06/30/13 — Local furniture store staff hits funny commercial list

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Local furniture store staff hits funny commercial list

By Josh Ellerbrock
Published in News on June 30, 2013 1:50 AM

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Bobby Denning, his wife, Annie Sue, and Judith Jones recall what it was like to film the commercial that will be in a top 20 funny commercial countdown on TruTV.


When the phone in the office of Bobby Denning Furniture rang with someone claiming to be from "Hollywood," Donna Gainey figured it was someone trying to sell something.

"I didn't answer. I thought they were advertising," Mrs. Gainey said.

The person's claim, however, was correct.

A commercial for Bobby Denning Furniture produced in 2009 by Internet duo Rhett and Link had drawn Internet views due to its quirky representation of the Mount Olive furniture and appliance store. And now, the commercial's blooper reel will play on national television as part of Nash Entertainment's series of "Top 20" shows on TruTV. The first showing will be at 9 p.m. Thursday, July 11.

Rhett and Link host one of the top Youtube channels with more than a million subscribers. Their satirical dry depictions of local commercials draw hundreds of thousands a viewers per video.

In 2009, they comedic duo connected with Bobby Denning Furniture through Microbilt, the company that checks credit reports for Bobby Denning Furniture.

During Rhett and Link's visit to Mount Olive, their strange humor didn't exactly make perfect sense to the Denning family's down-to-earth Southern sensibilities.

"They were very nice to work with, but it took a few minutes to figure them out," said Annie Sue Denning, the wife of business owner Bobby Denning.

"We were all dumbfounded," Denning employee Judith Jones said. "We looked at some of their stuff on the Youtube, but we didn't realize how far out they were."

Rhett and Link's day on the Bobby Denning set, however, was relatively tame. The two young men showed up with a bunch of filming equipment and spent the day filming inside and outside while using a number of props from the store.

"There was a lot of clowning around. They took a section then took a photo. There was a lot of fooling," Mrs. Jones said.

The final cut shows Rhett and Link eliminating "high prices" with some products from the store. For example, a gourd with "high prices" marked on it with a sharpie was weed-eated, and a box similarly marked was crushed by a sofa. Interspersed throughout the commercial are store employees delivering lines.

In one scene, Paula Edwards shouts with arms spread, "If it can be sold legally, we sell it."

Annie Sue and Mrs. Jones have a short scene that ends with both of them yelling, "We got scooters!"

The blooper reel that will be shown on TruTV features some of the outtakes that didn't make the final commercial.

The "We got scooters!" scene took a number of tries before Mrs. Jones and Annie Sue were able to nail their lines.

"What I think caught the producer's eye was Annie Sue," Bobby Denning said.

Annie Sue especially had some trouble pronouncing "DWI" before she walked off scene.

"I quit. I can't even think today. My mind is not with my body," Annie Sue said on the video.

The two videos, the blooper reel and the commercial proper, soon had people calling the store to see if the place was actually real. One group of vacationers from Vermont even stopped at the furniture store on their way to Florida to meet some of the Bobby Denning employees in person.

"Even my son saw it. He didn't want to say it was his mother," Mrs. Jones said.

"We didn't think we'd get anything out of it again," Bobby Denning said. "Since I started the business, I never thought something like this would happen."

The employees at Bobby Denning Furniture have had commercial fame before, but it was on a more local base.

A series of commercials that ran for a few years on cable showed employees yelling "Where's Bobby?" while searching for the business owner. Those video shorts had customers shouting the tag line while in the store.

It seems the age-old question has finally been answered.

"'What's Bobby doing now? Where's Bobby?' He's in Hollywood. It's really comical," Bobby Denning said.