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10th Annual Shorty Awards - Ceremony
Getty Images/Dave Kotinsky
The look of disdain.
"THIS IS HELL"

For 10 glorious minutes, social media influencers were mocked at their own awards show

By Adam Epstein

Last night’s 10th annual Shorty awards at first looked like any other edition of the show, which honors social media influencers and memes. The Unicorn took home the coveted “Emoji of the Year” prize. MTV also-ran Spencer Pratt won “Snapchatter of the Year.” Things were going swimmingly.

And then actor Adam Pally took the stage.

Best known for roles on the comedy series Happy Endings and The Mindy Project, Pally seemed like an odd choice for the event. Launched in 2009, the Shorty Awards celebrate the best in social media. They’ve recognized everyone from Michelle Obama (the 2013 recipient of the “#GIFStar Award” for her social campaign to fight childhood obesity), to WWE (2014’s “Best Brand on YouTube”), to Pizza Rat (“Gif of the Year” in 2016). The Shortys are, in essence, the Oscars for #brands and memes.

Pally was there to present the award for best overall Instagram presence. But instead of getting into the spirit of the event, Pally proceeded to roast the Shorty Awards’ entire existence in a rambling, hilarious, 10-minute tirade before being politely escorted off stage.

“Thank you for having me tonight at the Shorty Awards, the waiting-at-the-DMV of awards shows,” he said. “I do have a few questions about what is happening tonight. I guess I’ll start with, ‘What is going on? Why are people getting awards?'”

It’s worth watching in its entirety, but Vulture compiled some of the most acerbic comments of Pally’s extended bit, from a deadpan “This is the worst night of my life” to “I think a career highlight will be when I’m done.”

As he half-heartedly read his script, Pally continued ridiculing the show and its award winners, including “Backpack Kid” and a woman who was in college studying engineering but dropped out to play video games. “Don’t do that,” he advised. “She thinks it worked out for her, but in six months she will be trying to get back into that school.”

Pally’s points about the ceremony—and the social media landscape’s patent absurdity—were perfectly summed when a social media manager for GoPro came on stage holding a GoPro camera to film himself accepting the award. “Well thank you for that vibrant intro,” he said. “Really set us up. Well, so stoked to be here. Thank you guys so much. Our founders said it best—’the moment,’ that’s what GoPro is all about.”

shorty awards adam pally
Shorty Awards/YouTube screenshot
Pally, seconds before he was led off the stage.

Eventually, Pally was whisked off the stage by the singer Betty Who, who introduced the show’s “In Memoriam” segment, honoring the death of popular apps and platforms like Vine and AIM.

The “In Memoriam” segment shows that the Shortys don’t take themselves all too seriously. But Pally’s exasperated and wildly out of place monologue still seemed genuine—and for those of us dealing with social media overload, relatable.

Quartz reached out to the show’s press representatives for a response to the fiasco and we’ll update this story if we hear back.