Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Russian Doll's Natasha Lyonne joins pantheon of celebs who clap like weirdos

Photo: Jeff Kravitz (Getty Images)

While awards shows began as a means of publicly foisting praise and accolades on people rich enough to surround themselves with employees paid to do just that, they’ve since turned into an anthropological study of celebrities and why they never learned to clap properly. With seemingly every show, yet another celeb reveals themselves to be baffled by the simple practice of placing two hands together with force in a way that doesn’t read as unnervingly Lynchian.

There was Nicole Kidman at the 2017 Academy Awards, for example.


12 Years A Slave director Steve McQueen making a meme for the ages at the 2014 Oscars.

Sting is also guilty of Bad Celebrity Clapping.

Here’s Antonio Banderas with some interesting finger work while clapping at the 2018 Emmys.

Lady Gaga demonstrated some Bad Celebrity Clapping at the Grammys this year.

And who can forget Brendan Fraser’s violent display at the 2010 Golden Globes, the gold standard of Bad Celebrity Clapping?

Just gonna throw in this thudding Pippa Middleton clap, too.


Well, a new celebrity has joined these hallowed ranks, as Russian Doll star Natasha Lyonne stole last night’s Emmy Awards by clapping in a way that, depending on your perspective, can be read as either alien or, as The Cut declared, “expressive and radiant.” Or both. Who knows? There’s undeniably something uncanny about Lyonne’s clapping—the hands themselves seem inanimate, as if they’re attached to sticks she’s holding within her sleeves. See for yourself.


Lyonne herself acknowledged the virality, seemingly confused as to why her claps have captured the zeitgeist, a question for which there is no answer that doesn’t make one sound strange and unhinged.


One wonders how Lyonne, now aware of this strange fascination, will clap in the future. Will it even cross her mind that her claps are now an object of curiosity? Will she practice form with partner Fred Armisen, who seems to have it down pretty well? Or will she lean into it in the hopes that fans will somehow make it weirder? They’re already on their way, as you can see below.


Anyways, watch Russian Doll. It’s awesome.

Send Great Job, Internet tips to gji@theonion.com


Randall Colburn is The A.V. Club's Internet Culture Editor. He lives in Chicago, occasionally writes plays, and was a talking head in Best Worst Movie, the documentary about Troll 2.

Share This Story

Get our newsletter