Late last week, comic Mo Rocca was dispatched to Florida to capture the true essence of the Super Bowl experience. As a lead-up to the big game, the former Daily Show correspondent will be delivering nightly segments to NBC's The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. TVGuide.com spoke with Mocca immediately after his arrival in the Sunshine State.
TVGuide.com: So today was your travel day?
Mo Rocca: Yeah. I just got into Gainesville at the University of Florida, which is very exciting. I figured I'd begin with the BCS champions and then work my way up to the NFL championship.
TVGuide.com: What sort of stories are you looking for amongst all the Super Bowl hoopla?
Rocca: Well, to me what's most interesting is the conflict between bears and colts. One is ursine; the other is equine. I don't know that we've ever seen a horse take on a bear before. Now, conventional wisdom is that a bear can take a horse....
TVGuide.com: Especially when it's a youthful horse.
Rocca: Exactly. Remember, though, it's a colt, not a gelding, so I don't think it's a foregone conclusion. A colt is a scrappy kind of horse. More colts than fillies have won the Kentucky Derby. Also, you may know that a Colt .45 is a very serious, roughhouse beer. It's not like Miller Lite could be named after a colt.
TVGuide.com: I'm sure that'll be a big factor. Since you're doing segments for The Tonight Show, does that mean NBC hooks you up tickets?
Rocca: No, they're actually running me out of town on Saturday.
TVGuide.com: That's too bad. Super Bowl tickets are currently going for about $3,000 to $5,000 on eBay.
Rocca: No, believe me, after-hours I'm going to do whatever I can to earn the money so that I can get my way into the game and stay in Miami. Don't be surprised if you see me working Collins Avenue. I'm kidding.... No, I'd actually want to be selling myself on Ocean Drive. That's where the big money is.
TVGuide.com: Both the Colts and the Bears are from the Midwest, the heartland, the Bible Belt. How do you think that will affect Prince's costuming for the halftime show?
Rocca: I expect his performance to be ethanol-themed. Forget beer, I expect the fans to actually be throwing back ethanol. Seriously, though, I think Prince will remain true to his roots, while also making a nod to the Midwest. Expect a straw hat and assless chaps.
TVGuide.com: A Chicago judge is going to let Bears defensive lineman Tank Johnson play in the game despite his recent arrest for weapons possession. What kind of message does that send?
Rocca: Clearly, Chicago hasn't changed much since the 1968 Democratic National Convention. It's still a lawless town. We'll have to call the defensive line "the Chicago Five."
TVGuide.com: Peyton Manning is currently signed to countless endorsement deals. What is the likelihood that a Super Bowl victory would ensure that his exposure would reach an almost oppressive level?
Rocca: Let's just say this: If the Colts lose, if the Colts are sent to the slaughterhouse, so to speak, Peyton Manning's most fitting endorsement might be for Elmer's glue. I just came up with that.
TVGuide.com: I don't get it.
Rocca: They make glue out of dead horses.
TVGuide.com: I don't think they do that anymore.
Rocca: You're ruining the joke.
TVGuide.com: Sorry. Anyway, are you looking forward to the commercials?
Rocca: Actually, I just heard that the K-Fed ad has been pulled. Apparently, he plays a restaurant worker in the ad and a restaurant union was upset at the suggestion that a restaurant worker would be a step down from being Britney's bitch.
TVGuide.com: So what's your prediction for the outcome of the game?
Rocca: I believe that the Colts will emerge victorious. I believe it'll be like the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse raining down on the Bears. And I say that because I met Peyton Manning once, and he was really nice to me.
TVGuide.com: Finally, is the Super Bowl really about football anymore, or is it just a pageant?
Rocca: I think it's partly that. I know as many people who TiVo the broadcast for the ads as for the game. I think it's a great civic institution. It's something more Americans do together than anything else. It's both a national holiday and even an international holiday. But it's truly American, in that it's about winners and losers. It's about pageantry. It's about celebration, and it's about selling stuff. But Super Bowl advertisers beware — in certain parts of the world where the game is broadcast, like Papua New Guinea, I believe they're still on the barter system, so they'll only be able to buy your Doritos with coconuts.
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