Ups and downs of the comedy show

Unless you’re particularly interested in the Daytime Emmys (aside from the fascinating Best Talk-Smackdown Host between Kelly Clarkson and Drew Barrymore). You can expire now, nerds. It’s summer vacation until the Emmys. You might have thought the season came to an end with the Tonys, which culminated in Michael R. Jackson’s triumphant victory for a strange bond and Jennifer Hudson’s EGOT. These were wonderful and satisfying, but the Tonys were just the penultimate event, the obscure guild precursor prizes for what this year’s prize circuit has been building: The The Bodybuilders Cultural Awards. On Saturday, June 18, an audience of 2,500 culture buffs gathered at Lincoln Center to honor the best and brightest in film, television, music, Housewives, Comedy, Travel, Trends, Gays, Food, Friendship and Kingdom. animal (both literal). animals and the Disney theme park). In short: the whole culture.

The show was conceived and hosted by Matt Rogers and Bowen Yang to honor six years of their podcast, The Bodybuilders, a period of time that saw comedians go from Brooklyn comedy scene favorites commenting on pop culture to honest pop culture props. Rogers has been featured in one of the best comedies of the year, Showtime’s i love it for you, While Yang has had his fair share of minor but still notable awards show experience, performing at the Tonys and Emmys and earning two nominations at the latter (one for writing and one for acting) for Saturday night live. And 2022 was a landmark year for the The Bodybuilders hosts. Last month, they celebrated the podcast’s 300th episode with a “Great Global Songbook” countdown, and in early June, Yang and Rogers co-starred on Hulu’s Fire Island alongside pod friend and screenwriter Joel Kim Booster. The Culture Awards concept has been in the works since April of last year, and the final production was a spectacular reward for longtime listeners. Bringing together a veritable gallery of queer comedy names, the show was a highly influential and worthwhile awards ceremony in its own right and a kind of beautiful utopian vision of the heights other awards shows could reach if they just stopped getting in the way. For those unable to attend, Vulture presents the inaugural first edition “Highs, Lows, and Wows of The Bodybuilders Cultural Awards”.

Photo: Sachyn Mital

HIGH: “Cool for the summer”
As with any self-respecting awards show, the Culture Awards kicked off with a musical number, with Rogers and Yang giving a lively performance of their #1 “Global Songbook” hit, Demi Lovato’s “Cool for the Summer,” backed by a live band on stage. Not only was this the first of many live musical performances, it also created a recurring theme of the hosts descending into the audience to sing and dance, as in Cats or those puppets in The Lion King.

LOW: Selling short
In the opening monologue, Rogers said he hopes to “install this as an awards show that is taken at least as seriously as the Golden Globes.” We live in a post-nanette world! There is no need for self-avoidance.

LOW: Figurines are too heavy for Miss Bodybuilder, Patti Harrison
Just as the Golden Globes nominate a “Miss Golden Globes” to deliver their hardware to the winners, Rogers and Yang also named Patti Harrison their Miss Bodybuilder; she opened the show complaining that the awards were “heavier than anyone told me they ever would be”. Midway through the show, Harrison revealed that she hasn’t had much muscle mass since “the accident” (we never knew what that was), and by the end of the night, she was dragging the award across the stage on a tarp. The Prop Comedy Lives!

HIGH: Cole Escola receives the award for Most Incredible Impact in Film on behalf of category winner, Actors
The actors beat Steven Spielberg and Music & Score in Film nominees. Dressed as the girl Morton Salt, Escola accepted on behalf of “all the actors in the entire world, including the moon!

Photo: Sachyn Mital

WHOA: Jan comin’ on this bitch mad as hell
Rogers and Yang presented the Xtina Aguilera Award for entering This Bitch Mad As Hell to Erin Brockovich when fired by Ed Masry. That would simply not be compatible with fellow nominee Jan de RuPaul Drag Race, then she stormed the stage and dubbed “Beautiful,” ending, of course, with the verse from Xtina’s “Moves Like Jagger.” The hosts issued a correction and disqualified Jan. More awards should do this!

Photo: Sachyn Mital

HIGH: Julio Torres presents the Macarena
Because? I’m not sure. But Torres gave a speech “to honor the dance phenomenon of the 1990s,” so Rogers and Yang shook their butts and led the crowd in a massive Macarena. She was worshiping.

LOW: Lemon Spindrift wins Best Seltzer Flavor
I heard boos.

