The 58th Prime Time Emmy Awards began with a bang…Well, a crash, a plane crash that landed host, Conan O'Brien of NBC's "Late Night With Conan O'Brien" on a desert island.
After crafting himself a blow dryer out of twigs to puff up his signature pompadour, he finds himself running from show to show to get to the Emmy's. From "Lost" to "The Office," to "24" Conan goes from man to cartoon when he finds himself animated on "South Park." Caught in the famous sexual predator sting on DateLine NBC, he finally makes his way to the stage.
Conan's lively intro showcased some of the shows up for awards.
His opening speech followed with some strong ong jokes.
He announced that "The Sopranos" had come back this year with a new gay mobster and you could tell by how organized the crime had truly become!
He announced that of the $51,000 gift boxes for the nominees, $50,000 was in a gift certificate to the Olive Garden.
The monologue ended with a performance set to the song "Trouble" from the Broadway Musical, The Music Man chronicling NBC's never ending rating struggles.
He talked about how they have "Trouble with a capital T and that rhymes with G and that means we're screwed." The king of self-deprecation went on to make fun of the number itself and ended on how they know things are going to hell because "we are relying on Howie Mandell."
Promptly, the first two announcers glided onto the stage. Both stars of the ABC hit "Grey's Anatomy," Ellen Pompeo and McDreamy, Patrick Dempsey, to announce the Best Female Actress in a Comedy Series. Megan Mullally won for the second time. This moment was visibly short lived as Julia Louis Dreyfus and Sean Hayes quickly took their places to announce Supporting Actor in a Drama winner, Allan Alda for "West Wing."
Conan came back to explain that the Emmy's must only run three hours tonight or Bob Newhart, seated behind him encased in a glass cylinder with exactly three hours of air, will die. Newhart, deadpanning surprise at the news, is then rolled off stage. The show's pace never lets up as jokes are rushed, clips are cut off mid-line and celebrities are brought on and led off with an almost uncomfortable rapidity.
Martin and Charlie Sheen (awkwardly cutting off O'Brien) entered to announce Blythe Danner for Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy. Next up, "My Name is Earl's" Jaime Pressly and Jason Lee announced Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series.
Jeremy Piven with his first win talked about how he was told by his first agent he wouldn't work until he was in his forties. His win was followed by Scottish Actress Kelly MacDonald for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Mini Series or a Movie. John Stewart accepted the award for Best Variety Music or Comedy Series
The winners of Guest Actor and Actress in a Comedy Series awarded on a different day were introduced. Leslie Jordan of "Will and Grace" noted that the first woman he'd ever slept with was his Emmy the other night and Cloris Leachman was glowing having achieved the all time record for her 8 acting Emmy wins.
The "My Name is Earl" pilot won for both best Director and best Writer of a Comedy Series. Writer Greg Garcia decided to tell us who he doesn't want to thank for his award including a teacher who said he wasn't funny and a boss who made him clean gum off an executive's shoe.
Simon Cowell then kicked off a Dick Clark Tribute with all the requisite clips and music including "Bandstand," "New Year's Rocking Eve" and "TV's Blooper's and Practical Jokes." A standing ovation for Dick Clark looking great even after his ravaging stroke, with slightly garbled speech, sat at the podium and thanked everyone for letting him live out his childhood dream to work in show business. Many in the audience nodded their agreement. Barry Manilow ended the tribute with a performance of his hit, "Bandstand."
Conan's annual obligatory introduction of the Emmy Accounting team was a production highlight as the Ernst and Young team high-fived and came out to big lights and big music. It ended with an amped up, though inexplicable, Kareem Abdul Jabar in suit and tie.
A steady stream of awards followed including "24" for Outstanding Director in a Drama and "The Sopranos" for Writing in a Drama Series. Jeremy Irons won for Outstanding Supporting Actor in "Elizabeth I." NBC then shamelessly plugged its new hit game show, "Deal or no Deal" as Howie Mandell and Megan Mullally brought out beautiful women with suitcases in which Outstanding Director for a Variety or Music Show was revealed. Strangely, the Director of the Emmy Awards themselves, while directing, won for this year's Oscars. In a surreal moment, the cameras found him backstage to rush thank yous before sending the action back to the stage.
When the Daily Show crew came up to collect their award for writing, John Stewart announced that he had just decided to kill Bob Newhart. Hugh Laurie and Helen Mirren then introduced the Lead Actor in a Movie or Mini Series with Laurie repeating everything elegantly spoken by Mirren, ibut n French. Andre Braugher marked his 2nd win. Tony Shalloub thanked his lovely date, his daughter Josie for his third nod for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series.
Candace Bergen led us into the tribute for late pioneering producer Aaron Spelling. The tribute included clips of his many legendary shows and cuts to and from his grieving family. Actors spoke whose careers Spelling jump-started, including Heather Locklear, Joan Collins, and all three Angels from "Charlie's Angels." The always interesting Farrah Fawcett said a weepy good-bye.
"The Girl in the Cafe" won for Best Made for TV Movie after which Steven Colbert and John Stewart riffed with Stewart commenting on Colbert's apparent rage. Finally Colbert broke down saying, "I lost to Barry Manilow! I lost to the Copacabana!" Referring to Manilow's earlier win, a category in which Colbert was also a nominee.
The In Memoriam segment reminded us of the deaths of some great television personalities including Pat Morita, Maureen Stapleton, Don Knotts, Shelly Winters and Richard Pryor.
By Joselin Linder
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