NEW YORK--The 12th annual Webby Awards Gala on Tuesday night was, unsurprisingly, an evening devoted to all things Internet. "Without the Internet, someone like Tila Tequila would have five or six friends, max," host Seth Meyers of Saturday Night Live quipped about the Web's ability to roll out cult micro-celebrities. "Without the Internet, only Ron Paul would know who Ron Paul is."
The glitzy ceremony, held at a Greek Revival building that once housed the New York Stock Exchange and New York Merchants Exchange and now houses the upscale Cipriani Wall Street event space, celebrated just that. In a pastiche of entertainment awards shows, a moderately impressive red carpet featured Internet-famous folk in the line of "Obama Girl" and Ben Huh, the twentysomething guy from Seattle who's responsible for "I Can Has Cheezburger, as well as a few "real" celebrities like rappers Ludacris and Will.I.Am, and music icon David Byrne.
It was a marathon ceremony. With two awards given in each of a seemingly endless number of categories--a judge-chosen Webby and a vote-chosen "People's Voice"--there were so many winners that, in Webby tradition, each acceptance speech was limited to five words. So here, in an attempt to sum up the awards show without taking three more hours to do so, here are the Meta-Webbys: the best of the best of the Web's acceptance speeches.
Most memorable acceptance speech: Browser start-up Flock picked up the judge-chosen Webby in the Social Networking category, and the company founder used his five words to say, "No s***, we beat Facebook!" (Facebook went on to win the People's Voice award in the same category.)
Most predictable acceptance speech: Geek hero Stephen Colbert,for his portrayal of an egomaniacal blowhard pundit on Comedy Central's The Colbert Report, went onstage as Bruce Springsteen's "Born in the U.S.A." played, and proclaimed, "Me, me, me, me, me!"
Corollary: Colbert's pop-culture influence was reflected in Facebook's acceptance of the People's Voice award in the Social Networking category--""--as well as FactCheck.org's acceptance speech in the Politics category, "Where truthiness goes to die." FactCheck won another award later in the evening; the site's second acceptance speech was, "No, Obama's not a Muslim."
Most productive speech: "We're hiring, send us resumes" from ad agency Tribal DDB in one of the Interactive Advertising categories.
Worst play on words: Conde Nast's Style.com picked up an award in the Fashion category and used its five words to say, "Guess we're still in fashion."
Runner-up: VH1's Best Week Ever, in the Celebrity category, "Who let the blogs out?"
Most professionally appropriate speech: The American Bar Association's ABA Journal, in the Law category, "Had we lost, we'd sue."
Geekiest acceptance speech: A representative from ad firm Saatchi & Saatchi picked up an Interactive Advertising Webby for a Toyota Tacoma ad campaign, held up the Slinky-like metal trophy, and said, "My robot costume is complete."
Best onstage stunt: Picking up the People's Voice award in the Best Practices category, Digg marketing manager Aubrey Sabala chugged a glass of champagne and proclaimed, "Webbys 'dugg' for the free drinks."
Best use of two awards: The "Happiness Factory" ad campaign for Coca-Cola picked up two awards; the representative accepting the award from agency Shift Control Media used his first five words to say "Seth, your fly is open" and his second, an hour later, to say, "Still down, Seth, getting creepy."
The "And it sounds even better in your sulty Greek accent" award: Liberal news pundit and IADAS member Arianna Huffington, receiving the award in the Blog - Political category, proclaimed "President Obama sounds good, right?"
Least shocking surprise of the evening: In between rounds of awards, host Seth Meyers said he was going to show a video tribute to members of the Web community who had died in the past year, and showed part of Rick Astley's corny "Never Gonna Give You Up" video instead. Seth, Rickrolling is so over.
Most shocking surprise of the evening: In an interview on the red carpet, Ben Huh, the owner of kitty humor site I Can Has Cheezburger said that he's allergic to cats. Clad in a white suit and a massive hat shaped like a cheeseburger, I guess he also gets the Best Dressed nod.