John Malkovich teases AFC Championship with powerfully funny cold open from CBS

The Super Bowl always features some of the best commercials, but a teaser for the AFC Championship for CBS featuring actor John Malkovich may just top a lot of the upcoming creative for the big game.

The cold open, which ran over four minutes before the New England Patriots took on the Jacksonville Jaguars, starred Malkovich reading a script for a teaser for the game in a symphony hall.

In the short, he reviews the over-the-top copy and calls his agent, complaining in serious comic fashion that the script is “utterly overwrought” in his pointed diction. The spot then bounces back between him rehearsing the script and complaining to the agent about the ridiculousness of the open.

He finally walks on stage and confronts the director of the spot, who stands in front of a symphony orchestra. He tells the director that there are phrases in the script that he frankly thinks people would never say, like “the furtive genius of Foxborough.” He also wonders why the shoot needed a full orchestra, to which the director says they had the budget for it and “it’s not my money.” Then the orchestra starts playing.

As the music swells, Malkovich states that the crew is overcomplicating things and says: “This is one of the simplest, oldest stories there is…the story of David versus Goliath.” Malkovich, who always seems like he could explode into a tornado of soliloquy at any minute, does so as he describes how Jacksonville is the underdog against the behemoth of New England over a rumbling of orchestral music. He also comically stops the music to tell them to cut in with NFL footage.

The teaser was conceived by CBS Sports creative director Pete Radovich and was shot just days before the game at the New England Conservatory with musicians overseen by famed conductor, Helmut VonLichten.

CBS promoted the teaser on its social media channels, including Twitter and Facebook.

Join us, it's free.

Become a member to get access to:

  • Exclusive Content
  • Daily and specialised newsletters
  • Research and analysis

Join us, it’s free.

Want to read this article and others just like it? All you need to do is become a member of The Drum. Basic membership is quick, free and you will be able to receive daily news updates.