Carrying the Torch for Comedy

In case you haven’t been paying attention for the last 16 years, NBC has had broadcast rights to the Olympics (excluding the ’94 and ’94 Winter Games). Cross-promotion is in full effect even in years when there are no Olympics (I’m guessing those are the Olympic rings permanently affixed to the NBC on-air bug).

But during the games, it’s a bit different. Usually, NBC will pick one show (most of the time, a comedy), and run commercials that are actually, not annoying. To wit, the following promo has been running this summer where Michael Scott says what everyone thinks about beach volleyball:

It looks like there are only a handful of The Office Olympic promos, which is a shame, because The Office creative staff can do some pretty funny stuff.

The best set of Olympic promos came out in ’92, when NBC enlisted the cast of Seinfeld to…um, carry the torch.

They’re not on YouTube, but transcripts are available on Usenet (remember that, kiddies). Here are some of the highlights:

Jerry sitting by his computer in his apartment.
Jerry: Do you know the correct pronunciation of Barcelona is actually
       Barthelona?  That’s because, many years ago, the King of Spain
       spoke with a lisp and the members of the court, trying to curry
       favor with the King, adopted his unusual speech pattern.  Absolutely
       true.  Just a piece of Olympic trivia for you.  I’m Jerry Theinfeld.  

Jerry interviewing a gymnast, with the Olympic rings and the NBC logo
in the background.

Jerry:  I’m here with 8 year old Kathy Kwan, star of the gymnastic
        team.  You must be looking forward to the games, Kathy.
Kathy:  Yes, those games are very special to me.  As I will retire
        when they’re over.
Jerry:  Retire?  You’re kidding.
Kathy:  I’m not 6 anymore.  Besides you have to give those
        youngsters a chance to make their mark.  
Jerry:  What are your plans for the future?
Kathy:  I like to spend more time with my parents and watch them
        grow up.

Jerry and George in the Cafe.  
Jerry:     Pass the cream, George.
The guy with the torch runs comes in.
George:    Hey, look.
Torch Guy: Hi, maybe you can help me, I’m lost.  Do either of you know
           the way to Barcelona from here?
Jerry:     Well, I’d take the West Side Highway to the Cross Bronx.
George:    Hold, Hold.  What are you nuts, at this time of the day.  Listen
           to me.  Take the FDR to the Major Deagan.
Jerry:     What are you talking about, the FDR is under construction.
George:    He’s running.

For a script of all the Seinfeld Olympic Promos, visit this page from the archive.

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