Rescuing us all from a post-Olympics malaise, American Ninja Warrior returned on Monday night with its Philadelphia city finals. Now in its eighth season, ANW has provided us with plenty of wow-worthy moments, such as Kacy Catanzaro’s first female completion of a city finals course and Isaac Caldiero’s million-dollar scramble through all four stages of the season finale Mount Midoriyama. But even these awesome feats of athletic excellence can’t cover its dad-joke commentary.
Hosts Matt Iseman and former NFLer Akbar Gbaja-Biamila routinely assault the ears with cringe-worthy overdubs, and Philadelphia was no exception. Here are the worst stinkers. (All videos are cued up to the terribleness.)
In Philly, Lebreck became the third woman this season to earn her spot in the Las Vegas finals and the first rookie to do so. It was a praise-worthy accomplishment, so Gbaja-Biamila gushed, “That girl is a Lebreck house. She is a Lebreck house.” Because Lebreck’s last name kind of sounds like “brick,” and the Commodores ogled women working out in the ‘70s.
Moravsky, a weatherman by trade, nearly became the only man to complete the city’s finals course. Iseman, who must have spent the night ruminating about this, settled on, “The forecast for success continues.” The commentary’s forecast was stupid with a chance of corny.
Britten made history last season by becoming the first man to ever complete the American Ninja Warrior finals course. This year, he cruised through his city final until slipping off the penultimate obstacle. Awful—but also ponderous—was Gbaja-Biamila’s remark, “Ooh, sha na na, he made that look easy.”
While Lebreck manipulated an obstacle called “Rolling Thunder,” which involved rolling a giant wheel while hanging from it, Gbaja-Biamila pointed out to television viewers that, “The revolution will be televised!” thereby combining both TV and spinning into one painful—but efficient—joke.
ANW’s hosts could not get enough of weather jokes during Moravsky’s run, but Gbaja-Biamila threw some variety in with a weird birthing joke. “Your wife, Stephanie, delivered [daughter] Emily, and now you’ve gotta deliver this one,” he said. Moravsky either could not match his spouse’s miracle of life or was felled by this terrible form of encouragement.
Beird, a fifth-grade teacher by trade, also had to endure work-related jokes from hosts. The worst: “Let’s see if the teacher remembers how to handle this obstacle,” said Iseman. Beird would fall on the fifth obstacle, and I cannot rule out that this horrible joke isn’t to blame.
Again Iseman, who could not get enough of the teacher jokes: “Well, look at her going. Show-and-tell time,” despite the fact that fifth graders are definitely working on math.
There is an annually appearing obstacle called the “Salmon Ladder.”It does not involved water, but a salmon is a fish. Moravsky was “swimming upstream” while engaging the obstacle, according to Gbaja-Biamila. This joke stinks.
While Iseman and Gbajabiamila had moments of awfulness with each competitor, no one seemed to get it worse than shaper-of-young-minds Beird. “It’s not recess time yet. No time to play now,” said Gbaja-Biamila. His microphone should be expelled.
“Matt, that’s my homegirl right there,” said Gbaja-Biamila. Then he said it again. And, in case you didn’t hear the first two, he said it one more time.