Graydon Carter introduction is kiss of death

Graydon

It was not quite as short as a Webby Awards acceptance speech, but Graydon Carter's introduction of John Hayes at Tuesday night's UJA-Federation of New York dinner lasted a scant 74 seconds. It was a big night for Hayes, the longtime American Express CMO whom UJA was honoring with its Global Leadership Award for his charitable efforts. Carter, editor of Vanity Fair and restauranteur, praised Hayes' work but burned most of his seconds talking about himself. "I left a very nice dinner I was having with some friends to help do this. And I didn't have to do it. But I really wanted to do it," Carter began. He went on to say that "John and American Express have done more for the creative community in this city than any business executive or any company. That is something to be hugely proud of. He has a lot of friends in the city, and I'm honored to be one of them." Then, it was more about Carter, who pulled out his AmEx Black card. "Plus, he said he'd waive the annual fee for this." The line generated laughs from the hundreds gathered at the Lighthouse at Pier Sixty in Chelsea. But as the laughter ended, so did Carter's introduction, as he abruptly called Hayes to the dais. As Hayes launched into his own speech ("No, the fee is not waived"), Carter was nearly out the door. Sorry to have interrupted your dinner.

—Posted by Andrew McMains