September 21, 2009

Notes on the Emmys

Last night, I watched one of the more enjoyable awards shows I can remember. There was a feeling of lightheartedness and fun in the room that I haven't seen for a long time, if ever.

Host Neil Patrick Harris had energy, personality and a sense of fun that carried the evening. He was silly, charming and, if possible, self-effacing and jokingly pompous at the same time (for losing to Jon Cryer). And his musical opening number showed a side of him that most of us haven't seen.

The winning speeches seemed to follow a similar pattern: fun, heartfelt, passionate and humorous. Some of my favorite moments:

As nominees for best supporting actress in a comedy were announced, each one was shown wearing some sort of silly glasses. Kristin Wiig nearly killed me when she pulled out a monacle, then slowly added a pipe.

When the camera cut to Sarah Silverman, being announced as a nominee for best actress in a comedy, she sat serenely in her seat, straight-faced, wearing a mustache. When the award when to another actor, she glared angrily at the stage. Hilarious.

Jon Cryer, supporting actor in a comedy, winning his first Emmy after four nominations:

"I used to think that awards were just tokens of momentary popularity. But now I realize they are the only true measure of a person's real worth as a human being. So, thank you."

Jeff Probst, reality show host:

"I also want to share this with anybody who has a dream, because I am living my dream right here in this moment. If you have a dream, dream big; pursue it with a passion. In the words of the great storyteller Joseph Campbell, 'The adventure you're ready for is the one you get.' Life is short -- go for it!"

Ken Howard, supporting actor in a made-for-tv movie, first offered to "speed it up as to not be interrupted by a congressmen or a rapper," then thanked stuntwoman Jeannie Epper for donating a kidney to him nine years ago.

Dearbhla Walsh, director of the miniseries "Little Dorrit," thanked her family in Ireland for investing in cable and staying up to watch the Emmys in the middle of the night.

And always one of my favorite speech-makers, Tina Fey (here's what she said last year), winning for best comedy show, said to her co-producer:

"I want to work with you every day until I put you in the ground."

Actors are not always good speech makers (see here and here), but last night everyone seemed to be relaxed and having fun, the best way to ensure an effective speech!

Image: CBS Television -

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