Ben Affleck Plumbs New Depths of Existential Despair

I see where he is coming from with this mug Photo: Johnny Nunez/Getty Images for The Recording Academy

Every year, after a big awards show, people like to say things like, “[Insert celeb name here] had a great night at the Grammys.” In some cases, that’s demonstrably true: Lizzo made a big entrance in a flowered cape, won Record of the Year, and brought down the Crypto.com Arena with a pop-gospel fusion performance. Taylor Swift, meanwhile, spent most of the evening dancing and looked like she was having a good time. You know who was conspicuously not having a good time, though? Ben Affleck, who appeared to be mining the depths of human anguish throughout the entire show, even the fun parts. He couldn’t summon an ounce of feigned enthusiasm for Stevie Wonder’s duet with Smokey Robinson, for example: That’s how miserable he seemed.

Why was Ben Affleck so sad to be at the Grammys? Who could say. Maybe he had just finished a long shift at Dunkin’ when J.Lo packed him into the limo; maybe he yearned for a cigarette; maybe it is simply that the Grammys began for the couple (who skipped the red carpet) around 8 p.m. EST and ended around midnight. I think we can all agree, this is way too long to be at a work function, even when the work function is sort of a party, and especially when the work function is your spouse’s. Our guy just had to sit there and pretend that Trevor Noah was being funny when he shoehorned topical jokes about Prince Harry’s penis into his hosting bit, and who is that good of an actor? Not Oscar winner Ben Affleck, apparently.

After these clips went viral, many have wondered: Ben Affleck, obviously, was teetering on the brink of collapse, but what was J.Lo doing? The Daily Mail enlisted a lip reader to parse their conversation, reporting that Lopez encouraged her husband to “look motivated” after observing his mug. That didn’t seem very plausible — why would she say that? — and now a seat-filler, who was stationed right next to Bennifer and claims to have overheard their exchange, has waded into the fray. “The whole time they were cute and shit,” @almostannna explained in a TikTok, clarifying that she didn’t try to talk to Affleck directly because of the palpable chagrin. But, she continued, she saw the moment when “J.Lo showed Ben Affleck the phone and was like, ‘Oh my God, honey, look at this meme circulating about you!’ And he was like, ‘Oh God, this again.’ Like he knew during the performance that he was a meme!” And like he knew, maybe, what we would do with that footage. (Add it to the slideshow, of course.)


Replying to @canadiansupernova #greenscreen this is prob the funniest story i have it was so silly. Feeling overhelmed by this attention so im gonna take a break from all of this, i shared the big things and the how-to but all this attention is a lot haha :) I answered all the important questions already, good luck guys! Hear about it more on @hitqldbreakfast tonight! #seatfiller #grammys

♬ Selfcare-demo - Bella Moulden

Armed with that information, the seat-filler went on, “He also chose just not to change his expression! Like I love how unbothered that is! So I know that she was like on her phone and saw it and was like, ‘Honey, this is so funny, look at this.’ And he was like, ‘Jesus Christ.’” And proceeded to glower for the rest of his time at the Grammys.

Which, fine! Good for him, even. I don’t say this very often, but respect to Ben Affleck for refusing to participate in the Grammys-are-fun charade and for attempting just one quarter-hearted grimace at J.Lo’s apparent urging. At least he’s honest. Personally, I can see exactly where Ben Affleck is coming from with this face. Solidarity, comrade:

This article has been updated.

Ben Affleck Plumbs New Depths of Existential Despair