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Hanks a Lot, Sir Howard

Las Vegas — Tom Hanks gave his sometime-employer Sony a not-so-gentle ribbing in his appearance during chairman and CEO Howard Stringer’s CES keynote address on Thursday.

Hanks — star of Sony Pictures Entertainment’s Angels & Demons, the Da Vinci Code sequel set for May release — delivered a warm-up routine during which he mocked the script he’d been asked to deliver.

He began by jokingly expressing regret that he had picked VHS instead of Sony’s Betamax years ago: “What a different world this would be if I had chosen differently!”

Things went downhill from there.

Before delivering the canned intro, Hanks said: “I will now read the lines some low-level marketing executive at Sony has written for me.”

Hanks was supposed to marvel that Sony’s ubiquitous brand is everywhere he turns, whether on TVs, cameras or “when I boot up my computer.” That last one particularly gave Hanks pause. “I should have read this before I came out,” he deadpanned, adding at another point, “They write the lies, I tell the truth.”

Hanks later griped to Stringer about requiring such event appearances in his contracts. “Will you release the hold on my check for the movie now, Howard?” he said, feigning (we think) indignation.

After Hanks exited stage left, Stringer grimaced a bit and told the audience: “On the whole, a plus, I think.”