3rd Annual IIG Awards
The third annual IIG Awards was a star-studded spectacular featuring some of Hollywood's greatest comics, and one of skepticism's greatest investigators. It also featured the first time a TTTV award “winner” appeared on stage to receive the award, thanks to a little theatrical license.
Truly Terrible Television/Mostly Miserable Movie
Two awards for bad entertainment were given this year, and, since he's an expert on bad TV and movies thanks to his years on “Mystery Science Theater 3000,” Frank Conniff delivered the awards. The TTTV award went to A&E's “Psychic Kids: Children of the Paranormal” which not only had creepy psychics running around — that's not enough to get a TTTV — but had them manipulating children. Toying with defenseless kids for ratings definitely earned the ire of the IIG.
However, the big draw that year was the first feature film getting an MMM award. “Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed” starred Ben Stein running around America looking for Creationism being unfairly excluded from academia. He ultimately concludes that scientific evolution inspired the holocaust in one of the most disgusting scenes in motion picture history.
The acceptance of the award was in two stages. First, the other “stars” of the movie — pro-evolution luminaries misquoted and taken out of context — appeared in a video to tell their side of the story. Michael Shermer, P.Z. Meyers, and Eugenie Scott happily accepted the MMM on behalf of “Expelled.”
The second half of the acceptance was the beginning of an IIG awards tradition —an actor accepting the award posing as the actual film-maker, and then acting foolish. Some might call this a “straw man,” but we call it hilarious. Veteran character actor Ron Lynch appeared as Ben Stein, awkwardly incorporating Stein's catch phrases into the speech, and concluding with a meek “Bueller … ”
Comedian and writer Dana Gould presented an Iggie to an episode of Discovery's “Mythbusters” in which the team busted conspiratorial explanations for how the 1969 Apollo 11 moon landing was faked. The Busters even went as far as to travel in the gravity altering “vomit comet” to get some good video of what one looks like walking in moon gravity. Head Mythbusters Jamie Hyneman & Adam Savage accepted the award via video.
Beloved stand-up comic Andy Kindler emerged to present the second Iggie to Bill Maher's documentary “Religulous.” The documentary showed Maher going all over the world, examining religious claims. No one accepted the award, and we're sure that they were busy with other things, although Kindler claimed that Maher could not accept the award because he was “spending a quiet evening at home with his ego.”
Andy Kindler was joined by fellow comic Kathleen Madigan for another first — presenting an award for an episode of television that starred the presenters. This Iggie went to Comedy Central's “Lewis Black’s The Root of All Evil” for an episode comparing Scientology to Disney. Producer David Sacks graciously accepted the award.
For the first time ever, a person received an award for her work in skepticism. Actress Amanda Peet was recognized for her work in promoting vaccination, and combatting the work of lesser actresses who had recently been on an anti-vaccination bender.
Houdini Hall of Honor
For the second year in a row Paul Provenza inducted a skeptical giant in the HHH. Joe Nickell, who literally wrote the book on skeptical investigation, appeared live to see his named added to the perpetual plaque. Read Nickell's thoughts on the award, and see a montage of famous skeptics praising Nickell.
The night was so eventful, that “Skeptical Inquirer” magazine published an article about it.