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You Can Count On It

As I listened to this week’s podcast, I was reminded of a conversation my friends and I had with Patton Oswalt, Brian Posehn, and Maria Bamford a few years ago in Detroit. The night before, The Comedians of Comedy were in Cleveland, OH, which happens to be where my friends and I are from. For some reason, it didn’t take long for the conversation to move into local TV ad territory.

Every city has their locally famous commercials. Cleveland has a doozie. If you know anyone who has spent time in NE Ohio, ask them about Norton Furniture’s Marc and his vocal chords. I bet they’ll do an impression of Marc. This night was no different. Everyone was having a hoot. Patton in particular was extremely tickled by the bizarre nature of these commercials. I have come to find that he actually worked Norton Furniture material into sets performed in Cleveland the years surrounding our conversation. I look back on that conversation as a neat comedy nerd moment to catalog in my brain.

The podcast reminded me of this. Naturally, I must share with all of you (if you have yet to see one) a wonderful advertisement for Norton Furniture. I encourage everyone to watch even more on YouTube.

Follow Matthew on Twitter. He means well.

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  1. tuffhippy says:

    For more cheesy/borderline scary local commercial goodness from northeast Ohio, try to find some of Tim Mizny”s “Make Them Pay!” commercials. It is an experience similar to cruising the meat market stalls at the West Side Market…you don’t really want to see, but you can’t look away…

  2. Hippodrome says:

    I love these commercials! The first time I saw one was at about 2 am…and I thought I was seeing things due to…um…chemicals. Each one is weirder than the next. Nice to see this guy getting some recognition for making the wee hours in Cleveland that much more interesting.

  3. Emilio says:

    I was at that Comedians of Comedy show. Patton came out dressed as the Norton Furniture guy and did like 20 minutes on him. One of the funniest things ever. Ill be going to Comic-con this year and hope to come to your live show. Cant wait.

  4. Chas says:

    Hahaha, I live near Cleveland and have been watching these commercials with semi-ironic interest for some time. Glad to see they are getting the viral attention that they deserve. Does Northeast Ohio have some sort of sour reaction in the US? I remember watching Attack of the Show and they were making fun of the Cuyahoga river (catching on fire) and saying no one from Ohio has G4 so it doesn’t matter. Well, here I am. Now bring the Chaotic Goodness to MEEEE!!!!

  5. Jim says:

    I remember some of this, but what I remember more as a kid growing up in Medina was Saturday afternoon’s after 43 finished the cartoons in the morning was turning to (I think it was 8) and watching BIG CHUCK and little john – still to this day when I get to Cleveland on the weekends and turn on the TV to see them I can’t help but laugh… and I was like 7-8 and I got maybe 40% of the jokes, but now that I’m older and I get them all it’s just cool…

    Mr. H – I think we need to look into some kind of preservation for Cleveland and Detroit local TV characters – there were just too many good ones and I’m afraid they will all be forgotton 🙁

  6. Angelo says:

    Have you ever seen this? Last summer pretty much every Cleveland celebrity got together to serenade LeBron into staying in Cleveland. Didn’t work, but it causes instant homesickness (and just general sickness because, seriously, so desperate):

    Otto Orf motherfuckers. Crunch for life.

    That said, proudest Cleveland-related thing I can claim is getting to see a Big Chuck and Little Jon show before they retired. Won a polka CD of them singing with Frank Yankovic. It doesn’t get more Parma than that.

    Also, Chris, if you’re reading this, I’m sorry about that shitty showing for your show at Case. As an alum, I have to admit most Case students are super-nerdy and borderline shut-ins. If it makes you feel any better, I saw The Roots, Jurassic Five, Ted Leo and the Pharmacists and Minus the Bear play to pretty small crowds. You’re in good company.

  7. @WonKa: Stumpy’s… geez, that’s intense. I worked in radio in that market (right up the road in Asbury) and I didn’t remember that one – must have been mostly after I was there. I love when the commercial singers try to rip it up and end up sounding like Michael Bolton’s cousin.

    After I moved across the state to 101.5, the one that was like having nails pounded into my forehead was Carkhuff’s Patio and Garden Center, a jingle direct from a production studio in Hell… We played it about once an hour.

    And ask Mr. Hardwick about Crazy Gideon…

  8. Wendy says:

    Marc scares me. So weird.

    The Ghoul came to my fiance’s grandmother’s funeral. Not, uh, dressed as The Ghoul. I was tickled to meet a Cleveland celebrity, as I’m from Pittsburgh and didn’t really grow up with the whole odd TV host thing that was popular here.

  9. Oh, no, I’m gonna be That Guy…

    The Ghoul was not Ghoulardi, but was a loosely sanctioned successor. When Ernie Anderson moved on to Hollywood and being the voice of ABC (“The Luuuuuuuuuv Boat!”), a production assistant named Ron Sweed asked him if he could take over the Ghoulardi character (who was huge in Cleveland – ask Drew Carey). Ernie gave his blessing, and Sweed changed the name to The Ghoul to avoid trouble with Channel 8, Ghoulardi’s channel. The Ghoul was on in Cleveland and Detroit for several years.

    Yeah, the old horror movie and kiddie show hosts and local TV commercial people are among my freakish obsessions. I control my impulse to write all about those things here, because most of you don’t remember when TV was like that. And because it makes me feel and look very, very old….

  10. gigdrummer says:

    Looks and sounds like Steven Seagal in about ten years after his movie career and law enforcement career have both gone down the shitter.


  11. WonKa says:

    If you grew up in New Jersey at the shore (pre those Jersey Shore fuck holes) you can do the Stumpy’s Yamaha jingle by heart.
    This is a newer one that I don’t like as much but it’s apparently the only one online which just seems wrong.

  12. Luanne says:

    I see this guy every am on tv when I’m getting ready for work. You have to get up really early, or stay up really late to see him… he’s like a rare flower that way. And if you can’t get credit there, you can’t get credit ANYWHERE. :0

  13. Jon says:

    To add to the above comment from DanS, if I’m not mistaken, The Ghoul you are referring to is former local late night host “Ghoulardi” who is the father of none other than director Paul Thomas Anderson, who cast Patton Oswalt in Magnolia. Full Circle!

  14. Ben says:

    I also live in the Cleveland area, but I have yet to spy one of these commercials. Maybe the wife and I need to watch more local channels and less cable to catch these. Oh man, that voice is just…wow…

  15. DanS says:

    The guy who pops out from under the couch is ‘The Ghoul’ a late night movie host. The frog on the couch was a character on his show. He would often abuse and blow up a small, rubber version of Froggy with firecrackers. As a teenager, I found this uproariously funny.

  16. Jon says:

    Haha! I live in Cleveland and have seen these bizarre commercials many times. They are amazingly strange. I love that some of my favorite comedians also saw them and got a kick out of it. Thanks for posting this!

  17. Shay says:

    Born and raised (and still live) in Cleveland. These commercials are a guaranteed laugh every time!