Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Tim Robbins Surprises Broadcasters With Speech

Tim Robbins has delivered a brilliant speech that's been compared to Murrow's "wires and lights in a box" speech in 1958. He was spontaneously asked by David Bianculli and the crowd to give the pre-written keynote opening speech Monday at the 2008 National Association of Broadcasters convention in Las Vegas after some confusion about his giving the speech due to its controversial nature.

The audio version is here.

David Bianculli, who was there, reports on how the delivery of the speech came about:
"Robbins opened by mentioning the speech he'd written, but was asked not to read. He said its text would be available, eventually, elsewhere, in some other medium. Then, as a segue to the Q&A presentation, I pointed out that I had read the speech in the green room backstage, likened it in terms of content and setting to the Murrow and Minow speeches, and pointed out that a few years ago at the Oscars, Robbins had gotten a lot of heat for speaking out against the Iraq war.

At that point, many of the attendees applauded in support, and I looked over and saw a gleam in Robbins' eyes. Then somebody in the crowd yelled out "Speech!" (The guy who approached me afterward and said he was the culprit was Jim Sardar, assistant news director for WLNS in Lansing, MI -- but there may be as many claimants to this particular crowd shout as to the call of "Judas!" when Dylan went electric.)

Robbins reached into his pocket and pulled out the speech he had written, and asked if he should. The crowd applauded. I pointed out, jokingly but accurately, this would markedly reduce my role as moderator -- and that was that. Robbins left his chair, went to the podium, and was off."

I'm waiting and hoping to see this pop up on YouTube.