The best award shows hinge on having a talented host, and the SXSW Interactive Innovation Awards have boasted some fantastic emcees over the years. Below is a list of our esteemed emcees from past awards ceremonies.
2015: James Adomian
Brilliant standup comedian and actor James Adomian brought his contagious energy and kept us in stitches at the 2015 Awards ceremony. James’s memorable characters appear on screen, on stage and all over the podcast-o-sphere. Recent credits include Comedy Central's gut-busting hits like@Midnight, The Meltdown with Jonah & Kumail, Drunk History and IFC's Maron and Comedy Bang! Bang! – just to name a few, but the list goes on. Recently, he co-starred in Hits, the directorial film debut of David Cross and is developing The Embassy, a hacktivist / whistleblower comedy project with Scott Aukerman. Adomian also has an impressive list of web shorts on Funny or Die along with his standup album Low Hangin' Fruit which is available on Earwolf. For more of his work, check out some of James' recent work at jamesadomian.com, on his tumblr page, or follow him on twitter: @JAdomian.
2014: Jessica Chobot
Jessica Chobot currently serves as a host for Nerdist News at Nerdist.com, as well as a freelance host for both TV and Web. The first half of her career was spent at IGN Entertainment where she hosted the popular web shows IGN Strategize and The Daily Fix. From there she transitioned into television where she hosted G4TV's Proving Ground and was a field correspondent for G4's Attack of the Show and X-Play.
2013: Aisha Tyler
Aisha Tyler hosted the SXSW Interactive Awards Ceremony in 2013. Tyler is an actor, comedian, director, author and activist. She currently co-hosts the hit CBS daytime talker The Talk. Aisha also voices superspy Lana Kane on F/X’s edgy hit comedy Archer, which has won the television critics’ choice award for best animated show two years in a row. Aisha joined the brand new Whose Line Is It Anyway, taking over for the fantastic Drew Carey. The show debuted July 16th on The CW. Aisha also the created, produces and hosts the hit podcast Girl on Guy with Aisha Tyler. “A show about stuff guys love brought to you by the ultimate guy’s girl,” iTunes named Girl on Guy a “best new comedy podcast for 2011” and the podcast has been nominated for Stitcher and Webby awards.
2012: Jenny Slate and Gabe Liedman
For the first time in 2012, the SXSW Interactive Awards featured co-hosts. Gabe Liedman and Jenny Slate met in Y2K. They are a non-sexual life partners and also writing / performing comedy duo who host a wonderful weekly show called Big Terrific in Brooklyn, New York. You've heard Gabe on This American Life and have seen him in videos by The Onion. Jenny is the co-creator of the Marcel The Shell with Shoes On films and books, and is an SNL alum. Check out Gabe & Jenny's web series Bestie x Bestie on Vimeo.
2011: Chris Hardwick
Chris Hardwick took the helm of the newly-renamed SXSW Interactive Awards in 2011 and delivered a night full of laughs. Hardwick made his name as professional stand-up comedian and a self-proclaimed nerd. He writes for Wired Magazine and is the face of AMC’s first live after show Talking Dead, which airs as a platform to discuss the network’s highly rated show The Walking Dead. In 2008, Chris founded Nerdist, a website and podcast devoted to all things nerd related. In 2011, Nerdist merged with GeekChicDaily to form Nerdist Industries with Hardwick serving as Founder & Chief Creative Officer and digital media entrepreneur Peter Levin serving as Chief Executive Officer. Their online presence includes a website at Nerdist.com, a premium YouTube channel, the Nerdist News daily e-newsletters, 1.7 million Twitter fans and a podcast network including the flagship Nerdist Podcast which is also produced as a TV show on BBC America.
2010: Doug Benson
Standup comedian Doug Benson directed the night at the 13th annual SXSW Web Awards Ceremony in 2010. From his many appearances on Comedy Central Presents, NBC’s Last Comic Standing, VH-1’s Best Week Ever, The Sarah Silverman Program, HBO’s Curb Your Enthusiasm and his own documentary “Super High Me” - Doug Benson proves time and time again that he is quite the entertainer. Benson is probably best known these days for his podcast Doug Loves Movies and his Comedy Central show The Benson Interruption.
2009: Baratunde Thurston
Baratunde Thurston is the CEO, co-founder, and hashtagger-in-chief of Cultivated Wit. He wrote the New York Times bestseller How To Be Black and served for five years as director of digital for the satirical news outlet, The Onion. When he’s not delivering keynote talks at gatherings such as SXSW Interactive, LeWeb, and Personal Democracy Forum, he writes the monthly back page column for Fast Company and contributes to the MIT Media Lab as a director’s fellow. He co-founded the black political blog, Jack and Jill Politics, has advised the Obama White House, has more than 10 years experience in standup comedy, and more than 30 years experience being black.
2008: Eugene Mirman
Eugene Mirman voices “Gene” on Fox’s hit animated series Bob’s Burgers. In the streets he’s sometimes recognized as Eugene, the landlord, from Flight of the Conchords or from his role as comedian/mobster Yvgeny Mirminsky on Adult Swim’s Delocated. On Aqua Teen Hunger Force he’s Dr. Eugene Mirman and on Home Movies he was Eugene, the Russian foreign exchange student. The Village Voice named Mirman Best New York City Comedian, Time Out New York named him one of “50 Funniest”, and Paste Magazine called Mirman one of the 10 best comedians of the last decade. He’s released three comedy albums (the last two on Sub Pop records) and an incredibly funny parody-ish self-help book, The Will to Whatevs.
2007: Ze Frank
Ze Frank is an American online performance artist, composer, humorist and public speaker based in Los Angeles. He pioneered the vlogging format in March 2006 when he launched the daily video program "the show with ze frank." The format of this program combined commentary on media and current events with viewer contributions and activities. Each tightly edited three-to-five-minute episode combined Daily Show-style commentary on world events with songs, observations, and occasional games or challenges for his viewers to participate in. His work has inspired such shows as the vlogbrothers, Philip DeFranco and Wheezy Waiter. Frank currently serves as the Executive Vice President of Video at BuzzFeed.
2006 and 2005: Laura Swisher
Watchers of television will have seen Swisher's work as a producer on “The Daily Show,” “Onion News Network,” “The Independent Spirit Awards.” Bravo and elsewhere. A news and pop culture junkie, she has interviewed a bazillion celebrities on sets and red carpets, in TV studios, at junkets, and, on more than one occasion, in a moving vehicle. Technology geeks may recognize her from Tech TV and G4 as the co-host of “Unscrewed with Martin Sargent," the show that broadcast funny, weird and disturbing web clips back when people still had Friendster profiles. Swisher’s stand-up has been featured on Comedy Central’s “Premium Blend” and “Comics Unleashed." Finally, Arianna Huffington, Salma Hayek and Baby Spice have all made favorable comments about her hair.
2000-2004: John Halcyon Styn
The first official emcee of the "SXSW Web Awards," Styn is a blogger, entrepreneur, web designer, author, and Web celebrity who "pushed the boundaries of online self-expression" through his various online projects. He is currently the co-founder of 1st Saturdays, a homeless outreach project, and host of Hug Nation. He first achieved internet notoriety when one of his stories got him into trouble with Fruit of the Loom. This company sent a cease and desist order on March 2, 1998 demanding that he take down a parody of their logo that he made for a blog post. The post is still up. Styn also contributes to the Burning Blog, the official blog of Burning Man.