on your face equals tough as nails! Fun fact: Sydney-born Hugh Jackman plans to emulate this ocean cowboy by drooling a Draught all over himself in X-Men Origins: Wolverine. And by fact, we mean completely true and not made up for your amusement.
5) James Coburn & Schlitz Light
Somewhere between when he was making acclaimed Sam Peckinpah films and chastising all those ?little Billy bastards? in Young Guns II, James Coburn served as the pitchman for Schlitz?s healthy alternative. There is simply nothing not to love about this ad. It?s all gold?Coburn, fully decked out as a cowboy, waltzing into a seedy bar on the docks (who cares why he?s there?); his cool-as-shit, heavily synthed entrance music; that bartender with the most unbelievable red toupee the eyes of man could ever behold; that hilarious Captain-lookin? dude who looks like he?s waiting for Tennille to get off work; and spurs. If Shipwreck and Polly can been killing time in there, we would?ve had the greatest G.I. Joe episode of all time.
4) 1950s golfers & Pabst Blue Ribbon
This incredibly long-ass commercial (see it here) is actually more like a mini-movie; there?s a storyline (dudes who are kicking ass on the golf course watch their dames happily drinking away; c?mon, ?Seinfeld? episodes have gotten away with less), original music (though rhyming ?hear? with ?here? is kinda lame) and even some cut-rate animation! (The bottle cap turns into a golf ball! How?d they DO that?!) And while it?s seemingly beyond the realm of possibility that Ol? Blue was ever a refreshment of such repute, these Socs straight outta The Outsiders really seem to dig it. If Tiger Woods had lugged a cooler of this stuff out onto the green during the latest Masters tournament, we would?ve walked away with a jacket.
3) Mickey Rooney & Rainier Beer
Forget banging Ava Gardner or lampooning himself on a classic ?Simpsons? episode ? this is Mickey Rooney?s greatest achievement. What I wouldn?t give for a time when dwarfish old men in safari gear dodging giant beer bottles with legs was considered a surefire money-making ad campaign. Rooney holding a beer glass and pleading with a big-game hunter, ?Now pop his cap!? before dejectedly screeching ?He?s gone!? after the lively libation escapes deserves its recognition in the beer, television and Rooney halls of fame. That?s right, all three. ?He was big, and cold, and mountain-fresh too, everything you?d want.? Truer words have never been spoken, Mr. Rooney. Any chance of that bottle making a cameo in Night at the Museum 2?
2) The Schlitz Battle of the Bands: The Marshall Tucker Band vs. .38 Special
This cacophony of classic-rock shilling is truly something to behold. First up, southern-rock ?luminaries? the Marshall Tucker Band (best known for their 1977 hit ?Heard It in a Love Song?) and .38 Special (best known for being fronted by the dead Lynyrd Skynyrd?s singer?s tinier brother?lookit that little guy!) duke it out over what?s better?a beer or ?the Bull.? Much like Mickey Rooney chasing giant bottles in the outback, the idea of a property-destroying bull being the symbol of a desirable brew is lost on us. Since when does chaos and destruction put somebody in the mood to make a run to the gas station?
1) The Schlitz Battle of the Bands: Tommy James & the Shondells vs. Average White Band
Proving you?re never too old to rock a pinball machine OR a member?s only jacket, Tommy James and a few random Shondells think this is their goddamn bar. Beer?s the best, suckers! Who?s gonna tell ?em any different? Oh, just the friggin? Average White Band, that?s who. With their smooth sounds and dominant facial hair, these?no lie?Scottish lads are backin? the Bull. But unintentional comedy arrives in the form of the AWB?s lone black guy, who pushes his way to the front of the lineup when they advance on the poor Shondells. Just like ?Crimson and Clover,? we can watch this over and over.
Compared to the other insane Battle of the Bands Schlitz ad, The Bull crashing through the arcade game earns the TKO, leaving Marshall Tucker and the boys to lick their wounds and drink themselves into a stupor. But the question remains?did bars ever actually serve this stuff? Can you imagine a bartender?s face after asking him if he has Schlitz Malt Liquor on tap? The ?bull? would most likely be followed by another word.
Robert Bricken is one of the original co-founders of the site formerly known as Topless Robot, and its first editor-in-chief, serving from 2008-12. He brought the site to prominence with “nerd news, humor and self-loathing” as its motto, raising it from total internet obscurity to a readership in the millions, with help from his savage “FAQ” movie reviews and Fan Fiction Fridays. Under his tenure Topless Robot was covered by Gawker, Wired, Defamer, New York magazine, ABC News, and others, and his articles have been praised by Roger Ebert, Avengers actor Clark Gregg, comedian and The Daily Show correspondent John Hodgman, the stars of Mystery Science Theater 3000 and Rifftrax, and others. He is currently the managing editor of io9.com. Despite decades as both an amateur and professional nerd, he continues to be completely unprepared for either the zombie apocalypse or the robot uprising.