Nomination fatigue? Elizabeth Banks' jokes fall flat

Staff Writer
Columbus Monthly

Tough room, Elizabeth Banks.

You could've heard crickets in the Democratic convention hall when the "Pitch Perfect" and "Hunger Games" actress attempted a joke or two in introducing a short video about Hillary Clinton.

Delegates barely laughed or clapped. Nomination fatigue? Clinton had just received the party nod.

Banks walked to the podium in white fog to Queen's "We Are the Champions," mocking a similar entrance at the Republican convention by Donald Trump.

"The Trump campaign is hard up for money. I just bought their fog machine on eBay for 30 bucks," she attempted. "I don't feel good about it. I don't."


Also taking the stage Tuesday was "Girls" creator Lena Dunham, who praised Clinton for making it easier for sexual assault survivors like herself in New York to access emergency room care. She was joined by "Superstore" star America Ferrera, who spoke of her Honduran parents and their struggles raising a family on meager salaries.

"Occasionally I needed a free meal to get through the school day," she said, citing what she called Clinton's commitment to immigrant families like hers.

Tony Goldwyn, who isn't president but plays one on "Scandal," introduced "mothers of the movement," women of color who lost children to gun violence or excessive force in police custody. He said these mothers "have turned their pain into power and their outrage into action," adding, "They understand that we must reach out to each other because of our diversity, because we are stronger together."

Debra Messing, who co-starred on "Will & Grace," introduced a first responder and a victim from the 9/11 terror attack. And singer Andra Day performed her "Rise Up," accompanied by United Percussion, a drumline and marching band.

To close out the evening, actress Meryl Streep, wearing an American flag-motif dress, likened Clinton's "grit and grace" to a host of women trailblazers through history, from Harriet Tubman to Sally Ride.

Streep spoke of Deborah Samson, who disguised herself as a man to serve in George Washington's Continental Army during the Revolutionary War. Rather than reveal her gender after being shot, she dug a musket ball out of the wound with a penknife and sewed herself up.

"These women share something in common," Streep said, "capacity of mind, fullness of heart and a burning passion for their cause. They have forged new paths so that others can follow them — men and women, generation on generation. That's Hillary. That's America. "

Streep was followed by singer and activist Alicia Keys, founder of the We Are Here social justice movement.

"Let's act on our differences and celebrate them," Keys urged as she performed a medley of her songs.

Earlier Tuesday, Bryan Cranston, who played President Lyndon B. Johnson on Broadway and HBO, appeared on a civil rights panel with 1960s-era activists and signed on to an anti-Donald Trump campaign with more than 100 other celebrities at the Democratic National Convention.

Cranston was joined by Julianne Moore, Kerry Washington, Mark Ruffalo, Neil Patrick Harris, Shonda Rhimes and Macklemore in calling on Americans to deny Trump the White House. It's part of's "United Against Hate" effort.