All of us know how talented Blake Griffin is on the basketball court. He has thrown off the "all he does is dunk" label with gusto, and he will likely remain in conversation for Most Valuable Player for the second season in a row. However, Griffin is more than just a great basketball player. In some ways, he is a modern Renaissance man, as he has been honing his comedy chops since joining the league in 2009. This man is seriously funny.
It is no surprise that, considering his work ethic, Griffin has worked hard over the years to build up his comedy brand. Griffin is known for having a dry sense of humor. He is not over-the-top with his gags (looking at you,). Rather, he is much more restrained and has sharp instincts. He seems to inherently understand that sometimes less is more.
Quintessential Griffin deadpan humor is evident in this interview from August 2009 with Peter Mehlman (a Seinfeld writer) for The Narrow World of Sports:
At the time of this interview, Griffin had not yet played a single NBA game, but his humor was on point during most of the interview. He kept a straight face almost the whole way through the conversation, but he did burst out in laughter on a couple of occasions. However, he was certainly able to go toe-to-toe with Mehlman, which is no small feat. Superficially, the fact that they conducted the interview on exercise balls is funny in and of itself. It adds a touch of whimsy to the interview. Also, one of the funniest parts of the interview is when Mehlman (clearly joking), asked Griffin, who is biracial, "Were you ever at all worried that, you know, the white part of you would hold you back?" Griffin responded, "Sometimes. At night when I'd go to bed, I would cry myself to sleep. Because it's like, you know, why? Why did I have to be half white? Why couldn't I just be guaranteed to be in the NBA?" A less funny individual than Griffin could not have fired back with such a witty response. Was this part of the interview somewhat uncomfortable? Maybe. Was it totally funny? Definitely.
Griffin went to comedy school as a Funny or Die intern during the summer of the 2011 lockout, which came after his breakout rookie season. He took part in this video poking fun of the idea of this athlete as a fish-out-of-water intern:
Endorsement deals have also played a large role in allowing Griffin to display his comedic abilities. Griffin famously jumped over a Kia during the 2011 dunk contest, and he has long been associated with the car company. He has participated in several funny adverts to promote the brand. The 2012-2013 Kia campaign was particularly memorable (no offense to the 2013-2014 "Griffin Force" campaign, but it was essentially the commercial version of The Dark Knight Rises - highly anticipated but ultimately unable to live up to it's predecessor). The commercials from that season featured a time-traveling Griffin imparting sage advice to younger versions of himself. The best ones were those in which he poked fun at his perceived weaknesses:
In this commercial, Griffin uses his trusty Kia to visit a six-year old Griffin (kudos to whoever cast that child actor). He tells the youngster, "Work on your free throws [clangs free throw]...a lot." The gag, of course, is that Griffin has had his struggles at the charity stripe. How many stars would allow a weakness to be spotlighted in a national commercial? Not many.
In this next commercial, Griffin, firmly tongue-in-cheek, pokes fun at the "all he does is dunk" critique:
Having him ride that animatronic pony off into the metaphorical sunset is a perfect ending to that very clever commercial. Although he did not likely write these commercials, Griffin completely sells the dialogue and drives home the irony. That takes talent.
Before the official start of the 2014-2015 season, Griffin had already given us several moments of comedic gold. To promote Vizio, Griffin participated in a series of "Slam Dunk Poetry" commercials. In these commercials, Griffin would recite slam poetry about the most inane basketball-related items (mouthguards, tearaway pants, bobbleheads). Here is the "tearaway pants" installment:
Griffin also took his show on the road to bring his slam poetry to The Laugh Factory:
These adverts are flat out funny. Griffin's deadpan delivery perfectly sells the mood and adds to the ridiculousness of the poetry. In addition, these videos are also comedic due to the fish-out-of-water element (burly athlete at a poetry read), which seems to be a common theme in Griffin's commercials.
Recently, Griffin and his teammatetook part in a Jimmy Kimmel sketch with of the and of the to help promote the most recent adaptation of a Nicholas Sparks novel, The Best of Me:
Who doesn't get a kick out of seeing these macho athletes sipping chardonnay and talking about romance novels? The cherry on top is Blake slowly eating the strawberry in reaction to Barnes' outburst towards the skeptical Parsons. That is the definition of comedic timing.
Finally, Griffin and Chris Paul, both part of Jordan Brand, have teamed up for BGCP3 TV in HD, a limited comedy series. Jordan Brand announced this venture on October 20, 2014. These episodes are a clever and creative way for them to promote their signature sneakers, the Jordan Super.Fly 3 and the Jordan CP3.VIII. Paul is funny as well, and their comedic styles, while different, are certainly complementary. Here is the first episode:
Griffin and Paul are likely the funniest dynamic duo in the NBA. Both are fortunate to play in Los Angeles, as it has certainly helped them to showcase their comedic talents.
Griffin's comedic chops have grown each season, and he seems to truly have a passion for making people laugh. It is endearing. However, if the previous four seasons are any indication, Griffin will be stone cold serious when it counts...on the court.