These days, everyone knows Guy Fieri as the Mayor of Flavortown, the Dean of Donkey Sauce, the Father of Stolen Lambos. But who was he before that? Did he come out of the womb wearing chunky jewelry and a flame-covered bowling shirt, Oakleys dangling from the back of his neck? Most people know Guy won the second season of Food Network Star (that show loves a cheesy shtick more than Vince McMahon), but where was he before that?
Well, as Eater recently reminded us (the story has been around, but is going around again today) one early Fieri gig involved hawking mufflers. And not just any mufflers, but Flowmasters, the tequila-lime Kobe handrolls of aftermarket exhaust systems. The fact that it’s Guy Fieri selling them should clue you into the fact that Flowmasters aren’t the kind of mufflers for making your car less loud.
“Boy, these look like they’re Flowmasters — but they’re not. Don’t be fooled with these imitations. The quality’s not there. For extreme durability, maximum horsepower and torque, FLOWMASTER delivers true American-built performance.”
These commercials show what was always Guy Fieri’s central skill — being able to nail a line read. None of the sites covering this say when the commercial was filmed (Flowmaster uploaded it to their YouTube account in 2009), but Fieri supposedly opened Johnny Garlic’s in 1996, and debuted on the Food Network in 2006. And since Guy Fieri looks like he lives permanently in 1997, it’s a little hard to pin down a date.
Minus some sweatbands on his arms and a few pieces of bling, Fieri looks exactly the same here as he does now. It’s kind of amazing that his shtick works equally well hawking mufflers as it does cooking linguini. It’s like his persona is so over-the-top manufactured that it comes back around to being genuine. Who would style himself like Guy Fieri for 20 years unless he totally believed in it? Guy Fieri didn’t land on Flavortown, Flavortown landed on Guy Fieri. Or something.