Last night was day two of the Webby Awards, wherein the best and brightest and clickiest of the online world are honored with the chance to hold up one single Webby award and reduce the many hours of carpal-tunnel-inducing toil to a mere five words — the limit for the acceptance speech, whether you're Stephen Colbert accepting a lifetime achievement award, Annie Lennox via video or a guy wearing a cheeseburger hat.
Host Seth Myers kept the parade of five-word winners moving at an impressive clip, and with a light, deft comedic touch that kept things entertaining. The speeches (and their brevity) helped, with some standouts — there were graceful puns (Condé Net's Epicurious: "The Icing On The Cake"), the fervent (PostSecret: "Net Neutrality: Today, Tomorrow, Forever"), the earnest (Annie Lennox: "Laptop Activism Can Change The World); the sloganeering (Cosmopolitan: "Cosmo Mobile: Fun. Fearless. Female"), the goofy (Best Week Ever's Alex Blagg: "Who Let The Blogs Out?"), the opportunistic (Tribal DBB: "We're Hiring - Send Us Resumes") and the cheeky (Andrew Cherwenka of Trapeze, an agency in Toronto which won for their campaign for IKEA mattresses: "Thanks for sleeping with us").
Our own Arianna Huffington brought down the house with five words hooked on recent news ("President Obama - sounds good, right?") — echoed by Special Achievement winner will.i.am: "Now, We Know We Can." Lifetime Achievement Award winner Stephen Colbert also used his moment to focus on a great American making history in his five words: "Me, me, me, me, me!" He got a standing ovation.
The New York Times' online division boasted three wins, and three great speeches: "No Longer A Newspaper Site" (the emphasis on "paper" may have stretched the five-word rule, but no one challenged); "Help Us Monetize This" (for NYT Mobile); and Nytimes.com - "Eliot Spitzer We Thank You." (Said Meyers: "I second that.")
Few people disobeyed the five-word edict, with one honoree simply saying, "Thanks," and another cleverly implying the rest by saying "Thank You From The Bottom." Ali Velshi and SVP/CNN.com senior exec producer Mitch Gelman, accepting for CNN, used a combination of words and written words on large signs that sort of worked, but they got points for one of the words being "kewl." Another award winner,Chantelle Karl of Yelp saying, "What Happens If You Say More Than Five Words?" (she was rather fetching, so Meyers did not chastise her).
Meyers himself was quite fetching, with dimples to match his witty patter and wavy hair that, according to one female attendee, "you just want to run your hands through. Are you taping this? Oh, my God!"* This is objective reporting, by the way; if you don't believe me, you can ask pretty much anyone who was there. He definitely has dimples. And blue, blue eyes, like a thousand oceans.
Meyers noted about halfway through that the one Webby statuette that each winner held up during acceptance had been experienced a lot of traffic itself: "You might want to bring up some Purell. Lotta hands on this thing." Nevertheless, he gamely held it up for a photo at the end of the ceremony. Now that's dedication.
Pics and commentary from the evening — which also featured a performance by Ludacris and a preview of the latest Obama Girl video — are below.
Teamwork! Arianna and HuffPo contributor will.i.am share a moment as co-winners with co-speeches. Said Meyers: "An amazing year for will.i.am, a devastating setback for will.ii.was."
CNET's Caroline McCarthy with Thrillist's Adam Rich. Caroline said she had to write a takeaway piece on Internet Week; I suggested that she write about how the crowd was pretty hot for supposed basement-dwelling twenty-sided-die-spinning geeks. That was based solely on how stylish they looked, and also Obama Girl's pretty dress.
Like these guys! Andy Russell of the Pilot Group, Ben Lerer, Thrillist co-founder and Webby impresario Neil Vogel. Is that a twenty-sided die in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?
Webby Awards Executive Director David-Michel Davies is having the time of his life, and he owes it all to you, internet (plus all the people who applied for award consideration for about ten zillion categories, at up to $475 a pop).
