"Sunday Morning" honors the very best self-isolating performers with an award show all their own ... and here's your host, David Pogue:
Good morning, and welcome to the first-ever Sunny Awards!
As you know, being a performing artist is difficult even under the best of times. But now, when every performer is isolated at home under lockdown, how can the show go on?
Today, we honor the actors, musicians, comedians, dancers and magicians who've somehow managed to answer that question, through ingenuity, talent, and just a little bit of technology!
[Monumental fake applause!]
And the envelopes, please…
The "'We'll Be Here All Week, Folks!' Award"
Stand-up comedians Taylor Tomlinson and Sam Morril are not just rising superstars; they had just moved in together when the shelter-in-place order came down.
So, they've turned their situation into comedy gold, in a series of homemade video skits called, "New Couple Gets Quarantined":
It's my honor to present the "We'll Be Here All Week" Award to Sam Morril and Taylor Tomlinson. Welcome to the stage!
Tomlinson: "Thank you so much!"
Morril: "Thanks for having us!"
Pogue: "And, as a token of our esteem …" [He presents the couple with the Sunny Award - It's really impressive!]
Morril: "Oh my God, look at that! I was hoping it would be food, but that's cool."
Pogue asked, "Is it a different art form creating 90-second routines than 90-minute routines?"
"Well, you called it an art form; we didn't," Morril said. "I don't know if it's an art form or just a way to pass the time."
"What was the original idea behind starting this series? Was it, like, A) boredom? B) want to hone your skills? C) quest for glory?"
"Oh, it was D) panic," Tomlinson said. "Once we realized we could not perform and wouldn't be able to for awhile, we were like, well, we have to do something that will generate love and validation from strangers. And that's how the idea was born."
The "Graduate THIS Award"
Shelbie Rassler was a senior at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, when she got word that the rest of the school year was canceled. But you can't shut a good musician up! She arranged a classic Burt Bacharach song, invited 75 of her friends to record the individual parts, and the result is spectacular:
Here to accept the "Graduate THIS Award" is the one and only Shelbie Rassler.
So, what sorts of comments do people leave when they see this video on YouTube? "The response has just been unbelievable," Rassler replied. "It is inspiring people to create their own projects, too, and reach out to their friends and make art together."
"You might have a future, Shelbie!" said Pogue.
The "Sleight of Plans Award"
You're a magician and your tour of 35 cities is canceled. What do you do? Well, if you're Alex Ramon, you decide to present those 35 shows, live, from home over the internet. A different show every night for 35 nights! [Broadcast on Zoom at 8 p.m. PST.]
Presenting the "Sleight of Plans Award" to Ramon, Pogue noted, "When you go on tour of 35 cities, you can do the same show every night."
"Oh my God! Don't remind me!" Ramon laughed. "Now, what I'm doing is, I'm doing 35 different shows from one city!"
"Do you have a special place you're going to keep that trophy?" Pogue asked.
Wait a second, it's ... disappeared! Magic!
The "When Lockdown Gives You Lemons Award"
The band Thao & and the Get Down Stay Down was just about to record their new music video, "Phenom," when the lockdown order came.
Forced to scramble, they choreographed the entire song as a Zoom video chat:
Presented with the "When Lockdown Gives You Lemons Award," Thao Nguyen, of Thao & the Get Down Stay Down, said, "Thank you so, so much! It's a true honor!"
Pogue asked, "Was that video actually created in Zoom, or was it pieced together from hundreds of shots?"
"I promise it was created in Zoom in real time," Nguyen replied.
"Well, the band's name again is Thao & the Get Down Stay Down, but Thao, I hope that in this time, you get home and stay home!"
[Editor's Note: Is it too late to get Ricky Gervais to host?]
The "Von Trapped Family Singers Award"
When New Zealand shut down, actor and musician Jack Buchanan lost months of work. So, locked down at home with his family, he wrote a new song and dance that went viral, "Family Lockdown Boogie":
"And he's here! All the way from New Zealand, to receive the 'Von Trapped Family Singers Award," Mr. Jack Buchanan!"
"Wow, thank you! It's beautiful," Buchanan gushed.
Pogue asked, "At any point, was there any pushback from the family members? Like, 'I'm not going to do that!'?"
"Um, no. There were moments where it got difficult, but we always moved forward with a good attitude and smiles and a glass of wine."
The "Endless Intermission Award"
Live theater is a tough one. How do you perform a play without sets, stages, or a live audience? Well, "Stars in the House" has it figured out. Here, Broadway star Lea Salonga sings "Somewhere," from "West Side Story":
Twice a week, "Stars in the House" presents "Plays in the House," live plays over the Internet for charity (available only for viewing as a live stream), performed by famous actors, and even famous couples, like these two, Brooke Adams and Tony Shalhoub, who are accepting the "Endless Intermission Award" on behalf of "Stars in the House."
"Oh my! What a crowd, huh?" Shalhoub beamed.
"Fantastic! I can't tell you, the Sunny Awards have been a childhood dream. Really!" Adams pretended.
"It's light, isn't it?" said Shalhoub. "It's kind of like – usually the awards are so much heavier, but this is, it's almost like it's hollow or something?"
"'Bakersfield Mist' really worked as a play for us, the audience," Pogue said, "but you guys were sitting at home. You couldn't see us or hear us. Is there anything you preferred about performing under those circumstances?"
"Well, not having to wear anything from the waist down was really good," Adams said.
"Yeah, so much more comfortable and cool!" Shalhoub added.
That brings us to the end of our first-ever Sunny Awards – and, we sincerely hope, our last! I'd like to thank our guests, our audience, and of course, our judges. Goodnight, everyone!"
[Tumultuous fake applause and cheers!]
For more info:
- Taylor Tomlinson
- Follow Taylor on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram
- Sam Morril
- Follow Sam on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram
- Follow Shelbiue Rassler on Instagram
- Magician Alex Ramon
- Thao & The Get Down Stay Down
- Follow the band on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram
- Jack Buchanan
- Stars in the House
- Follow Brooke Adams on Instagram
Story produced by David Rothman.
- - David Pogue explains how, through the magic of TV, he hosted an awards show for "Sunday Morning" in his basement, with winners hailing from around the world.