Who is the TD Ameritrade Beard Guy?

Some months ago I started spasming over what was a series of condescending and creepy ads put out by TD Ameritrade and their “green room”, which, in many ads, appears to be little more than a “beaver trap” for Mr. Beardy and the two cockroaches presumably living in his face rug. So I created a Mr. Beardy dartboard to relieve some of my tension and save the life of my wibbly-wobbly television set. Who knew this off-the-cuff rant and mental slip would turn into–by far–the most popular post I have ever written?

It turns out, people are really fascinated by Mr. Beardy. Some of the very colorful comments received on the aforementioned post have ranged from blinding rage to romantic enchantment (I presume, mostly, because of the proposed hypnotic qualities of the beard). Oh, and the occasional hostility toward people who are hostile to Mr. Beardy. Eh.

So who is he? Allow me to introduce the man who has people and cockroaches alike so worked up: The actor portraying the TD Ameritrade financial therapizer is Jim Conroy. He is mostly known for his animated voiceover work, but has also been spotted in a few other TV ads.

Screen Shot 2018-01-12 at 12.19.27 PMJim Conroy appears as “Frank” in an AT&T spot

Screen Shot 2018-01-12 at 12.46.42 PM.pngJim Conroy sniffs Tide detergent in an ad

The page of Jim’s career that has blown my mind the most, though, is his role as…..Ruff Ruffman!

RUFF RUFFMAN!!

Parents with kids age 8-13 probably know who I’m talking about. From 2006 to 2010, there was a charming animated PBS show called FETCH! With Ruff Ruffman. Watch a bit here for the craziness of recognizing our TD Ameritrade guy’s voice!

Crazy. I unknowingly have listened to our cockroach-bearded guy for hours upon hours. Who knew? 

This is an important lesson, though for the TD Ameritrade commercial viewers out there: Jim Conroy is an actor. He is not a financial advisor. His “trustworthiness” is not a reflection on the merits of TD Ameritrade (only their advertising department). And it turns out, I have a fair amount of respect for Jim Conroy and his previous work, as Ruff Ruffman was a pretty great character who brought my daughter a lot of happiness.

However, we all still have full permission to hate the TD Ameritrade financial therapizer character. Or find him sexy. Whatever your bag. I stand by my observations that the “green room” Mr. Beardy lures people to is nothing more than a serial killer’s den, and that the women are probably stuffed in a cellar that can be accessed by a trapdoor under the pool table. Probably with the help of “Bryan”, who is willing to do anything Mr. Beardy says, as long as he gets to stroke the beard and is never called “Brian” with an “I”.

More to the point, though, it still remains true, TD Ameritrade writers/dickfaces, that ladies don’t need your validation of how busy we are, or to have lazy analogies about golf swings dumped in front of us (although, I think our Mr. Beardy character may have gone a little rogue on that one just to get Golf Lady naked and tied up). The point is, these ads are still condescending and creepy. But the actor Jim Conroy might just be alright. Or not. Only his cockroaches truly know.


EDIT:

Since posting this, Jim Conroy has been kind enough to comment on this post. As you can read below, he is very gracious and has a much-appreciated sense of humor. I thought it was worth reiterating: I like the actor, Jim Conroy, and actually really, really admire some of his work. Ruff Ruffman, man. Ruff Ruffman. It’s only the character of the financial therapizer and sportsman (and suspected serial killer) who is awful. And this country’s weird pro-beard fetish we have going on. What’s up with that? Anyway, I’ve even found that the TD Ameritrade ads are getting more reasonable and tolerable. Maybe they hired some women?

Eh, or maybe I’m just losing my cranky edge and my heart is softening like gooey cream cheese. I actually waved hello at a neighbor today. Something’s off here. Maybe I need more vitamins. Or wine. Or vitamin-fortified wine and a fake beard to learn what it’s like.

In any event, Jim Conroy has my sincere thanks for being such a good sport and for being such a class act. Unlike myself. Until I get that fake beard and vita-wine going, I mean. Then I’ll be almost as classy as he is. But not quite.

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40 Comments on “Who is the TD Ameritrade Beard Guy?

  1. I have to say as the bearded guy hosting both Roaches (Basil and Hayden), your previous post was hilarious. I don’t know which comment was my favorite as it would be like choosing which roach I love more but you move away from the microphone and put your mug out there, you’re bound to see this stuff. Goes with the territory. Please tell your daughter I said hello, Fetcher!! The ole Ruffster lives on the web these days. Keep up the good work and sorry for the torture.

