Late Night Comic Amber Ruffin Hosts Webby Awards Honoring Jay-Z, Jesse Williams, 2 Dope Queens And Others

May 14th 2018

It was so nice, she’s trying it twice!  

Comedian and Late Night With Seth Meyers writer Amber Ruffin, who earlier this year hosted the Writer’s Guild Awards, is also hosting the upcoming Webby Awards on May 14. This year’s star-studded ceremony in New York will celebrate the most inspiring, exciting, and entertaining work on the Internet. Fans can watch the full Awards Show and show highlights, including special performances and all the hallmark 5-Word Speeches from the night’s big Winners on Tuesday, May 15 at webbyawards.com.

Ruffin, who made history as the first black woman to write for a network late-night show, is excited about the upcoming gig although it would be an understatement to say she thinks of herself as web savvy. On a scale of 1-10, she says, “I would give it a zero. I really, I'm so bad at it! I judge people's internet prowess on ‘Do you know the abbreviations?’” Well, lmbo!

Webby Winners are selected by the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences; members include Lyft CEO Logan Green, Girls Who Code Founder Reshma Saujani, Gimlet Media CEO Alex Blumberg, Instagram’s Eva Chen, CNN host Van Jones, Internet inventor Vint Cerf, and Playmatics CEO Margaret Wallace. This year, three million votes were cast from Internet fans in more than 240 countries and territories around the world to choose the Winners of the Webby People’s Voice Awards.

Although she isn’t exactly experiencing nerves over hosting, she is aware that whereas she had a lot in common with the recipients of the Writers Guild Awards, that isn’t necessarily so with the Webbys. “It's different because at the Writers Guild, those are all my little friends, TV writers. These people, Internet people, I don't know them. It's going to be a real test.”

Not surprisingly, one of the biggest perks of hosting for the comedian will be the chance to “Act a fool.” Ruffin explains, “The hardest thing about hosting an awards show is reconciling what you have planned with what ‘the room’ is. Because there's not a lot of wiggle room, but there needs to be. You need to be able to act a fool. Am I right? But I'm also, I guess fully equipped to do that. So then yeah, the other side is my willingness to throw whatever we were going to do out the window and act a fool to me. It's just the best part.”

Ruffin, who hails from Nebraska, has performed with the prestigious Second City comedy group, currently writes on the Comedy Central show Detroiters, and is a regular narrator on another Comedy Central show, Drunk History. In addition to her regular writing duties on Late Night, she also regularly performs her own popular segment called Amber Says What, where she hilariously comments on all the awesomeness to all the zaniness happening in pop culture, punctuated by her inimitable exclamations of “What??”

She counts Whoopi Goldberg as one of her comedic inspirations, “I remember seeing her and being like, oh, you know, you don't have to be a thousand percent girly and you can also like you cross your eyes and fall down and it's fine. Um, but there wasn't a lot of that for us, you know, when I was a kid. There still isn't, right?”

She is excited about the women being awarded Webbys for comedy this year. 2 Dope Queens, Jessica Williams and Phoebe Robinson’s podcast, will be awarded the Webby People’s Voice Award for Comedy. Of the duo she says, “I love Jessica and Phoebe. I was supposed to do those show a while back, but then something happened and I couldn't, um, which I think is great because then I get to hear more episodes for that show. I am greedy for that show! And then they got that HBO Special. I could have died and now I feel like everyone loves it, but this is one of those very rare moments where I'm like, ‘I was on service shit before anybody else!’ Yeah, I love them. They make me feel so proud.”

A confessed die-hard fan of Grey’s Anatomy, Ruffin is also happy about Jesse Williams receiving his Webby. Williams is one of a number of people getting awards for Special Achievement in addition to the regular awards being handed out. The Grey’s Anatomy regular is being honored for bridging the gap between activism and entertainment with his newest app, BLeBRiTY, and his use of social media to call attention to the lack of diversity in both the entertainment and tech space. Ruffin was already familiar with Williams’ app because she says, “I love him so bad. I am prone to find out what he’s doing.” Jay-Z, RuPaul, and FKA Twigs are also among this year’s crop of nominees.

Ruffin also wanted to give a nice shout-out to this platform saying of Shadow and Act, “I really think that the work that you guys do is so necessary. It changes the way entertainment looks for me and it makes Hollywood, which is this big weird thing I’m trying to be involved in, feel more inclusive and easier place to be. I don’t know if you guys are aware of that effect but it feels great!” 

Thanks, Amber!

See below for more info on the upcoming Webby Awards.

22nd Annual Webby Award Winner highlights include:

·           Fortnite won the Webby People’s Voice Award for Best Multiplayer/Competitive Game (Games)

·           Vanity Fair won the Webby Award for Magazine (Websites)

·           Super Deluxe won the Webby Award for Best Overall Social Presence – Media/Entertainment (Social)

·           Museum of Ice Cream won the Webby Award and People’s Voice Award for Best Overall Social Presence – Brand (Social)

·           Fearless Girl won the Webby Award for Best Cause-Related Campaign and Best Use of Earned Media (Advertising, Media & PR) and the People’s Voice Award for Real-Time Response (Advertising, Media & PR)

·           NowThis won the Webby Award and People’s Voice Award for News & Information (Social)

·           Tilt Brush won the Webby Award for VR: Interactive Game or Real-Time (Film & Video)

·           Crooked Media won the Webby Award and People’s Voice Award for Best News & Politics Podcast for Pod Save The People (Podcasts & Digital Audio)