LOW: Katy Perry couldn’t accept her award in person
Hannah Einbinder announced the Joy Behar award for the stand-up comedy award and rolled out the pre-recorded acceptance speeches from the losers. Joel Kim Booster pointed to the sky and thanked Behar, saying, “I miss you and I can’t wait to die so I can…” (the rest was drowned out by audience laughter). Pat Regan followed up with a reference not to be cast Fire Island. At least they tied for the Funniest Gay Man award.

Jo Firestone presented the next award of the night, Best Note Ever Sung. All three nominees were played by Bonnie Milligan and Natalie Walker, accompanied by the band, including the very high note known as C5. The deserving winner was “Look” from “Look to the Western Sky” from “Defying Gravity”. They did a beautiful performance.

LOW: The alto part on “All I Want for Christmas Is You”
Nothing says Lincoln Center’s Summer for the City like a Christmas carol. Walker did her part viral, and she and Milligan closed the song with a kiss.

Photo: Sachyn Mital

HIGH: Aaron Jackson’s historic victory
Jackson won Best “I Don’t Think So, Honey” of All Time and celebrated with a crowd reciting the text: “Going to Church on Sunday” and Wednesday?”

LOW: Whales snubbed
Fire Island the delicious Conrad Ricamora, James Scully and Zane Phillips presented the award for Best Animal of the Sea, a category that demanded the seriousness of Ricamora. Men were disappointed because their favorite creature of the deep is the whale, but the whale was not nominated. The winner was Peixe, Comma, Tudo, accepted by Tomás Matos holding a bubble gun.

Photo: Sachyn Mital

LOW: In memory
A reel of “2021 slaying moments” set to a remix of Wendy Williams saying “Death to them all!” reminded us of bitter losses, starting with Meghan McCain’s departure from the In cash.

WHOA: Harmonies in Four Parts
Rogers and Yang began a “driver’s license” duet, which was already beautiful, but it crossed the line when Josh Sharp and Jackson emerged after the first chorus wearing capes and turned the whole thing into an Il Divo moment.

LOUD: Lisa Kudrow accepts Best Friend award
Mom sent a video!

WHOA: Taylor Swift filmed her acceptance speeches!
Audiences were primed for a Katy Perry-JKB style swap when Swift won the Best Taylor Swift award for Baking of Cookies and was delighted by a video of Swift addressing the hosts as she took cookies out of the oven. So Swift sent other video to receive the award for Best Tayla Swiff for Performance of “Wildest Dreams” in the “Enchanted” Mash-up.

HIGH: presenter’s joke
This is how all awards should be! All of them must have delicious pranks and original bits! They should all be imagined by Vulture-approved queer comedians! everyone should have SNL Writer Celeste Yim hands Aidy Bryant one-word cards individually and leaves Bryant totally amazed at what’s in them.

WHOA: The audience knew the song “Drive Back” by Candiace de RHOP
The final award of the night, Record of the Year, went to Candiace de The Royal Housewives of the Potomac to “Drive Back”, leading to the final chant on a night full of them. (Album of the Year went to 2017’s Reputation.)

HIGH: Disney’s Animal Kingdom Sweep
The night’s winner was unexpected. It wasn’t comedy (although it was that too). It wasn’t Wendy Williams (despite her many nominations and her Tina Turner Legend Award win). It was Orlando, Florida, that had a category with eight wins, three of them for Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

-Biggest failure: Seaworld
-Most iconic building or structure: The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, Disney’s Hollywood Studios
-Most relaxing destination: Disney’s Animal Kingdom
-Best Disney World Tour: Expedition Everest
-Best Tour Universal Studios Orlando: Revenge of the Mummy
-Six Flags Award for Worst Ride in Orlando: This is a show, but Hall of Presidents
-The National Park Award for Nature: The Tree of Life, Disney’s Animal Kingdom
-Best Neighborhood, Los Angeles: Universal CityWalk [Note: I know this isn’t Orlando, but it is Orlando in spirit, its sister city being Universal CityWalk Orlando. Best Neighborhood, New York, went to Fort Greene, by the way.]

HIGH: No one was fooled by the band
The respect!

HIGH: Nonsense
Best Farm Animal went to Chickens of the Coop, Best Video Game Moment went to When Bowser Arrives, and Best Taste Ever went to Tasty. More things should be silly this way.

Photo: Sachyn Mital

HIGH: The talent meeting!
The micro-generation of queer comedians that came together for this show is really shaping the culture for the better, goofier, and goopier, and it brings tears to my eyes. It was like a grand graduation ceremony for the people you first saw at Bell House five years ago. And for one night, Lincoln Center was elevated to something even greater: the clown square.

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