    Jim

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    • I am just going to go ahead and give full credence to the notion that this is the one and only Mr. Beardy Ruffman. If that is truly the case, then know sir, that I am humbled that you have such an excellent sense of humor and can take it all in stride! True, I am mildly afraid of your beard, but, if you have read through the many, many comments I have received, you might also note you have several adoring fans…including my daughter who “SQUEEEEEED” at the very notion that Ruff Ruffman said hello.

      Your character may be the stuff of slasher films, but damnit all, I respect your work all the same. Say hello to Basil and Hayden for us.

      Katie

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      • I grew this beard back in 2013 just to upset my wife, lol. I had zero intention of keeping it but I started to book on camera work with it and I haven’t been allowed to shave it off for 5 years. It’s not fun in the summer time I’ll tell ya that. This winter has been brutal so there has been some benefit but the upkeep is a pain. There’s more grey in it now and when we shoot these Ameritrade spots they color it. Getting old is fun! Your daughter is probaby too old now but I heard a rumor that a Ruff plushie is in the works. Always bothered me that they never went down the merchandise route. My kids wanted Ruffman toys.

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    • You sound a lot like Jeff Goldblum. I’ve looked up every time I hear the commercial

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    • I find the character annoying for quite different reasons — he’s just such pud. A doughy schmuck, but slightly smug. A smug, bearded schmuck pudwhacker.

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  2. That makes a lot of sense, actually–both that it drove your wife crazy (as a wife, I have banged my head against the table a few times over my husband’s facial hair ambitions), and that it gets you booked so much. The werewolf beard look is very in! Although, who am I to judge? I once dated a guy in college who had a goatee so long he braided it. He was an art major. Trench coat. Moody. [thoughts drift off distantly]. It was a phase.

    It’s too bad they don’t let you “salt and pepper”! Or at least do something fun, like bright orange. If they give you the option next time, I also highly recommend a nice handlebar mustache. Consult with your wife, but I bet she’d love the idea.

    Okay, now you have officially been so nice, that I feel a little bad about the dartboard, and pledge to alter it to remove the “Conroyishness” from it so that it just captures the ire of the mansplaining financial advisors. Challenge!

    Oh, and on the Ruffman end of things, Lily is ten, so she’s on that crazy cusp. Still loves the plushies and thinks Ruff is very retro awesome. (Now, don’t you and I feel old?) May have to keep an eye out for her birthday!

    PS – based on some of the amorous comments you’ve received on this site about your beard, apparently TD Ameritrade should also look into merchandising. Wow. That just opened up a vault of weird in my brain.

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    • Well if I hear anything about the plushie thing, I’ll definitely reach out.
      Keep up the funny posts. You have a great blog!

      Jim

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      • Jim:

        I have a CNBC addiction and recently entered a 12 Step program. TD Ameritrade ads are odd in that the Green Room is an ambiguous locale in an industry that demands algorithms, incessant statistics and facile precision. I also have a neurotic inability to emotionally separate characters from those who play the characters. You do a great job with the TD Ameritrade Beard Man but I find him pedestrian in ever peculiar way. What genius sequenced the All Night Long ads in which Lionel RICH-ee rings the bell and then can’t utter the chorus. Ugh. Best wishes; keep up the good work.

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  3. I noticed in Mr. Conroy’s online bio that he went to a SUNY school (doesn’t say which one).
    I took my son to visit SUNY Binghamton last year and the alum that they talk the most about on the tours is the woman who plays Flo on the Progressive commercials. It all begins to make sense……

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I happen to love those commercials and like Jim Conroy. I think he is very good as the TD Amertrafe spokesman and I look forward to each new commercial.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I find these ads to be sickening and wish they would come to an end!! The character he portrays is utterly creepy! Is he trying to seduce the females in those ads? Bad role model. Why would anyone then be inspired to buy your product? I put your ads on mute! Writers for ameritrade have psychological issues that scream out in these ads. Awful!

    Liked by 2 people

    • What is wrong with you? How on Earth do you get the message that he might be trying to seduce women? I’m betting that if a man opens the door for you you think he might be wanting to sexually violate you?

      Give me a break…

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      • Oh, Kevin. So, so many things are wrong with me. I don’t know if you want to unlock all those demons. I will tell you that the demons don’t just rely on the creepy/borderline-funny double-entendre pickup lines to distrust the bearded one. It’s also his pit of mom bones under the pool table.

        And when my husband opens the door for me, he usually does want to sexually pounce. Also, when he brushes his teeth, sweeps the floor, and breathes. Heh.

