party lines

Bowie, Beasties — and, Oh, Some Actual Internet People — Win Webby Awards


Photo: Getty Images

The Webby Awards insist that acceptance speeches be only five words long. This proved something of a challenge last night for Lifetime Achievement winner David Bowie. “I only have five words — shit, that’s five,” quipped the Thin White Webmaster. “Four more … there, that’s three … two…” and then he was whisked away. The Beastie Boys, who won Artist of the Year, were more accessible, walking the red carpet (which is more than can be said for YouTube founders Steve Chen and Chad Hurley, Persons of the Year winners), sitting at a central table at Cipriani, and yukking it up onstage when accepting their award. “I’d like to apologize to David Bowie,” said Mike D. “I CC’d him on an e-mail that I sent to a lot of people, and he was really mad at me.” Third-time host Rob Corddry started the awards on a lowbrow note, asking fellow Soho Grand lodgers if they had used the hotel’s peppermint shampoo on their nether regions (“It tickles!”) and claiming that he had hit on 19-year-old Jessica Lee Rose, a.k.a. Lonelygirl15. Some speeches were quickly ridiculed. “Yelp is useful, funny, and cool,” said a rep for the site. “Except in their five-word speech,” amended Corddry.

There was only a smattering of political statements. “Verizon doesn’t own the Internet,” a winner said of one of the event’s sponsors; “much funnier on the Daily Show,” another said of the host. The highlight of the evening may have been the live reenactment of “The Extreme Diet Coke and Mentos Experiment” YouTube clips, which took place outside of 55 Wall Street just before the crowd moved to the Maritime Hotel for the after-party. Fritz Grobe — who earlier accepted his award for Best Viral with the words “8 million views, no dates” — told us that when they’re not spending two hours at a time setting up for two-minute demonstrations, he and his partner Stephen Voltz are working on a follow-up to the video, again using household and hardware-store items. “The problem is, we keep getting calls to do stuff like this,” he said, estimating that in the past year they’ve done 1,000 demos. “We’ve gone through 4,000 Diet Cokes and 24,000 Mentos.”

At the Maritime, the crowd attempted to, well, boogie down. None of the big stars were there, but there was a big, Internet-nerdy crowd. Arms were awkwardly thrust into the air as the Web folks tried their best to break it down on the dance floor. It was nearly as amusing to watch as exploding Coke bottles. —Daniel Maurer and Jocelyn Guest

Bowie, Beasties — and, Oh, Some Actual Internet People — Win Webby Awards