Ladies and gentlemen, we’re at the dawn of a new era in award acceptance speeches—the babbling sincerity of winners past has gone out of fashion, and in its place comes something more ironic, disheveled, and even dismissive. It’s almost like Hollywood stars are learning the meaningless subjectivity of prizes, and treating them with the wry distance they deserve. More than that, though, these stars are getting positively weird. Whatever rogue thoughts run through their brains on a moment-to-moment basis have found a stage for expression, and that stage is a podium. They hold their oddly shaped trophies and and let their freak flags fly—waving defiantly in the face of the self-congratulatory nonsense and false humility that everyone expects.
It’s tremendous theater, and I really hope the trend continues as the number of award shows balloons to ridiculous proportions. In my mind, at least, a daily Weird Acceptance Speech clip would be way cooler than the latest watered-down Jimmy Fallon sketch. And I’m happy to report that the movement has strong leaders—TV comedy superstars Amy Schumer (Inside Amy Schumer) and T.J. Miller (Silicon Valley) are in the vanguard, and this week, they both delivered exceptional Weird Acceptance Speeches.
Let’s start with Miller, who won best supporting comedic actor at the Critics’ Choice Awards, because his was the shortest:
First, you have to love how he came on stage with a mouth full of food, justifying it with, “I thought I was going to lose.” With his mane of red curls and a gaudy gold chain setting off his tuxedo, he looked every bit the blowhard he played on HBO, Erlich Bachmann. But his general attitude of casual disdain and chaotic disorder really sold the act. A few of his best quotes:
“My mother and father made me funny enough to earn me a crystal thing.”
“Thank you very much. I would say that awards are for children. Because children need a tangible representation of their achievement. And as adults, you have to settle for the respect and admiration of your peers.”
“To Julia Louis-Drefyus, just because we’ve made eye contact, and it would be super weird if I didn’t do that.”
“And then of course finally, my wife, Kate…(long pause)... yeah, I didn’t write a fucking speech. Goodnight, thank you very much!”
Moving on to Schumer, who won a “Trailblazer” prize at the Glamour U.K. awards:
Just like Miller, she looks vaguely confused the entire time, like she might be on a very mild drug or a very strong beta blocker. She looks totally unapologetic from the get-go, and you can tell there’s a different energy in the crowd for the simple reason that they don’t know what to expect—and they love it. Her choice quotes:
“I’m probably like 160 pounds right now, and I can catch a dick whenever I want. That’s the truth. It’s not a problem.”
“I didn’t lose my two front teeth until I was in 5th grade, which is late. And that very same week, I got my period. Which is early! So I was just like this jack-o-lantern with tits walking around, just like ‘ehhhhhhh, trick-or treat!’ And I had one of those moms who was like, ‘you don’t need to shave above your knee.’ So, just a werewolf, just Christopher Robin from here down.”
“Any comic in the room knows that when a female comic’s in a photo shoot, they’re like, oh cool, can you hold this plastic dick over your head and we’re going to shoot actual cum out of it over your head? They’re like, you’re going to be a cum dumpster, and you’re like, oh, thank you for having me!”
“Some women’s magazines make you feel bad for being born with a pussy. They’re just like, ‘get your pussy that new car smell.’ And you’re like, ‘what?’ ‘Hang a pinecone from your clit.’”’
“Tonight I had one goal and that was to just be able to take my underwear off at the end of the night and have it not look like I blew my nose in it. And don’t look disgusted, guys, because your underwear looks like a coal miner wiped their brow at the end of a shift.”
With both Miller and Schumer, very little of it made sense, and much of it was filthy, bizarre, and offensive, but that’s also what made it great—if more celebrities treated the award podium like a forum for experimental, haphazard comedy, our world would be a much more interesting place.