Here’s the thing about booing your national committee’s chairwoman out of office the morning of the national convention: There’s a whole lot of airtime to fill. Somebody needs to gavel in, introduce speakers, smile winningly, glad-hand, and chuckle her way through the talking points and the sacred mantra (exasperated sigh with me, everybody!): A! Reality! TV! Star!
On Tuesday night, actress Elizabeth Banks — of Wet Hot American Summer–deranged Modern Family pal–Pitch Perfect fame — did much of the heavy lifting as the evening’s official host. She took the podium again and again, steering us through “Bill Clinton Was Not A Disaster Night” with aplomb.
But I ask you this, my fellow Americans: Was Elizabeth Banks filling in for Debbie Wasserman Schultz … or was she staging a coup for the nomination?
On its surface, Banks’s debut on the stage — her stage — appeared to be a spoof of Donald Trump’s entrance at the Republican National Convention last week. It’s the same silhouette; the same fog machine-esque effect; the same blasting of “We Are the Champions.” I am here to tell you this: As Banks entered the Wells Fargo Center on the 26th of July, the year of our FLOTUS, she was proclaiming herself — Elizabeth Banks and Elizabeth Banks alone — champion.
You’d be forgiven for thinking things were proceeding normally. She made fun of Donald Trump’s hair, a shibboleth of Democratic decency. She drew laughs. Most importantly, she left, ceding the stage to the next round of speakers.
But then, a few speeches later, Banks returned to the stage. Then she left. Then she came back again. Her coming and going began to attract attention. Was she just tending to her host duties? Or was this something else? Banks came back a fourth time. She talked about her “lady bits.”
And then … her coup. As Bill Clinton wrapped up his day-by-day recounting of the entire 1970s, Banks returned to the stage once more and declared war. An unleashing of supporters, a declaration of candidacy and victory: ELIZABETH BANKS’S FIGHT SONG, starring Elizabeth Banks, produced by Elizabeth Banks, sung by Elizabeth Banks:
Where were you when you first laid eyes on the new regime? Have so many wow-is-that-show-still-on stars ever been gathered in the same place? Have they ever hummed and bopped with such steely commitment to bringing you over to their cause? What has Mandy Moore been doing all this time?
Maybe you don’t believe me. Maybe you’re saying to yourself: Banks was just being a good event host, and filling in for the departed chairwoman. Who stages a coup at the convention? Can you even stage a coup after the party’s nominee has officially been nominated? Banks seems nice.
To which I offer the boldest evidence of all for Elizabeth Banks’s takeover: Hillary Clinton’s supposedly live video WASN’T LIVE AT ALL.
Clinton addressed the Wells Fargo Center just after 11 p.m. Eastern. This video was made to seem as if it were live: After bursting through a montage of former (and soon-to-be-former) presidents, Clinton paused to wait (supposedly) for applause to die down, and then commented on what a great day and night (and night!) it had been. The word “live” appeared in the corner. The people around her — young and old — looked into the camera and cheered, overjoyed (supposedly) with the Democratic Party’s support and Clinton’s husband’s ability to not completely fuck up everything.
And yet. Turn your attention to the massive clock behind Clinton as she spoke to us, “live” from “New York.” Telling time is a rapidly fading skill, so I will explain this to you: The clock says that it is 12:00 on the dot. Far from carelessness: This is a proof of life presented by Banks, at least 11 hours after its filming. We all thought Chris Christie had given us this campaign cycle’s hostage video. How wrong we were. Banks had only one match, and she made an explosion.
“HISTORY,” the signs passed out before Bill Clinton’s speech read. Yes: the history of nominating the first woman as the presidential candidate of a major party — and the history of that woman being an usurper who voiced The Lego Movie.