CES: Attack of the celebrity guest


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LAS VEGAS -- Keynote speakers at trade shows like to bring celebrities up to the stage as a way of flexing their company’s muscles or basking in the star’s glow. The risk, though, is that the speaker will be upstaged or mocked by the guest. Or both, which is what happened to Sony CEO Sir Howard Stringer this morning. The culprit was Tom Hanks, who’s starring in Sony’s ‘Angels and Demons’ this year, and Stringer should have known better: Hanks did the same thing to him a few years ago, back when he was trotted out to promote Sony’s ‘The Da Vinci Code’ film. I mean, do you really want someone looking up from the teleprompter, contradicting the script’s puffery about your products and then saying, ‘They write the lies, but I tell the truth’? Well, maybe you do -- after all, Hanks was hysterical. And as Stringer said, ‘I took a risk. It failed. But we’ll still be friends, at least until after the movie opens.’

Here’s a low-quality YouTube video that captures much of Hanks’ performance, although it leaves out a few choice bits at the beginning:


-- Jon Healey

Healey writes editorials for The Times’ Opinion Manufacturing Division.