Writers Guild Spoofs Studios’ Top Labor Negotiator at Awards Ceremony: “See You on the Picket Line in 2026”

The Writers Guild of America resurfaced its 2023 strike in a comedy bit that unfurled at the union’s Los Angeles awards ceremony Sunday night.

More than half a year after the union ended its 148-day strike, the union spoofed the top negotiator representing studios and streamers during those talks, Carol Lombardini, in a raunchy and at times brutal routine at the Hollywood Palladium. Nearly an hour into the union’s annual awards ceremony and between awards presentations, host Niecy Nash-Betts began interacting with an image of “Lombardini” on a screen behind her. (Only the mouth of the image moved, and the rest was static.)

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When Nash-Betts asked why “Lombardini” was there, the image responded by congratulating the co-chairs of the WGA’s negotiating committee during the 2023 strike, David Goodman and Chris Keyser, for winning the Morgan Cox Award for service to the union. “First of all, I want to congratulate all the nominees and winners, especially David Goodman and Chris Keyser for getting the Morgan Cox Award, because when I think of David Goodman and Chris Keyser, the first word that comes to mind is ‘cocks,'” the image responded.

“Lombardini” continued: “I gotta say, kudos to WGA executive director Ellen Stutzman. You were one tough negotiator. You remind me of that show Beef, except meaner and less Korean. And all of you writers remind me of The Crown because you think you’re so high and mighty, but you’re really just a bunch of inbred crybabies.”

The bit earned groans and occasional laughter from the audience, and it didn’t end there. After Nash-Betts jokingly admonished “Lombardini,” the image continued, “I love that movie May December. May December also happens to be how long I was planning to keep the strike going. Just three more months, and you all would have lost your houses. Suck on that, overpaid a**hole content creators.”

In closing, the image made a comment on the summer 2023 box office phenomenon created by the simultaneous releases of Barbie and Oppenheimer. “I just want to say one more thing. Barbenheimer — genius film. I know it’s two films, but I think business affairs counted it as just one so they only pay half the residuals.” When Nash-Betts told “Lombardini” goodbye, the image stated, “See you on the picket line in 2026 beyotches, Lombardini out” — referring to the next year the WGA’s main labor contract is up for negotiation, and around which time members could theoretically again go on strike.

Lombardini, the president of the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, has been the top negotiator for Hollywood studios since 2009. As THR explained in a story about the largely opaque AMPTP in September 2023, Lombardini’s role involves guiding her constituents (executives at top studios and streamers) toward consensus on bargaining objectives and representing their positions across the table to the union. Though Lombardini tends to keep a low profile, she was thrust into the spotlight in 2023 as a result of the historic writers and actors strikes that shut down mainstream Hollywood production for months, and was the subject of a popular spoof account on the social media platform X (formerly Twitter).

With the 2023 strike, the second-longest work stoppage in the union’s history, the WGA sought to install guardrails on the use of AI in scriptwriting and improve compensation for its members in an age when streaming is the dominant platform, through the regulation of so-called mini rooms, higher wage floors and residuals that reward successful streaming titles.

The Hollywood Reporter has reached out to the AMPTP for comment.

View the whole bit in the video below.

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