People I recognize: Buscemi, Sally Field, Keegan-Michael Key, and the robot from “Westworld.” There’s no better sign of how demoralized Hollywood has been by this election than the fact that they couldn’t scrape up one A-lister for a spot like this on the day Congress reconvenes. Or maybe the A-list, which can afford to be more discriminating in its promotional opportunities, realized that celebrity PSAs have always irritated people who disagree more than they’ve persuaded the like-minded. Remember, Hillary’s “strategy” in Ohio down the stretch was to roll out LeBron James, Beyonce, Jay-Z, and, um, the cast of “The West Wing.” She lost by eight points.
Still, they keep doing these ads and they keep finding B- and C- and Z-listers who’ll show up for them. No matter how long the list of “celebrities urge…” failures gets, the churn continues. Gun control, electoral-college revolt — pick a doomed cause and there’ll be famous and sort of famous people lining up for face time. Why? Do they get a tax write-off? Is it a guild thing, where every actor has to do at least one futile celebrity PSA every five years? Worse, every one is scripted with that same maddening tic in which they repeat parts of each other’s sentences, which I guess was designed to convey unity of purpose but has long since decayed into a convention of the genre as stale as riffs on airplane food are in stand-up comedy. The format alone has you rolling your eyes before they get around to mentioning the cause they’re advocating for. Self-importance is bad, self-importance combined with a chronic total failure of creative imagination is really bad.