Why is this commercial so wonderful?


It is a very specific culture that produces this auto insurance commercial, in which Dikembe Mutombo Mpolondo Mukamba Jean-Jacques Wamutombo, a man from Africa who played professional basketball in Houston, knocks various objects out of the air. It is an ultra-specific culture that finds it hilarious, as I do. Probably it is helped along by my predilection for slapstick. I submit that certain elements of it are pure art, though, such as the sequence in the grocery store aisle that begins at :16. Motumbo has to be standing so close to the kid to get that reverse shot, such that he becomes conspicuously absent from the shot preceding it. Your brain has to go backwards in time and add him in. It is a visual expression of the incongruity theory of humor—something that was itself technically impossible until about a hundred years ago—and it makes it.

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