The network announced its new fall lineup at Radio City Music Hall Monday, and a ton of celebs were in the audience to support the new projects. Jennifer Lopez was there for Shades of Blue, and sometimes-Today Show host John Cena made an appearance.
But because her talk show tapes in Los Angeles, Ellen DeGeneres had to sit out the event. Luckily, Saturday Night Live‘s Kate McKinnon has a spot-on Ellen impression, and she was called in to do a little crowd work.
“Being in this room, there’s a real Academy Awards vibe, and I have to say, the only thing that’s missing is a viral moment,” host Seth Meyers joked.
But then, bizarrely, the show went ahead and had McKinnon stage a selfie with Lopez, Cena, Maya Rudolph, Andy Cohen, Martin Short, Elizabeth Hurley, and Sophia Bush (among others) just the same:
— Bradd Jaffy (@BraddJaffy) May 16, 2016
While the stunt clearly is the exact level of corporate comedy a major network feels comfortable making on one of the biggest days in its advertising year, it also marks a weird in-between ground that exists right now for companies and memes.
We’re in a place where brands hope being “self aware” of their lameness will play off as endearing in an advertisement, the same way it does when your favorite comedian says something #relatable or goofy. But in virtually every case, it backfires. Why? Because America still knows you’re selling us TV shows, guys. We can only suspend disbelief so much.
While we all know the pressure to churn out moments like that must be enormous, perhaps reflect on how many memes have been generated through tremendous thought and willpower. The answer to that is none.