Has Bill Simmons Really Had Amazon Prime Since 1977? (Joke Explained)

In a number of ad reads on his popular podcast, Bill Simmons says he had had Amazon Prime since 1977. It’s clearly a joke since Amazon Prime was first introduced in 2005 and Amazon itself was founded in 1994. So what’s the point of this joke?

Having heard this ad read dozens of times, and having thought way too much about it, here are our thoughts on why the ad says what it says.

It’s A Joke

Clearly Bill Simmons is exaggerating here as he certainly did not have Amazon Prime 28 years before it was invented and over two decades before the commercial internet was available. But that’s the joke? Why is this even funny?

Earlier in the podcast Bill says that, as a child, he looked forward to being funny enough to be a person who told jokes and made his family laugh around the holidays. Perhaps this daddy joke is simply one of those jokes. Sure, it’s not funny, but most dad jokes aren’t funny and Bill himself seems pretty amused.

It’s Probably An Exaggeration

In the ad read Simmons makes it clear that he’s an Amazon Prime subscriber — it’s where he buys his podcast equipment, like this Zoom recorders — which leads us to believe that he’s been a subscriber for a long time. In this understanding of the advertisement, Simmons feels like he’s been a Prime member so long that he practically feels like he first got it in 1977. It would be like him saying he’s had Prime “since forever” or some other exaggeration.

It’s An Advertising Tactic

Simmons is a master of his medium, so maybe there is something deeper going on here. If there is, what it might be is that Simmons assumes you are zoning out during the advertisement. With this understanding, what better way to get your attention back to the commercial than for him to say something crazy? It would have been too bothersome for him to make a loud noise to get your attention, but if he says something zany that makes your brain go, “What? 1977?” then you are paying attention to his commercial and his podcast is that much more valuable to his sponsors (in this case Amazon.com).

He’s Phoning It In

You might say Simmons was applying some next-level thinking to the ad in a gambit to get your attention, but the opposite could be true as well: he could barely care about what he’s saying because it’s just a boring Amazon Prime ad and he could be saying whatever just to get to the end of the advertisement. Reading ads that will enrich Simmon’s corporate parent (Spotify) can’t be the most exciting part of his job, especially after he already made his millions when selling The Ringer in 2020 for about $200mm.

But Why 1977?

Even if the year mention was simply an exaggeration, saying “1977” seems oddly specific. Is this some sort of inside joke?

We spend some time researching Bill Simmons, The Bill Simmons Podcast (aka the BS Show), and the year 1977 and we didn’t come up conclusive with anything linking any of the about to the year 1977. For the record, Simmons was born in 1969, so this wasn’t him making an obvious reference to his birth year.

If you have any ideas why 1977 might be the year he mentioned please send us an email!