T.J. Miller hosted the 8th Annual Crunchies Awards in San Francisco on Thursday, reportedly managing to turn every moment he was on stage at the “Oscars of Silicon Valley” into the most awkward in history. Miller turned in a performance that probably rivals Joel McHale at Spike’s VGX Awards for both laughs and awkward divisiveness.
It’s a classic example of humor not meshing with certain sensibilities and how much the show Silicon Valley is both different and eerily similar to the real thing:
The ceremony started out strong, with Miller teasing techies about the way they dress and their absurd amounts of wealth, and reading off alternative slogans for the startups nominated for awards. But the night quickly unraveled when Miller made one of many jokes at Uber’s expense.
“And the Crunchie for not constantly stepping in s— goes to Travis Kalanick,” Miller said. “So does the Crunchie for constantly stepping in s—.”(via)
I found the segment in question below, conveniently made available by TechCrunch themselves, and you can catch the blistering portion around the 6:30 portion if it doesn’t automatically start there. If you’re familiar with Miller or how any sort of stand up bit works, nothing will shock you.
Millers comments about Uber drew the ire of Travis Kalanick’s girlfriend, Gabi Holzwarth, and that’s when things seemed to take a spiral into outrage — at least for those present:
For 10 painful minutes, he and Holzwarth batted back and forth. He asked why she was here and lambasted her company, delivery startup Shyp. “It’s like FedEx but it’s spelled wrong,” Miller said.
Then the actor annihilated her for daring to bring a small dog to the Crunchies.
“Miss, do you have your dog here? Is that real?” he asked in disbelief, prompting her to hold it up for the audience to see. “Two questions. How did you get that dog in here? Second question: Did you Shyp it?” (via)
You can see the dog in question here, but it’s probably the “bitch” comment that stings a bit more for Holzwarth, something she mentioned on Twitter:
This was a sentiment echoed by many in attendance, particularly by Katie Jacobs Stanton in a post on Medium. Stanton was in attendance at the Crunchies on behalf of Twitter, but noted that it would be her first and last time due to Miller and other incidents:
At the Crunchies, comedian T.J. Miller, a star of the show “Silicon Valley” (which I watch and love), threw out a bunch of playful zingers in his opening act. But then at one point, he engaged with a woman (Gabi Holzwarth) a few rows in front of me by calling her a “bitch”. She responded increduously, “Did you just call me a bitch?” He then said, “Bitch, Asians aren’t supposed to be this entitled in the U.S. … Is this bitch from Palo Alto?” The audience laughed nervously.
I was so uncomfortable I wanted to leave, but of course I couldn’t given that our award was coming up.The weird, almost hostile theme continued when a presenter remarked about Airbnb’s logo looking like a “hooha”. More uncomfortable laughs. I don’t remember the names of the presenters — one was male and one was female. They both joked that they each liked “hoohas”. The next presenter followed suit, also letting the audience know that he likes “hoohas” too. Why that was important to share (or presumed to be funny), I don’t know.
Others chimed in on Twitter with their feelings, which Stanton included in her post:
All together, it seems like the Crunchies was a pretty rough time for those involved. Miller is taking the brunt of the criticism, with TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington noting that the comedian refused to read from the script, adding that “It’s the worst thing I’ve ever seen.” TechCrunch COO Ned Desmond apologized for the performance in a blog post on Saturday and confirmed that Miller would not be invited back:
“Many at TechCrunch… feel badly about some elements of T.J.’s performance. The use of derogatory slang to refer to women or minority groups is unacceptable at any event TechCrunch runs, period. And we know many others feel the same way, even if it’s hard to find the words to say so. We’re sorry.” (via)
You can watch the whole show over here, but how could you? The heat from all these takes is unbearable! If we can find comfort in anything from this, it’s that Shyp appeared to be alright. They tweeted this out by the end of the night:
And has Miller had some sort of Earth quaking change in his life? Has he learned his lesson?
All is right in the world.