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There’s nothing funny about Rob Gronkowski’s ’69’ jokes

02.27.17 at 4:05 pm ET
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Rob Gronkowski appears ready to embark on another wild summer. (Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports)

Rob Gronkowski appears ready to embark on another wild summer. (Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports)

Back when Rob Gronkowski was just beginning his NFL career, there was an endearing quality to his sophomoric sense of humor. He seemed to be genuinely juvenile, such as when he told a Spanish reporter “Yo soy fiesta” in response to a question about his post-AFC championship game party plans.

But now, after years of “69” jokes, the act seems fabricated. Gronk has jumped the shark.

The latest Gronkism came over the weekend, when he attended the Daytona 500 for Monster Energy, a sponsor of the NASCAR cup series. In an interview on Fox, Gronkowski tried his damnedest to get one of the Monster Energy Girls to say “69.” It didn’t work out.

“Hey Ashley, what’s your favorite speed limit out there?,” he asked. “I hope it’s somewhere around 70 or something.”

“I am hardcore. I like to go as fast as possible,” she responded, seemingly unaware of Gronkowski’s dimwitted obsession with “69” humor –– if there is such a thing.

There’s this notion that Gronkowski acts spontaneously, often blurting out the first thing that comes to his mind. But that doesn’t give him enough credit. There’s an apparent savviness to Gronkowski’s brand of inanity. At 27 years old, he’s crafted, and profited off, an amiable frat boy persona. Look no further than his line of party limos, which are supposed to bring the “the Gronk Bus experience to you in a Gronk’d up way.” Last year, roughly 800 people set sail on Gronk’s three-day party cruise, paying up to $1,100 for a balcony room.

There’s nothing harmful about Gronkowski’s schtick. But that doesn’t make it entertaining. Within the last couple of years, he’s taped No. 69 on the back of his practice jersey, worn a No. 69 jersey to a Super Bowl parade, almost keeled over in laughter after a reporter said “69” during an interview, and snickered at the podium when talking about his 69th career touchdown. Even Andrew Dice Clay’s routine had more variety.

The moment an act becomes brand-driven, it usually loses its luster. At the Daytona 500, Gronkowski was flanked by the Monster Energy Girls. Not so coincidently, the Gronk party buses are all stocked with Monster Energy drinks. Gronk’s latest “69” joke appears to be nothing more than sponsored content, designed to circulate around the blogosphere.

And that makes it lame. Very, very lame.

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