“Dopest Super Bowl Halftime Show Ever,” by C.L. Barish

Feb 8th, 2023 | By | Category: Fake Nonfiction, Prose

Based on the early internet buzz and euphoric media coverage, this year’s Super Bowl Halftime Show promised to be the most watched live entertainment event ever.

And when the first half of the football game finally ticked down to zero, thousands of fans in the seats were invited onto the field to have a front row seat to pop culture history.

Soon, the stadium went pitch black. The silence, in its vast emptiness, filled all those watching with an eager, almost maniacal, yearning. Something huge was coming, everyone knew. And it would be brought to them by PEPSI® the choice of the new generation, a brand that always had its finger on the pulse of youth culture.

The stage abruptly lit up to reveal it:

A classical string quartet, outfitted in Baroque costume.

When the rowdy audience caught their first glimpse of the dual violinists, the cellist, and the elderly soprano vocalist seated beside them, they erupted in a rapturous cheer. And, when the classical string quartet opened with a soft lullaby, equal parts somber and sleepy, the crowd went into a delirious frenzy. Social media chatter was instantaneous and electrifying. Next, the quartet outdid themselves with a soft etude that was somehow even more subdued than the last.

Fans flooded to their social media feeds and frantically typed in their ecstatic commentary: “That Cello solo was 🔥🔥🔥!!!!!”

There were, however, a few negative controversies swirling in the internet ether. Some of the viewers blasted the string quartet for playing too much Bach and not enough Handel. There was also one of those unscripted Super Bowl halftime mishaps: A hair on the violinist’s bow became frayed and the whole world witnessed it live. Sometimes, as Super Bowl historians know all too well, those impromptu moments become more memorable than the game itself.

After one final classical movement, the string quartet was ushered off the stage by its handlers to a raucous crowd that was demanding an encore. But with so much edgy entertainment yet to come, there was no time for that.

Within seconds, a flood of orange light illuminated a one-hundred-foot tortilla chip that was positioned in front of the stage, teasing the universe with of what could be behind it.  Using state of the art stage effects, the chip split apart with a crunch sound that reverberated throughout the stadium. Part two of the Super Bowl Halftime Act had begun, brought to us by DORITOS®

On stage now was a frail man lying in an antique wooden bed. He had a yellow, sickly pallor and was about the age of thirty. He held a book close to his face. The cover of the novel told the Super Bowl fans just who the author was, a can’t miss favorite of Gen Z:


The roar of the crowd was deafening.

With a microphone attached to his pajama shirt, the sickly man uttered the strength to slowly read one of the opening sentences from Proust’s Swann’s Way. To tease the exuberant fans, he read it first in French, which brought so many screams, and to such decibels, that the domed stadium began to quake.

Knowing he had the fans eating out of his hands, the Proust reader then translated it into English. A 599-word sentence that many fans, particularly the TikTok generation, knew by heart already:

But I had seen first one and then another of the rooms in which I had slept during my life, and in the end I would revisit them all in the long course of my waking dream: rooms in winter, where on going to bed I would at once bury my head in a nest, built up out of the most diverse materials, the corner of my pillow, the top of my blankets, a piece of a shawl, the edge of my bed, and a copy of an evening paper, all of which things I would contrive, with the infinite patience of birds building their nests…”

When the reader finished his second eleven minute reading, the audience chanted, “Proust! Proust! Proust! Proust!”

The DORITOS® marketing team, knowing full well that the audience would be begging for more Proust, had already prepared a clever promotion that challenged Super Bowl fans to go online and compose their own 599-word Proustian sentence incorporating DORITOS®, for a chance to win Twisted Southwest Ranch™ DORITOS® for life! The brand was flooded with so many entries that the home page crashed in under fifteen minutes.

But onstage, this orgy of the arts, this celebration of youth culture, continued on. Within seconds, the stage was masterfully transformed into a Flemish museum gallery. Placed on the walls were paintings of flowers by 17th century still life artist, Cornelis de Heem, known for his Dutch Golden Age style. BUD LIGHT® was proud to present it.

Clamoring for a closer look, the audience began climbing and fighting to get onstage. Guards, hoping not to resort to violence, were given no choice but to set off smoke bombs. This only caused more heightened rioting. Pandemonium ensued, and the art showing was forced to end prematurely.

At the same time, viewers at home were inundated with messaging to pick up a limited-edition BUD LIGHT® can with some of these same flower images printed on it. The branding gurus of this iconic beer powerhouse were well aware of the clout that a name like de Heem would bring to their rural American customer base.

Over the mega-watt speakers of the stadium, the PA announcer pleaded with the crowd to remain calm. “Please return to your seats in an orderly fashion. The Halftime show has concluded.”

Security arrested the unruliest of the fans, and the players finally made it back onto the gridiron.

The third quarter was about to begin…


Bent on destroying society through consumerism, C.L. Barish is an advertising copywriter who is proud of his initials. He is perhaps best known for naming the Gordita.

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