Michelle Collins and Alex Blagg of Best Week Ever; Collins' alternate five word speech suggestion was "Best Five-Word Speech Ever." Clever!
David Byrne accepts a Lifetime Achievement Award with five words other than "Psycho Killer, Qu'est-ce que c'est?" Alas.
Mitch Gelman, senior vice president and senior executive producer of CNN.com, and CNN business correspondent (and Canadian) Ali Velshi make like Bob Dylan in "Subterranean Homesick Blues," sort of.
CNN: The Most Trusted Name In Kewl
Stephen Colbert, in a moment of rest (actually, in a moment of irritation at having his dinner interrupted by the awkward girl from the Huffington Post asking clumsily for a picture when really she wanted to say "Stephen! It's Rachel! Remember that time when I wrote about your WristStrong bracelets?" Er, sorry for interrupting your dinner.)
Triumph! Colbert accepts his Webby. (Yes, that was five words.) (So was that. It was!)
Blogs-to-riches pioneer Pete Rojas. Livin' the dream!
Seth's under-recognized websites of the night: AmishConnections.com and AreYouMyDad.gov
Ich bin ein Cheezburger! (Actually, I Can Has Cheezburger?'s Ben Huh said: "We haz too webbyz? Kthxbai!!!")
I Can Has HuffPoz! Okay, I can see how this thing caught on.
Top, Left to Right: Jonah Peretti, Rachel Sklar, Colin Sterling, Derek Van Straaten, Mario Ruiz
Bottom: Arianna Huffington, James Smith, Roy Sekoff, Katharine Zaleski
Photographer: Katherine Thomson
Andrew Cherwenka for Trapeze: Their speech on behalf of Ikea mattresses, "Thanks for sleeping with us" was the evolution of the speech that began as "I like sleeping with Swedes." Runner up speech: "How Do You Pronounce 'Cherwenka'?"
The "words on a sign" gimmick was not infrequently used.
ICM Senior Vice President George Ruize heads up thier New Media group, and reps the Webbys; ICM agent Kate Lee is only the 21st most powerful woman in New York, thankyouverymuch.
Drew and Tim from Kayak, which is a total palidrome. I wish there had been someone from Radar there, too.
All-around pioneer Laurie Anderson, who introduced David Byrne, and also had on great shoes.
The NYT's Jim Roberts. I Can Has Monetiz! Okay I'm done now.
Colin with Collins! HuffPo Senior Blog Editor Colin Sterling with BWE's Michelle Collins. I can haz Col(l)inz? No, I guess I canzn't.
The DJ kept apologizing for his movie not working. I remember when it was just about the music, man.
Mario Ruiz, Katharine Zaleski, and Roy Sekoff of HuffPo, Best Political Blog winner and People's Choice Winner, we'll have you know.
FishbowlNY's Glynnis MacNicol shoots Seth Meyers with her camera; I shoot him a look of everlasting devotion.
Team Trapeze: Bronwyn Anderson, Mike Kasprow and Cherwenka, all from Toronto, which is why they are getting so much love. Unlike the girl from ColbertIsDeadToMe.com, which won a webby for some reason, perhaps blatant attention-mongering. On behalf of the city of Toronto and all that is holy, I apologize for this breach of fealty to the Colbert Nation. I say this as an impartial journalist.
Roy Sekoff and Derek Van Straaten want to rock and roll all night and party every day. I'm sorry, I know there's a "Van Straaten" joke in here but I can't find it. "Get your Sekoff" is more intuitive, though maybe not appropriate for the guy who is technically my boss. Oops.
I Can Has Webbyz!
After the party is the after-party, where Ludacris rapped and sang...Usher? That part was confusing.
Webbies Rock! Goodnight, internet friends.
The Webbys in Five Words: Cynical, Campy, Goofy, Hot, Long [NYT]
Webbys Honor Best in Online Film and Video [ETP]
*Quote totally made up.