We’ve posted before about Peter Grosz’s other job as one of the “Sonic Guys”, but I couldn’t help chuckling a bit when I saw this article today in the Chicago Sun-Times:
The De Niros of the drive-through
Chicago’s Sonic Guys do their pitching from a car
December 29, 2007
BY MIKE THOMAS firstname.lastname@example.org
Chicago-trained improvisers Peter Grosz and T.J. Jagodowski have thriving careers in acting, writing and directing. But to much of America, they’re known simply as the Sonic Guys.
Since January 2002, they’ve starred in more than 100 ads for the Oklahoma-based Sonic drive-through fast-food chain, which currently has no outposts in the Chicago area (the closest are in Champaign and Kokomo, Ind.) but plans to open some here in the spring. Sonic operates 3,300 restaurants in 35 states and is growing rapidly.
Thanks in part, no doubt, to the Sonic Guys and their silly shilling.
The ads are pulled from improvisation the two dudes do while sitting in a car at a Sonic drive-through and riffing on a variety of topics, including whatever they’re supposed to be pushing. When dialogue reaches an especially goofy pinnacle, the shot is freeze-framed with an accompanying smacking sound and superimposed with large red lettering advertising the product of the moment.
It’s the stylized equivalent of yelling “Scene!” onstage during improv.
“I don’t think we’re famous,” says the formerly Chicago-based Grosz, 33, who now lives in New York and writes for Comedy Central’s “The Colbert Report” (although lately he’s been picketing instead during the ongoing writers strike.) “I think we get recognized. We’re fame-adjacent. We’re nipping around the edges of the famous pie. And then we get swatted away by some matronly grandmother.”
. . .
Congratulations on successfully breaking into the pop culture consciousness, Peter and T.J.!
For those of you wanting to kill some time on YouTube today, here’s a link to Grosz and Jagodowski handing out awards for some memorable “Sonic Guy” imitators. You might try tracking down the entrants that won the awards so you can decide for yourselves whether they were worthy of the honors. Have fun!