Before the heyday of the Internet, many celebrities who wouldn’t ordinarily film commercials stateside opted to line their pockets with Japanese yen.
Their reasoning was pretty simple: no one in America was ever going to see a commercial on Japanese TV, so they wouldn’t lose their American street cred. They could just pocket their massive Japanese paycheck and return to the US to film their next blockbuster.
Oh, how the times have changed. Thanks to YouTube, anyone from anywhere in the world can laugh at ridiculous (and just plain weird) Japanese commercials starring some of the biggest movie stars in America. Here’s just a handful of some of the most embarrassing Japanese commercials starring members of the Hollywood Elite.
1. Brad Pitt for Edwin Jeans
I’m not sure what’s more embarrassing: the way Brad shakes his rump to earn a fistful of yen or Pitt’s condescending accent and tone?
2. Quentin Tarantino for…Some Sort of Dog iPod?
Okay Quentin, we get it. You love Japan. So do we. But come on, man. You look ridiculous.
3. Sylvester Stallone for…Ham in a Box
I had a hard time picking just one commercial featuring Sly. He’s done spots for deli meats, hot dogs, and all kinds of ham. This one is especially embarrassing because of the hair, the fashion, and Sly’s sign-off, where he tries desperately to reassert his masculinity.
4. Nic Cage for Pachinko
These are both equally weird in their own way. Does Nic Cage have a pachinko addiction or something?
5. Keanu Reeves for Suntory Reserve
Featuring Keanu doing what he does best: looking perplexed. Also, if you’ve drunk so much that you’re starting to hallucinate, maybe you ought to cut back a bit. Still, this is his best acting since Dracula.
6. Kevin Costner for Roots Coffee
Really, Kevin? Really?
7. Michael Jackson for Suzuki “Love” Scooter
There’s a joke to be made here about love. I’m sure of it.
8. Arnold Schwarzenegger for Alinamin V Energy Drink
Okay, this one isn’t embarrassing. It’s just plain terrifying.
9. Andy Warhol for TDK Video Tapes
I know he’s just naming colors, but there is something so deadpan about his delivery. It cracks me up.
10. Hulk Hogan for….is that an Air Conditioner? Is that What He’s Selling?
This one takes the cake.