When I heard that Madonna would be presenting the Vito Russo Award to Anderson Cooper at the 24th annual GLAAD Media Awards, I thought, “Oh. I guess Madonna and Anderson Cooper know each other. From a Vanity Fair Oscar’s party or something? Maybe Anderson takes kickboxing classes from Lourdes. Did Madonna owe Andy Cohen a favor? Did Anderson Cooper owe Andy Cohen a favor? People make so many deals with Andy Cohen, it’s possible he is literally the devil. Why can’t I stop thinking about this?” And then I kept thinking about it.
But then I realized what was really going on: This was a marvelous opportunity for Madonna to be Madonna.
Sure, her cutesy tribute to Mr. Cooper had its moments, as she called the silver Vanderbilt scion “brave” and a “a bad-ass motherf*cker.” But the sheer spectacle of Madonna was the real GLAAD triumph here, as she took to the stage in a Cub Scout uniform to rail against the Boy Scouts’ homophobic policy (“They should change their stupid f*cking rule,” she deadpanned), call attention to issues ranging from bullying and discrimination to freedom of speech and artistic expression, and offer to start a “revolution.” All the headmistress pomp and kooky auntie charm I needed from Madonna came true — and it was accompanied by a Lauren Bacall ’do and a slightly slurred delivery that made me wonder which vodka brand sponsored the big event.
Maybe you’ll think different than I did, but I really thought this speech gave you everything fun, bizarre, and righteous you’ve come to expect from Madonna, and that certainly includes a dash of embarrassment. The woman can still work a crowd, and more importantly, she can still taunt a crowd. And luckily, Anderson too — when Madonna called him out for attending three of her international shows, I whooped in a way I haven’t since I first saw Tony Ward‘s work in the Sex book.
Other recipients at the GLAAD Media Awards included How to Survive a Plague for Outstanding Documentary, The Amazing Race for Outstanding Reality Program, and Smash for Outstanding Drama Series. But now Madonna is a shoo-in for next year’s Outstanding Drunken Comedic Dead Serious Monologue From A Woman Whose Legend Surpasses Most Of Greek Mythology. I hope she accepts that award after giving herself her own speech — while wearing a killer tuxedo fitted over a cone bra.