The Emmy Awards are, of course, a distinguished ceremony designed to celebrate the best and brightest working in the television industry. But at the end of the day, the whole spectacle is really put on for one reason: to delight fans and viewers across the country at home. Ahem, that’s all of you out there.
But for those of us lucky to be in Los Angeles’ Nokia Theatre last night (that’s me, along with a handful of other EW staffers!), there’s definitely more going on than just what’s shown on TV, as you might expect. For the most part, the telecast’s producers try to keep any unexpected, outlandish happenings to a minimum, but there were a few special moments that you definitely didn’t see on television. So let me share my observations:
• THE ANNOUNCER: That (annoying?) announcer guy who was making all those little quips about the winners and whatnot? He was out in full force, even before the show began, especially in regards to telling people to take their seats in the minutes just before the telecast began. “The show is about to begin,” he’d tell the mostly standing crowd. “SAG card holders, AFTRA card holders, credit card holders — please take your seats.” Funny. And then: “For reals now, we need everyone to take their seat.” And just before the show began: “Thank you for taking your seats. I’m very proud.” He seemed very pleased with himself. But funny? Some of the crowd found it amusing, but most couldn’t be bothered and were going to take their seats when they felt like it.
• LOVE FOR JIMMY FALLON AND “SLOW JAM THE NEWS”: There’s apparently a lot of love for Jimmy Fallon amongst the Television Academy members: The clip from his “Slow Jam the News” in the opening video segment got the most response from the crowd around me, even over spots that showed Glee, American Idol, and the rest of the biggest and most loved shows on television. Interesting. The closest rival? Mad Men. On the Fallon note, too, there just seemed to be a lot of support for him in general: When it came to the award for Best Variety, Musical, or Comedy series, there were lots of whispers around me to the effect of: “I hope Fallon takes this home this year.”
• FIREWORKS!: At the end of host Jane Lynch’s opening number, fireworks exploded from the top of the stage. Did those show on television? (I’m too lazy to go back and find out.) But in the theater, at least at that early point, it was pretty exciting for those in the audience.
• JIMMY + JIMMY = DRY HUMPING: One of the best moments of the show was when late-late-night hosts Jimmy Fallon and Jimmy Kimmel introduced the Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy award. Just before it went to the clips of the nominees, the two started a little faux fight. But while the clip was rolling, the pair were literally rolling around on the floor. And no joke, Fallon was dry-humping Kimmel for most of the time. He could have stopped, knowing that the television cameras weren’t beaming him out to America, but he didn’t — and it kept the audience in the theater laughing.
• BIG AUDIENCE REACTS: The moments that the in-theater audience most reacted to? Well, for starters, that adorable pageant bit amongst the nominees for lead actress in a comedy killed in the theater, just as much as it did on TV. The crowd also responded positively any time Betty White was mentioned; during Ty Burrell’s speech about how his father would have reacted about his job requiring full make-up; to Ricky Gervais’ pre-taped video with the clever editing; and through all those hilarious reaction shots from Modern Family creator Steve Levitan’s wife as he was talking about them getting caught in the (sex) act by their kids.
• THE NIGHT’S MOST CONFUSING MOMENT: For the in-house audience, that was definitely when the Lonely Island guys got on stage. Maybe I was just in an extremely elderly section of the theater (and I certainly was — they were really loving the “In Memoriam” segment of the show), but lots of people seemed totally bewildered by what was happening on stage. As insane as it all was, I sort of loved it. Seemed like something that was more fitting of, say, the VMAs or MTV Movie Awards.
• ALL HAIL CHARLIE SHEEN: Or just Jane Lynch hail Charlie Sheen? After she introduced the former Two and a Half Men star and the cameras cut to him, the in-house audience could see host Jane Lynch giving him a big grin and the wave of her arms as he walked on stage to present. It seems that Sue Sylvester is a big fan of the guy!
• CAST GPS: As different shows or actors would win, theater-goers could instantly tell where certain casts were sitting, even if they weren’t seated with the announced winner, which was a fun treat. The Big Bang Theory cast was off to stage-right, and their location was quickly revealed by their enthusiastic reaction after Jim Parsons took home his statuette. And the five ladies next to me? I quickly realized they worked for mega-producer Chuck Lorre after they went wild — and yes, stood up — when Parsons and Mike & Molly star Melissa McCarthy (Lorre produces both shows) won their awards.
Tanner on Twitter: @EWTanStransky