So, yesterday, your intrepid EW.com staffers thought we might prepare for the Sept. 16 Emmy telecast by publishing a photo gallery of the most memorable moments of Emmy ceremonies past — only, we could hardly think of any. This was especially embarrassing for me, since I’m usually the one who writes the Emmys Most Memorable Moments gallery every year as soon as the ceremony is over, and even I had a hard time coming up with unforgettable moments from the Emmy podium from recent years.
To be sure, the Emmys don’t often lend themselves to memorable moments the way other awards shows do. Missing are the grandeur of the Oscars, the music and outrageous costumes of the Grammys, or the drunken shenanigans of the Golden Globes. Still, I was able to come up with a handful off the top of my head:
• Ellen DeGeneres hosting in 2001 (pictured). In the wake of Sept. 11 and the invasion of Afghanistan, the ceremony was pushed back twice, and no one seemed to be in the mode for an evening of celebrity self-congratulation. Yet Ellen saved the day with dignity and wry humor, as with her quip, “What would upset the Taliban more than a gay woman wearing a suit in front of a room full of Jews?”
addCredit(“Ellen Degeneres: Michael Goulding/Corbis”)
• Conan O’Brien’s opening segment (2006). From the brilliant montage (including a South Park/Trapped in the Closet parody) to his “We Got Trouble” musical number bewailing the dire straits of the TV industry, to his putting Bob Newhart in a glass booth timed to run out of air and suffocate the comedy icon if the show ran longer than three hours (it didn’t — whew), Conan’s opener last year may have been the funniest 15 minutes of any awards show ever.
• Emmy Idol (2005). Donald Trump and Megan Mullally singing the theme to Green Acres, or William Shatner declaiming the theme to Star Trek while Frederica von Stade served as a human theremin — that was memorable all right, but not in a good way.
• Wanda Sykes pestering an unamused Bill Cosby (2003). The Jell-o pitchman never even took off his sunglasses while Sykes ribbed him in his orchestra seat, but you could tell he was staring daggers at her. Made me laugh, that’s for sure. Why can’t she be the host sometime?
Which Emmy moments do you remember? No fair going back and looking at our Emmy Best and Worst galleries to jog your memory.