Jimmy Fallon and John Cena hit the gym in their star-studded Super Bowl commercial for Michelob Ultra
“It’s a lot of laughing,” Fallon, 45, tells PEOPLE while seated next to the hulking 16-time WWE world champion at a Los Angeles hotel. “There’s good chemistry between us, so it’s always a ton of fun.”
“I think the one thing we appreciate about each other is, we both have a great passion for our work, and we both have a great perspective,” adds Cena, 42. “He has an energy about him that if you have a bad day around this guy, something’s wrong. Something’s just wrong.”
This chemistry has been apparent whenever Cena has visited Rockefeller Center as a guest on Fallon’s The Tonight Show, and from performing skits such as “Ew!” and “Box of Lies,” the two always produce comedy gold. But now the duo is crossing something major off their personal bucket lists — their very own Super Bowl ad for the low-calorie beer, Michelob Ultra.
“It’s just major,” Fallon says with the boyish enthusiasm that has become a trademark. “I’m so psyched!”
“I’m super grateful, dude,” Cena says while smiling back at his co-star. “Come on, it’s awesome!”
In their 60 second advertisement, Cena is tasked with showing Fallon how to lift weights and enjoy exercise without giving up life’s pleasurable things. Namely, drinking beer.
“I walk into a bar and that’s my church,” Fallon jokes about his love for pints.
But Cena isn’t alone in trying to convince Fallon of the benefits of fitness — he also gets help from former Olympian Usain Bolt, golfer Brooks Koepka, volleyball player Kerri Walsh Jennings, and The Roots.
The heart of the ad, though, falls right in line with something Cena believes many people misunderstand about incorporating exercise into their lives — that they can work out and enjoy social activities, like hanging with friends at a bar, without feeling guilty.
“Fitness should be fun, it should be something you love,” he says. “It betters the quality of your life and extends your life and you can do it and still be a normal person. You don’t have to be this dedicated robot that eats, sleeps and breathes life in the gym.”
Though Fallon isn’t the biggest fan of fitness — the idea for the commercial actually began with an Instagram post in which he complained about working out — he still recognizes its importance.
“I’m a dad of two kids and you’re up early every morning, and then you have the job and you have to a lot to balance,” Fallon says.
According to the Department of Health and Human Services, less than five percent of adults participate in 30 minutes of physical activity each day. When it comes to aerobic and muscle-strengthening standards, more than 80 percent of adults fail to meet those guidelines.
For Cena, fitness presented not only a path toward stardom in wrestling and movies, but also a way to protect himself from bullies in grade school.
“I am literally a page out of an old comic book,” says Cena, who holds the record for the most Make-a-Wish requests granted by one person. “I was a skinny kid who got beat up for the way I looked and I started to work out as a form of self-defense because I was tired of getting in fights. I started working out at age 12 and by the time I was 15, I didn’t get picked on anymore.”
Fallon, he says, also went through similar experiences as a child and used comedy as his outlet.
“I got picked on when I was a kid too, bullied like everyone does,” he says. “I think maybe that’s where I got comedy from. I think you’ve got to have a sense of humor about everything, make everything fun as much as you can and just try to have the best time, whatever it is. Even if you got to go build an Ikea desk, you’ve got to make it fun.”
For Fallon and Cena, “fun” is an ingredient they can’t do without, and through their ad, they hope to show others they can find it in things they may not expect.
“The ethos of the commercial is find something you like and make it enjoyable,” Cena says. “I think people think of fitness and they think of this unattainable goal of how they look and feel now, compared to how they project themselves to look and feel in the future.”
“Do something you like and never give up,” he adds. “You’ll get to wherever you want to go, I promise.”