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 meagre 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 colour 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.
Actress Meryl Streep and singer-activist Alicia Keys were due to close out the evening.
Dunham and Ferrera joined Chelsea Clinton in a panel discussion earlier in the day hosted by Glamour magazine. Asked whether they looked forward to Trump’s tweets in response to their appearances, favourite Trump target Dunham wasn’t worried.
“He’s already called me a B-lister with no mojo, so what’s coming next?” she smiled.
Ferrera said she’s fared better with Trump: “He’s talked a lot about America. He keeps trying to make me great again. I don’t know why. I’ve been great for years.”
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Ferrera urged young voters not to sit out the election, and both pledged to support Hillary Clinton and urged Bernie Sanders supporters to come on board. Ferrera recalled watching Clinton gracefully turn over supporters to Barack Obama in 2008, saying Sanders supporters should do the same.
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 MoveOn.org’s “United Against Hate” effort.