Jamie Kennedy, pictured here in the film "Kickin' It Old Skool,"… (Yari Film )
Whatever you did for New Year’s Eve, you can rest happily knowing that your night was probably better than Jamie Kennedy’s. The actor, perhaps best known for his role in the “Scream” movies, agreed to host “First Night,” a live New Year’s Eve celebration on KDOC-TV.
The night was meant to be a freewheeling party with a Southern California vibe. Kennedy was joined by a number of other celebrities who, like him, hit their peak around the turn of the millennium, including “American Pie” actress Shannon Elizabeth, hip-hop group Bone Thugs-N-Harmony and soul singer Macy Gray.
What he probably didn’t count on is that the broadcast would become the first viral Internet sensation of 2013, but for all the wrong reasons. The show was riddled with technical errors, uncensored language and sloppy performances – particularly by Gray, whose slurred speech and temporal confusion had viewers wondering what she’d been sipping back in the green room. So thorough was the chaos that even the countdown to midnight was off by 10 seconds.
Were it not for the cruelties of the Internet, KDOC’s dark night of the soul might have faded into obscurity. Alas, the broadcast quickly went viral, thanks largely to a boost from comedian Patton Oswalt, who tweeted a highlight reel compiled by a particularly enthusiastic YouTube viewer. “Sweet. Jesus. KDOC Channel 56’s live 2012 New Year's Eve broadcast. Does ANYONE have the full show? I am speechless,” he wrote.
From there, it was picked up by outlets ranging from PerezHilton to the Huffington Post. “First Night” was such a train wreck that some have even speculated it was all meant as a hoax. After all, Kennedy once hosted his own prank show, "The Jamie Kennedy Experiment." So was it really meant to be that bad?
Well, sort of.
Kennedy told the New York Times he “wanted to make almost an anti-New Year’s Eve show, and the recipe calls for unexpected.” He also explained that guests were treated to an open bar, and the special was broadcast from an especially raucous stretch of Hollywood Boulevard at the height of New Year’s Eve debauchery. His goal wasn’t to make a perfect show but instead something spontaneous and imperfect, a la Jerry Lewis telethons of yore. ”I didn’t stab nobody, I didn’t shoot nobody. I just made a New Year’s Eve special. Is that so bad?” he also said.
KDOC officials were not available for comment.
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