Tongal’s Superstars converge in Hollywood for the 3rd annual Tongie awards!


For the third year in a row I was lucky enough to get an invite to Tongal’s annual award ceremony in LA and for the third year in a row I had a damn good time.  I got back on Saturday but as always it took me a few days to recuperate from my trip.  I’ve finally started going through my photos and this year I’ve got some great ones to share.

The festivities started on Wednesday at the Tongie’s Eve Cocktail party in Santa Monica.  My girlfriend Carla and I showed up a little late and as we were walking up to the venue we could hear someone singing an Everclear song in the patio area.  Carla asked, “so is this like a karaoke party? Whoever’s singing sounds really good.”  But of course it wasn’t a karaoke party.  We walked into the patio and up on stage was the lead singer of Everclear, Art Alexakis doing an acoustic set for about 200 very surprised guests.  (Here’s a pic).  After we soaked in the scene, I managed to find and say hello to some of my favorite Tonglers and Tongal staff members.  I learned the hard way that you shouldn’t over-do it at the Wednesday night reception (last year I decided to try all of the custom cocktails and my brain was a little fuzzy the next day) so Carla and I slipped out before it got too late.

On Thursday we took a trip to the LACMA, had lunch (and pudding) from some food trucks and picked up my tux.  We did a quick change back at the hotel and then we inched our way through LA traffic to get to the awards dinner at the Avalon in Hollywood. 

The show started with a surprise aerial act.  It was a big hit and it really got people amped up for the show.  This kind of spectacle was a good fit and I hope Tongal does some more crazy stuff like this next year.


As always, the event was MC’ed by Tongal co-founder, Rob Salvatore….


…and individual awards were handed out by various staff members.  Here’s Tongal co-founder Mark Burrell reading the nominees for best comedy video.


The winners were….Pretty Nifty Productions.


After about half an hour it was time for a dessert/cocktail/photo break.  Here I am posing with my lovely lady friend….


And here’s friend of VCN, Joel Levinson with his wife Randy.


I managed to make some new friends this time around including these two guys; Eric McCoy and Justus Meyer.  Their Tongal team “McCoy Meyer” was nominated in the Best Comedy category.  This guys do amazing work and right now the Devin Kurtz music video they made is spreading all over the web.  You know you’ve hit the big time when even Perez Hilton is saying your work is awesome.


Here’s a shot of the theater just before everyone went back to your seats. The place is huge and I’m still kind of amazed that Tongal would rent out such a baller venue.


Here’s a shot of all the Tongalers that were inducted into the Tongal hall of fame this year.


The crowd gave the inductees a standing ovation but one dude at the table next to mine gave me a smirky stink eye when I tried to get a pic of the crowd. Frankly, I don’t blame him.


The party continued after the awards ceremony ended.  Here’s a semi-blurry shot of Tongal’s three co-founders, Mark Burrell, Rob Salvatore and James DeJulio as they introduce a surprise musical guest, guitar legend Johnny Marr of The Smiths.


As I’ve said, I’ve been to the Tongies three times now and Johnny Marr put on the best post-ceremony show yet.


Up near the front of the venue, folks were cramming together to get their picture taken at the digital photo booth.


And the winners showed off their new hardware. Here’s “Best Idea” winner, Tina Radel with her new Tongie.


The “Best Comedy” winners, Pretty Nifty Productions went on to be named the Tonglers of the Year.  After they got their awards, a rep from Mastercard (they’re a To gal partner) came out on stage and surprised the guys with a trip to Japan.




On our way out we were given weird cardboard viewer-dealies that you can stick a smart phone into. Carla was good enough to demonstrate how they work.


So that’s it; another Tongies is in the books. As always the show was a big success and I personally had a great time. I’d like to thank all my friends at Tongal for being such amazing hosts.  And I’d like to extend a special thank you and congrats to Tongal’s Senior VP of Creative and Strategy, Caleb Light-Wills.  Caleb was hard at work behind the scenes so I didn’t get any shots of him…which is a shame because at one point he was walking around carrying a giant manatee.  Yes, seriously.

If you’ve made it all the way down to the bottom of this post and you’ve still got Tongie fever, head here to watch all the videos that were honored this year:

Only 4 days to go until the 2016 Tongie Awards!

Hey now!  I just checked my calendar and I was shocked to see that we’re just 4 days away from the third annual Tongie awards in Los Angeles!  I’ll be there again this year so if you’re going too, be sure to say hi to Dan from  (Here’s what I look like. So keep your eyes open for a big, handsome beardo)  I always meet a lot of great people at the Tongies but I have had a few awkward conversations; every year about 4 or 5 people get excited to meet me but only because they think I run  But last year I did meet a nominee that said he discovered Tongal thanks to the ads on my site.  So I think that proves once and for all that reading VCN can change your life and bring you lots of money and accolades and fun and friendship.

Speaking of fun and accolades, Tongal is giving away a new LEGO Ghostbusters Firehouse set via Instagram.  If you’d like a shot at winning it, just follow them at @tongalteam and post some photos with the hashtag #tongies3 and mention @tongalteam.  If you’re going to the event this year maybe you can post some shots of your outfit.  And if you’re not going, maybe you can take some pics of yourself sitting alone in a dark room as you daydream about being at such a kick ass party.

UPDATE:  I just got an email that says Tongal will be live-streaming the Tongie awards this year.  Here are the details:

“Just head to Tongal this Thursday, March 3rd at 7:00 PM PST; once the live broadcast begins the site will redirect you to the Tongies ReelTime Page.”

If you watch the livestream and see me, be sure to wave!

