Hundreds of celebrants braved a muggy night and a torrential downpour to acknowledge the recipients of the Peabody Awards, an eclectic bunch that ran the gamut from documentarian Alex Gibney to NBC News correspondent Richard Engel to “Serial” podcaster Sarah Koenig to comedians Amy Schumer and John Oliver.
The “Serial” award struck one of the most intriguing notes of the evening, as it is the first podcast to win a Peabody. Koenig, the force behind the series, told the crowd assembled at Cipriani Wall Street in Manhattan that much of the program was recorded in her basement, with blankets used to muffle unwanted sounds.
NPR, PBS and CNN were among the bigger winners of the night, though the event took on a different tone as host Fred Armisen moved from talking about real news programming to satire and parody. Tina Fey took the stage to present a Peabody — and a big mouth-kiss — to Amy Schumer, noting “Amy’s honesty is making everyone furious” as it is displayed in the Comedy Central program “Inside Amy Schumer.”
Oliver came to the stage last, after CBS anchor Charlie Rose read a brief but stirring introduction explaining how Oliver was as much a journalist as any other person in the room – even though he used humor to help make daunting topics such as net neutrality intriguing to a broader crowd. “I didn’t hear what Charlie Rose said,” Oliver told the crowd. “I can only assume it was” an expletive that is typically used to mean ‘false.’
Other highlights of the presentation included Gibney noting “I feel good” in accepting his award for the HBO James Brown docu “Mr. Dynamite: The Rise of James Brown” and one of the producers of Cartoon Network’s “Adventure Time” offering to draw sketches of Peabody attendees.
The 74th annual Peabody ceremony marked the first time the event was given a night-time awards show treatment complete with red carpet. Highlights of the three-hour ceremony will air June 21 on cabler Pivot.