posted by dpm on 02/06/2012
If you were one of the 117 million American’s that tuned into to watch the Super Bowl last night, you probably raised an eyebrow about four minutes into the half-time show. It all started out normal enough. You know, just your standard Roman Gladiator parade towing in a golden-winged chariot harboring Queen Madonna. The sex symbol emerges, robed in a golden cape, which she quickly drops to reveal thigh-high black boots and a skin-tight full-sleeve unitard/skirt combo. Hopes of a wardrobe malfunction are immediately cast aside and we settled in to watch Madonna get her Vogue on.
But then, just as you were about to partake in one of the estimated 1.4 billion Super Bowl piss breaks, Madonna marches towards the screen and the camera draws back to reveal Sketchy Andy balanced down low on a slackline. Andy’s eyes light up a bit when Madonna KISSES HIS CHEEK and then he proceeds to bounce up and down performing what, for him, is a simple display of slackline acrobatics. The thirty second spot draws noticeably louder cheers from the audience and ends with a massive backflip dismount. Madonna gives him a shot to the heart with her sexy finger gun and Andy falls to the floor and into the dirtbag history books.
Madonna is about to make out with the side of Andy's face. He looks psyched.
It’s not remarkable that climbers got a kick out of seeing this. It’s funny that some dirtbag climber that sets up slacklines in the desert made it into the Superbowl Half-Time show. But what was really interesting was the audience response. They loved it! When the show was over, some American’s were left wondering, “Who is that guy?” I’m always amused by the average American’s first impression of ‘fringe’ sports like slacklining but this quote from Slate.com really summed it up:
Among the many odd moments in Madonna's epic, Roman Empire-themed halftime performance at this year's Super Bowl, perhaps the oddest came when the Voguing queen walked up next to what appeared to be a makeshift limbo pole or maybe a low-lying tightrope and watched a man who looked like he maybe could have been Will Ferrell or possibly a younger and svelter Richard Simmons (someone, in any case, with a lot of hair) bounce up and down as though that little rope was a trampoline. Oh, and he was wearing a toga.
Then she tried to look up Andy's skirt.
Yes, toga-clad Andy was referred to as a Will Ferrel/svelter Richard Simmons look-alike. Most of us were introduced to Andy Lewis in this past year’s Reel Rock Film Tour which featured a short focused on how he earned the nickname “Sketchy Andy.” Viewers were usually left with a near-sickening feeling that’s reflected in the comment field of many online videos that showcase his exploits; “I can’t believe he’s still alive.” His carefree manner, shaggy head, and ballsy attitude, however, leave most viewers cheering despite their genuine concern. Free solo highlining, near death base jumps, world records, and consistent slackline competition wins have put Andy in the biggest spotlight of the year. For a brief 30 seconds over 100 million spectators saw him and…slacklining. It doesn’t get much more ‘mainstream’ than the Superbowl Half-Time show so this may be a high point for the sport if you can even refer to is that. Then again, it turns out that Andy is going on the road with Madonna for over 100 more performances. Now that sounds sketchy…
Click the image for a highlight reel of Andy just being himself...sketchy.