Today’s the last day to vote for the 2016 Tongie awards!

tongies-vote1Oh snap! I just went to to vote for the 3rd annual Tongie awards and I realized that today is the last day to vote!  So if you want to help pick this year’s winners you better hustle over there and start watching the finalists.  Voting closes today, Wednesday, January 20th at 8PM Eastern/5PM Pacific.  Here’s a tip:  The last category you will vote for is “Tongaler of the Year.”  So as you go through the other categories, take note of some of the teams that really stand out.  You’ll probably see their names again when it’s time to vote for the last category.

Video highlights from the 2015 Tongie awards

Whoa wait a second, has it really been three months since the 2015 Tongie awards?  It feels like the ceremony was just last weekend.  Let me tell you folks something, if you haven’t been to the Tongies before I recommend that you try and lock up an invite for 2016 by entering and winning as many Tongal contests as you can this year.  Ok maybe that’s easier said than done but hey, it won’t hurt to try.  If you need some motivation, check out this newly released video full of highlights from the 2015 extravaganza:

The Masters of the Tongal-verse converge in LA for the 2nd annual Tongie awards

That’s me flanked by my video contest buddies HappyJoel Levinson and Joe “Bisbinetts” Binetti

For the second year in a row I was lucky enough to get an invitation to the Video Contest Prom, AKA the 2015 Tongie awards in Los Angeles, California.  The main event took place on Thursday night but I’m still recuperating after 2 straight days of sunshine and cocktails and tuxedos and hugs.  I think it goes without saying that the folks at Tongal know how to throw an amazing party.  But the thing that makes the Tongies so special are the people.  I gotta say, it’s kinda trippy to walk into a party and recognize dozens of people from the Internet.  And it’s even weirder when they start recognizing you too.  On Wednesday night, Tongal treated their staff, the Tongie nominees, their clients and various FOTs (friends of Tongal) to a Welcome Reception at a great spot across from the Santa Monica Pier.  This photo should give you an idea of just how many people were invited to this thing….


That’s a lot of name tags!  And I showed up a little late so about half the crowd had already picked up their tags by the time I got there.  If I had to guess, I’d say that Tongal flew in at least 150 people this year.  Mingling at the cocktail party was lots of fun because I basically just walked up and said hello to anyone I recognized from the web.  Like these guys….

"Mr. Tongal" and the Rez FX team
“Mr. Tongal” and the REZ FX team

And it was also great to see all the Tongal staff members that I usually only get to converse with via e-mail….

Tongal employees Ingrid and Romi try and eject a random bum that wandered in from the pier

The bar was serving special Tongal-themed cocktails that night.  It was my intention to try all three but I only sampled the Pitch and the Idea.  The idea was so tasty that I had to stick with it for the rest of the night.  After a few of those, I realized that I was genuinely buzzed so I ghosted early and walked back to our super swanky hotel.


The next day I jumped in my rental car to knock two important items off my So-Cal bucket list.  I had chicken and waffles and the original Roscoe’s in Hollywood and then I went to the La Brea Tar pits.  I highly recommend both activities if you’re in LA and love chicken and/or waffles and/or wooly mammoth skeletons.  After that I had to head back to the hotel and put on my tux for the Tongies!

Inside the Avalon Theater

This year the staff wanted to give everyone lots of time to meet and mingle.  So once I got to the Avalon Theater there were more cocktails and more people I recognized from the Internet.  Plus as a nice little bonus, there were plenty of photo opportunities….


Hey, here are two more people I recognized from the Interwebz.  That’s Marrissa and Justin from!

That's Marrissa from!

I’m a sucker for a nice Stand and Repeat wall so I had to get in on the action just before the ceremony started.

I think the vest was the right call.
#AfterSix  #NotAFarmer

And then it was show time!  Here’s Ideator of the Year (and my new Argentine pal) Federico accepting his Tongie.


Later in the evening I got Federico to show off his new hardware.


I forgot to take a pic of my program before dinner so here it is covered in coffee and cake crumbs.

I managed to get coffee and some of my churros y chocolate on my program.

The ceremony flew by and before we knew it, Tongal president and co-founder, James DeJulio was announcing the Tongalers of the Year, Extraneous Noise.


After that, it was time for more partying.  I switched from cocktails to beer and churros and rocker Chuck Prophet performed a mini-concert while Tongalers in tuxedos and fancy dresses danced in front of the stage.  I went towards the front of the house to catch some air and there I found one of the masterminds behind the Tongies, Caleb Light-Wills still hard at work.


Here’s a relived-looking Caleb about 15 seconds after he completed his final official task of the evening.


I slipped out before midnight and when I walked outside I looked down and realized I was standing right on top of Cecil B. Demille’s star on the Hollywood walk of fame.


It felt like a fitting discovery since De Mille was one of the world’s first truly great filmmakers.  He directed his first movie in 1914.  He was there for the birth of a brand new medium.  And here we were, 101 years later, celebrating the birth of another new form of media.  Can you imagine what old Cecil would think if someone tried to explain to him what the heck Tongal is and how it works?  If his brain didn’t implode on the spot, he probably would have fallen to his knees in wonder as he watched just one of the wild, weird, sweet, slick or delightful ads that actually won Tongies this year.

And speaking of those ads, I wish I could post some of the winning videos but I can’t embed them here.  So if you’d like to see who was inducted into the Tongal Hall of Fame and watch the Video of the Year, the Best Broadcast Spot, the Best Comedy Video, The best Animation (that one would really make Cecil lose his mind), the Best Short Form Video, the Best Long Form Video, the Best Original Song, the Best Wildcard Video and best Gig video, head here:

On a personal note, I just want to say Thank You to all the great folks at Tongal for inviting me and putting on a great slate of events.  I’ve already heard some buzzing about the 2016 Tongies so hopefully we’ll get to do it all again next year!