Let’s face it: Many TV watchers hate commercials. Largely due to the interruption of viewing, plenty of people view them as nothing more than a nuisance to tune out, turn off, or mute. (Some even switch to a paid streaming service to escape them.)
But, we must admit that, over the years, some commercials have captured our hearts and the national zeitgeist, whether for their humor or meaningful message, including the Budweiser frogs, Apple’s ominous 1984 ad, and Wendy’s iconic “Where’s the Beef?” spot. Some people even watch the Super Bowl just for the ads.
Companies spend millions trying to strike that perfect balance, so consumers notice, like, and remember an advertisement (and its message) long after it’s ended. And Progressive Insurance — known for the perky, red-haired associate Flo — has viewers of a certain age laugh in self-deprecation with a new advertising character: Dr. Rick. You might even say he’s giving Flo a run for her money. So who’s the man behind the character? Keep on reading to find out.
The actor behind Dr. Rick has the perfect deadpan delivery
Bill Glass is the comedic actor behind Progressive’s Dr. Rick character. The basic premise of these commercials, which follow a mockumentary format, is that many new homeowners wind up turning into their parents once they buy a home — but they don’t have to.
In the first commercial, Dr. Rick, a mustachioed “parenta-life coach,” delivers his message with a perfectly deadpan expression: “I got into this because I was a sufferer. I turned into my dad. But I came back. And I’m here to help others come back.” He even introduces viewers to his “baby,” a book entitled Un-Becoming Your Parents. In subsequent ads, he goes on to teach a group of homeowners about opening a PDF, as well as how to avoid talking on speakerphone in a store, giving unsolicited advice to service workers, or gawking at wild hairdos in public.
You’re probably wondering where Glass built up the comedic chops to make these commercials so dryly hilarious. So without further ado, let’s take a look at his resume.
Bill Glass has been acting for more than 20 years
Actor Bill Glass kicked off his professional career with a bit role in CBS’ Becker in 1999, alongside Ted Danson, followed by small roles in The WB’s Roswell in 2000 and ABC’s Dharma & Greg a year later. Given the comedic nature of his work, it’s probably safe to say these roles were funny.
After appearing in some lesser-known series, shorts, and films for a few years, Glass joined the Emmy award-winning cast of FX’s Justified in 2010 for one episode, appearing alongside leading man Timothy Olyphant. Several more TV series followed — Battleground, Wedding Band, Legit, and Men at Work — and then he landed a role on a 2015 episode of another popular series, The Middle, starring Patricia Heaton and Neil Flynn. More one-episode stints on TV shows followed, most notably The League, an ensemble comedy series on FX with Nick Kroll and Mark Duplass, and the award-winning Fresh Off the Boat on ABC.
Glass doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon, as he finished filming the movie short Avalanche in 2019, which is directed by Heather Jack. We just hope that his TV and movie roles don’t get in the way of any more Dr. Rick commercials for Progressive — because we still don’t know how to open a PDF.
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