If the launch party Thursday for Verizon’s new mobile streaming service was intended to signal that great content was coming to the marketplace, consider the message received.
Surprise performances from Kanye West and Zach Galifianakis at Beverly Hills’ Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts provided a strong indication that Verizon is bringing its A game to go90, a new mobile streaming service aimed at U.S. millennials.
Celebrities including Emmy Rossum, Joe Manganiello, Freida Pinto, Zoe Saldana, John Legend, Chrissy Teigen and Shaun White were on hand to take in what was billed simply as a “Surprise Celebrity Musical Performance.” That turned out to be West on an outdoor stage clouded so thoroughly by a hyperactive fog machine that you could barely see the man rip through abridged versions of his catalog of hits.
His set was preceded by “Special Live Performance by Funny Or Die,” which doesn’t exactly narrow it down considering the thousands of comedians who have appeared on that humor website over the years. Luckily, it turned out to be a performance of one of Funny Or Die’s most popular recurring sketches: “Between Two Ferns,” a faux talk show hosted by Galifianakis.
He was joined by Ted Danson and Bryan Cranston, who gamely fielded insulting questions. Galifianakis showed no mercy in particular to Danson, ridiculing everything in his career from an early TV commercial he did for Colt 45 to forgettable sitcoms like “Becker.” Ever the pro, Danson deflected jabs while still managing to plug his charitable work for preserving the world’s oceans. “What is your favorite ocean?” Galifianakis responded.
(Pictured: Freida Pinto and Chrissy Teigen at the sneak peek party for go90)