Buster Keaton Meets Jimmy Johns

I almost fell off the couch today, just like when I saw the Spongebob cartoon whose punchline was “Nosferatu!” several years ago. There’s a new TV spot airing now that recreates or repurposes the Buster Keaton house-fall gag, and it’s done quite well.

You always hope or assume that people in their 20s and 30s who make comedy films will have some knowledge of silent comedy films and be influenced by them. But it’s rare to find actual evidence of this happening. Especially when it comes to visual and physical comedy. Which makes “Fake House”, a new spot for sandwich chain Jimmy Johns, all the more remarkable.

Jimmy Johns Adam & Dave Buster Keaton
frame grab from the Jimmy Johns TV spot “Fake House” from August 2019, directed by Adam & Dave. Sourced from the commercial’s posting on iSpot.tv

Made by the (Canadian) comedy director team of Adam Brodie and Dave Derewlany, a/k/a Adam & Dave, “Fake House” culminates in a redux of the Buster Keaton house fall we’ve seen him do in Back Stage, One Week and in Steamboat Bill, Jr. It’s done in one piece, so you can see the gag — even if green screen and CGI were used to pull this off. I don’t know if it was, but I’d imagine there are too many legal and insurance reasons to stage this the way Keaton did it.

I’ve found the “Fake House” commercial on iSpot TV’s website, and embed it here for your enjoyment.

Here’s to Geico or Progressive doing a commercial where the gecko or Flo are chased down a steep hill by an avalanche of CGI boulders.

You can see more of Adam & Dave’s TV spots on their Vimeo channel, or visit their website.

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Mike SchlesingerBen Modeldj darnall Recent comment authors
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dj darnall
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dj darnall

My silent film crush is Buster Keaton (though Conrad Veidt and Ivan Mosjoukine are close runners up). So, like many folks, I appreciate anything Keaton-related. And then you tie in SpongeBob and Nosferatu? LMAO! This cute Jimmy Johns commercial is a great example of ‘Buster did it first’. Definitely CGI; the delivery person ‘crashes through’ a closed, multi-paned window. Thanks for this. Made my day.

Mike Schlesinger
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Mike Schlesinger

And of course Jackie Chan did it in PROJECT A PART II…except he didn’t have a window!