If you saw James Cordon’s debut on The Late Late Show (formerly with Craig Ferguson), then you probably saw Tom Hanks’ most recent viral video in which he performed a two man retrospective of his career in under seven minutes. Which brings me to thinking about how some actors predating a certain generation seem to get the viral internet thing and how some (okay, most) just don’t. Tom Hanks gets it, and he probably understands the importance of his internet presence and how it relates to his cool factor with newer, younger, internet savvy audiences. Tom Hanks will probably never not be cool, and no little thanks to his game participation in late night and internet shorts, games, and gimmicks. Here are a list of just a few of them, in case you forgot how cool Tom Hanks is.
Saturday Night Live‘s recurring Celebrity Jeopardy sketch usually features guests and cast members masquerading as dumb versions of other celebrities – yet Tom Hanks opted to play a dumb version of himself. Not only wasn’t he a parody of anyone else, he wasn’t even really a parody of himself – just a spectacularly dim version of himself. While Darryl Hammond’s Sean Connery is perhaps merely obscene and antagonistic and other celebrity contestants are hampered by their own inflated personalities, Hanks’ version of himself is just plain, adorably, stupid – almost like a clumsy puppy.
Tom Hanks appeared on The Colbert Report as a special guest with some economic and fun Halloween costume ideas for kids – except it turned out that every costume idea he advocated was a character from one of his movies. Colbert accused Hanks of shameless self-promotion at the children’s expense, which Hanks tried to deny while promoting DVDs – specifically DVDs of his movies – to give out to children as a healthy alternative to Halloween candy. A surprise appearance by another celebrity at the end of the segment really just ties it all together beautifully.
Hanks pretends to be involved in the beauty pageant business with his young daughter, presenting a segment which details the training and rehearsal involved in entering this daughter into the “Miss Ultimate Sexy Baby Nevada” beauty competition. Hanks comes off as one of those over-bearing pageant parents from programs like Toddlers and Tiaras, pushing their kids into winning these competitions for their own satisfaction. Kimmel makes an appearance late in the segment as one of the hopeful pageant dads, but both Hanks and Kimmel lose out to Ron Howard and his daughter Rhonda.
I don’t really know anything about Jepson and this song is just another generic ear worm pop song, but the music video makes you love it more than is completely reasonable. Hanks lip syncs Jepson’s lyrics throughout the video, which is at first funny and awkward and then grows to seem not only totally natural, but an expression of joy. Hanks basically plays himself throughout the video – and naturally everyone loves Tom Hanks, so he spends a lot of his time walking down the street and giving people high fives. In the end, Hanks and Jepson meet on set to film the music video that’s already in progress and dance the rest of the video away in rapturous, group dance number fashion. It just makes me happy.
If one thing is true about Tom Hanks its that he has exquisite comedic timing. The ‘Burbs may not be the best movie ever made, but its one of my favorites simply to watch Hanks time his outbursts and pace his lines in that perfect and unexpected way that results in utter hilarity. He brings that timing and unexpected pace to this slam poem about the show Full House and how kind of weird it is that three men are raising three young girls. Hanks dresses in the required black turtleneck of the beat poet and weaves a rhythm to enchant and entertain – and actually kind of makes you think about how weird Full House was as a premise.
Back before viral videos were the norm – indeed, the requirement if you’re a cutting edge late night talk show – Tom Hanks knew his way around a comedy sketch or parody interview. Martin Short dabbled in hosting his own talk show for quite a few years, which resulted in a celebrity interviewer character named Jiminy Glick – an overweight, sweaty, uncouth, ridiculous man who often just didn’t do his research and frequently offended his guests. This character resulted in his own dedicated show called Primetime Glick in which he would interview various celebrities. On one occasion, this celebrity was Tom Hanks. Now, Martin Short is not a man to be caught off guard easily, especially when in character, but Hanks managed it – leaving Short speechless and stunned before carrying on with the sketch.