        You clearly have some bitterness toward women, though. I wish you luck, and offer you two very helpful tips:
        A.) Don’t sexually violate women, duh! (I mean, unless it’s your partner and she’s cool w it), and
        B.) Keep opening those doors for women young and old–we are goddamn goddesses and should always be treated accordingly.

        Thanks for reading!

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    • Omg?!?! I guess my childhood was so wholesome- I think he’s refreshingly nonjudgmental about whatever your plans are or your past goof-ups. All of you who see sexual Predator comic is my completely different paradigm. I’m wondering if this is some sort of Rorschach test. I’m not unsympathetic to whatever you may have experienced and you have the implicit right to express your opinion BUT it might help to intellectualize and not malign everyone because of your own perspective. The beard: I’m not crazy about facial hair but I think that’s the beauty of this commercial and we all look past it because he’s so kind and affirming

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      • Dearest bgreene,

        Oddly enough, I had a really wholesome childhood. Perhaps the ad and this article, combined, are Rorschach tests for dark, strange senses of humor. Your test results are in: You are a crusader. That’s okay. Nothing wrong there. But I live in a world of mockery. As do the cockroaches that live in the beard.

        And just remember, folks, “kind and affirming” are sometimes the bait that lures you into a beardy trap into an under-the-pool-table pit. Public service announcement.

        Like

  6. On another note, I love these ads! And the beard guy is perfect. The ads are just perfectly done. There’s this amazing back and forth conversation. It never feels forced, and never feels like beard guy is trying to sell the guy for a commission. It’s just a conversation. And if I had money? I would invest it with this company!

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’ll admit most of the ads have gotten better. A lot of my ire for the character comes from some of the earliest in the series. And Jim Conroy does have a fascinating je ne sais quoi.

      However, I will continue to advise that advertising spokespeople should never be the basis for choosing a financial management company. Many wishes for more money in the future.

      Like

  7. I can’t stand the ad. He looks like he still lives with his mother (who probably cooks, cleans, and does laundry for him). Not the kind of person I would trust for advice.

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    • Offering my theory that this is a reincarnation of Ozzie Harriet in the financial services industry. He doesn’t have a job, and is always around to offer calming platitudes and little else. I, as a former financial services endentured slave, would like to be a fly on the wall when he comes before a performance review.

      Like

    • My Mother lives in Arizona. Your mother, however, keeps putting too much damn starch in my shirts. Please bring this up with her the next time you ask to borrow money.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Very good ads.
    I like the ones with Mr. Conroy one-on-one with a potential Ameritrade client.
    They really click. The more complicated ones (i.e. Lionel Richie) not so much.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. After seeing the ads with Lionel Richie so many times, I now hate the song that shall not be named…

    Mr. Conroy, however, is OK – but not as good as the guy that plays the broker in the Schwab ads – that guy is spot on.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I am so sick of these ads and despise the nerd with the beard. He may one day be a good mortician with the proper approach to grieving relatives, but he is not credible as an investment advisor. I can’t imagine an investor with more than $100 wanting to be in the same room with this creep.

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    • See, I think the issue is that you are assuming he is really an investment advisor. I think the character is actually, secretly, a serial killer. So it isn’t a matter of protecting your $101, it’s more of a survival question.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’m in. Now, can you do a good maniacal/homicidal laugh? I think you should practice for when Netflix calls.

        Also, have you trained with a katana? I don’t know how we might specifically work that in, but it would look cool anyway.

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  11. I didn’t know about the cockroaches. When were they explained? The kinda sexy vote has been retracted!

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    • Theresa, I think you have hurt the cockroaches’ feelings. They need homes, too. Would you re-register your sexy vote if they were wearing little top hats?

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  12. I found your funny blog article while looking to find out who the baseball ‘manager’ of the latest TD Ameritrade commercial was. (It’s at a baseball stadium so no green room!) ..Your post is a fun & safe example/reminder of how we aren’t all ranting into the void. There’s real people on the other side that are affected by what we say and how we react.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Exactly. And it is to my delight that Jim Conroy is such a wonderful sport with a fantastic sense of humor, since all of my void ranting is with tongue tucked in cheek.

      Like

  13. It’s not just the beardy thing: it is that Ameritrade and their clients are (apparently) betting their futures on a 30 year old guy with hardly any long term experience in the financial world, and (if real) probably would not have entered the business until after the 2008 financial panic.

    Kudos to the actor, Mr Conroy. The reason this ad got attention is because he did a good job portraying this character.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. My problem is basic. What does this faux Ameritrade employee actually do besides hit on befuddled investors and miss the target in virtually every game. Now Coach McAdoo I can watch for hours on end. Sad what age does to us.

    Like

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