·           The New Yorker won the Webby Award for Best Writing – Editorial (Websites)

·           Peloton won the Webby Award for Health & Fitness (Mobile Sites & Apps)

·           Bravo Tango Brain Training won the Webby People’s Voice Award for Best Use of Machine Learning (Mobile Sites & Apps)

·           The Museum of Modern Art won the Webby People’s Voice Award for Cultural Institutions (Websites)

·           Headspace won the Webby People’s Voice Award for Health & Fitness (Mobile Sites & Apps)

·           The Long Dark won the Webby Award for Best Writing (Games)

·           2 Dope Queens won the Webby People’s Voice Award for Comedy (Podcasts & Digital Audio)

·           Instagram DeepText won the Webby Award for Best Use of Machine Learning (Mobile Sites & Apps)

·           The Players’ Tribune won the Webby Award for Sports (Websites)

·           NASA Solar System Exploration won the Webby Award for Science (Websites)

·           Atlas Obscura won the Webby People’s Voice Award for Travel (Websites)

·           Night Sky won the Webby People’s Voice Award for Best Use of Augmented Reality (Mobile Sites & Apps)

·           Cuphead won the Webby Award for Best Visual Design (Games) and the People’s Voice Award for Best Art Direction (Games)

 

Webby Special Achievement Awards this year.

Webby Person of the Year: Susan Fowler for fearlessly using the Internet to expose a deep culture of misogyny and sexual harassment at Uber and calling on the tech industry to take a stand against harassment of any kind. In a year marked by stories of sexual harassment and assault across industries, Fowler’s personal and powerful account helped to ignite the global #MeToo movement.

Webby Lifetime Achievement: Mitchell Baker for her decades of leadership at Mozilla, her pioneering vision to make the Firefox browser open source, and her role as a fierce champion of a free and open web. With growing threats to Internet freedom, from censorship to the dismantling of net neutrality, Baker has been one of the world’s most influential leaders on open source and one of the greatest defenders of an open, collaborative Internet community.

Webby Special Achievement: FKA twigs for her incredible contributions to digital culture and for embracing the Internet as the ultimate creative platform to share experimental new art, from her Instagram magazine to her surprise EP release.

Webby Best Actress: Laura Linney for her spellbinding work as Wendy in the critically acclaimed Netflix original series Ozark. Linney brings her exceptional talent to a complex role on one of the most binge-watched and talked-about new series this year.

Webby Special Achievement: Jesse Williams for bridging the gap between activism and entertainment with his newest app, BLeBRiTY, and his use of social media to call attention to the lack of diversity in both the entertainment and tech space.

Webby Film & Video Person of the Year: Steven Soderbergh for pushing the boundaries of what is possible through digital storytelling and enhancing the viewer experience with his new interactive mobile filmmaking app, Mosaic.

Webby Special Achievement: David Chang for bringing nuanced and difficult conversations on food, authenticity, and cultural appropriation to the Internet with the Netflix instant-hit Ugly Delicious. Chang broke the mold with his eight-episode streaming series, making it more than just a show, but a brilliant digital platform for innovation and cultural understanding.

Webby Best Athlete: Chris Long for his work both on and off the football field, and for donating his salary this season to fund scholarships in Charlottesville and educational equity programs around the country.

Entertainment highlights from the 22nd Annual Webby Awards Winners include:

·           JAY-Z: Smile won the Webby Award for Best Individual Performance (Film & Video)

·           Kourtney Kardashian won the Webby People’s Voice Award for Celebrity/Fan (Website)

·           The Daily Show: Social Media won the Webby People’s Voice Awards for Humor and Best Writing (Social)

·           Katy Perry’s Chained to the Rhythm Campaign won the Webby People’s Voice Award for Music (Social)

·           Game of Thrones won Webby People’s Voice Awards for Best Overall Social Presence – Media/Entertainment (Social), Trailer (Film & Video), and Digital Campaign (Advertising, Media & PR)

·           CNN’s Anthony Bourdain’s Explore Parts Unknown: Return to Catalunya won the Webby People’s Voice Award for Travel & Adventure (Film & Video)

·           RuPaul: What’s the Tee with Michelle Visage won the Webby Award for Best Host (Podcasts & Digital Audio)

·           Gaga: Five Foot Two won Webby People’s Voice Awards for Music and Best Editing (Film & Video)

·           Coachella won the Webby People’s Voice Award for Events (Websites)

·           Vogue.com Meryl Streep Cover Interview with Anna Wintour won the Webby Award for Variety (Film & Video)

·           The Late Show with Stephen Colbert #PUBERME Campaign won the Webby Award for Celebrity/Fan (Social)

·           Gigi Gorgeous won the Webby Award for Trailer (Film & Video)

·           Curb Your Enthusiasm – Binge on Curb won the Webby Award for Best Use of Video (Social)

·           Pandora won the Webby Award for Best Streaming Audio (Mobile Sites & Apps)

·           The Simpsons “Donald Trump’s First 100 Days in Office” won the Webby Award for Comedy: Individual Short or Episode (Film & Video)

·           HBO NOW won the Webby Award for Entertainment (Mobile Sites & Apps)

The Academy announced the first-ever Webby for Media Company of the Year. National Geographic received the historic Webby Award, with the most pieces of celebrated work across all Webby categories and an impressive 26 wins overall. Condé Nast and VICE were among those in close contention for Webby Media Company of the Year.

by Nadine Matthews on May 14th 2018

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