Puck Daddy's Ryan Lambert continues his annual tradition of celebrating and annihilating the NHL Awards.
Now I know what true pain is.
On Wednesday night, I had the monumental misfortune of sitting through the 2012 NHL Awards, a show as filled with dead jokes as predictable awards, and a truly calamitous television event. I can't imagine why anyone watched it for any reason other than their job necessitated it.
It lasted two hours, but with the awkward silence where laughter was intended to go, it felt like quintuple that. And that doesn't include a THREE-hour red carpet show that, as with last year's edition, pulled teeth by hand without Novocain; though it did feature Barry Melrose saying that Wayne Gretzky's favorite band is Abba.
There were a large, large number of problems with the show, and everything wrong with it was evidenced in the usually-hilarious Adam Pally's intro to a tedious highlight package that got no response at all. Sorry Bro.
To put everything in perspective, Nickelback almost — almost — wasn't the low point of the show. But I swear to you, there were some parts that nearly made me consider thinking about mulling over whether this wasn't the largest waste of time in my life.
They didn't succeed, of course, but here they are anyway.
I'm not sure that screaming, "HERE'S A GUY THAT ACTUALLY LIKES OUR SPORT" every time a celebrity comes out is the best way to ingratiate hockey fans to any presenters, but it's at the very least a step in the right direction.
Last year, you'll remember that most of the celebrities, including host Jay Mohr, got the names of all-time great players wrong, and did so on the regular. This year, the person who most butchered anyone's name was professional hockey broadcaster PJ Stock (just seconds after calling "pundints" idiots). He said "Evjeni" twice.
Having people in the building who actually like the sport, unlike the Real Housewives of Moose Jaw, isn't a bad thing; but trumpeting that the guy from "Friends" is a long-time Kings fan (oh by the way watch his new show on NBC this fall)? No one cares that much.
Hockey fans wouldn't mind if Lebron James presented as long as he pronounces the league MVP's name right. Full marks to those who did.
4. A Hank F-bomb
The biggest laugh of the night came when Henrik Lundqvist, accepting his not-especially-deserved Vezina Trophy, said a word usually reserved for John Tortorella press conferences following Rangers' losses.
(Warning: NSFW for strong language. Obviously.)
People like swear words, I guess, which is more than you can say than most other things that happened last night. Draw your own conclusions as to what had to happen on a show that devoted a good chunk of itself to comedy sketches for an accidental F-word to get the biggest laugh and applause break.
3. Evgeni Malkin's acceptance speech
Though his name was pronounced about 13 different ways over the course of the night, Evgeni Malkin gave one of the three really strong acceptance speeches last night. The other two belonged to Ken Hitchcock, who dedicated his Jack Adams to Wayne Fleming, and Gabriel Landeskog, who dedicated his Calder Trophy to his recently-deceased grandfather.
In accepting the Hart Trophy as the league's most valuable player, he got choked up in dedicating it to his best friend, Sergei Gonchar. Malkin said Gonchar helped him adjust to life in the NHL, thousands of miles away from his family and home country, which he called "a different life."
This after Malkin chose to read his Ted Lindsay Award acceptance speech off a card because he was concerned about the quality of his English. He did real well with it, in the end.
2. Will Arnett
The only thing that got consistent laughs throughout the night was a series of sketches featuring the endlessly enjoyable Will Arnett as Brendan Shanahan, suspending people for the slightest infractions, including Alex Ovechkin for double-parking and his children for asking too many questions when he gets home from the office.
The best of these involved Gary Bettman, if you can believe that.
More Will Arnett in my life is never going to be something I complain about, but at the same time, maybe they went to the well once too often. Certainly, the real Shanahan was less than pleased after the first one.
Of all the stuff that was actually written by a person who presumably is professionally funny, this was the only one that didn't make me actively hate that I was watching it.
1. It ended
Sure didn't feel like it ever would.
(I can stretch this to 20 if you want)
5. Kevin Smith
People like Kevin Smith. Granted, it's a small and dwindling number of them, but nonetheless, they seem to really enjoy his fast-talkin', jorts-wearin' pseudo-hip delivery.
I am not one of them.
Each of his three taped vignettes, recorded as though he were on stage at a small club (which, like the Rotten Tomatoes page for positive reviews of "Red State", was completely empty), were about what he loves about the NHL. A noble enough subject, to be sure, but his explanations thereof were enough to make one thankful that the "Goon" rip-off movie "Hit Somebody!" will be his last.
Between referring to Patrick Kane as an "NH-elf" and repeatedly saying "BANG!" in praising what he called Artem Anisimov's obnoxious celebration, he grated faster than usual, which is saying something.
I would have preferred we got Silent Bob for these clips.
Heidi Androl had to spend the entire show sitting in a box above the theater in which the awards were being held, pretty much by herself.
Her job? Reading the tweets of NHLers watching at home.
If you can think of a more boring thing, please contact the NHL about a job writing the jokes for next year's awards.
Let's hope, for her sake, the glass behind her was soundproof.
3. This whole "no host" thing/the writers (tie)
To be fair to the various presenters, Charles Lindbergh couldn't have landed these punchlines.
With that having been said, it's very obvious that the decision to go without a host, and try to keep the show somewhat fast-paced by having a wider array of mildly well-known people, was influenced by Jay Mohr pretty much dying on stage last year (and probably that whole "Steve Whyzerman" thing).
But what this year's version of television's least-watchable awards show of all-time — and I'm including the Grammys — shows us is that you could have had Bob Hope out here in his Oscar-hosting heyday and watch him get nothing but bemused silences given this material. Bruce Villanch probably died during this show specifically so he could roll in his grave.
The lack of a host was clearly a detriment in keeping the show even remotely tolerable, as I didn't pray for death more than a handful of times last year. The credits say they had a script supervisor but I can't imagine this is actually true. This felt very much like someone actually tried to do that 10,000 monkeys at 10,000 typewriters experiment to come up with snappy "puck" jokes.
This was truly the blurst awards show ever.
I've referenced it above but holy hell was this a dead room. I know hockey players are just about the most boring people on earth and whatever but there were some jokes, like Ray Liotta's crack about Tim Thomas, that deserved, you know, something.
Again, it was a rare joke that was actually any good last night, but those that qualified were met with absolutely no response. Just an awful crowd.