Parks and Recreation star Amy Poehler couldn’t have said it better in a room filled with TV executives and stars: “Movies are dumb, and TV is awesome. If we take away anything from the night, let’s all remember that TV is better than film and everybody knows it.”
Poehler was introducing Julia Louis-Dreyfus as one of six honorees inducted into the Television Academy’s 23rd Hall of Fame Tuesday night during a ceremony at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif. Other inductees included David E. Kelley (Boston Legal, The Crazy Ones), former Tonight Show host Jay Leno, News Corp. executive chairman Rupert Murdoch (who was also celebrating his 83rd birthday), and ABC television executive Brian Stoddard. Ray Dolby, inventor, engineer and founder of Dolby Laboratories, was also inducted posthumously.
Dancing With the Stars co-host Tom Bergeron, who earlier Tuesday announced his plans to leave ABC’s staple America’s Funniest Home Videos, hosted the TV industry event. EW was on the scene as well — check below for a selection of the night’s best moments and quotes:
— Bergeron opened the event with a slight jab about Brooke Burke-Charvet’s departure as his co-host on Dancing With the Stars. “I’m a little nervous. Recently, ABC replaced my co-host,” he said. “I was feeling pretty secure about my job — then a few minutes ago backstage, Jay Leno asked me, ‘Are you sure it’s pronounced Paso Doble’?” He also poked fun at another awards show — the Oscars. “We have a fast-moving ceremony, but don’t worry — we will slow it way down by a pizza delivery, Bette Midler, and a tribute to The Wizard of Oz.” Burgeron also likened himself to honoree David E. Kelley, because he also “has a hot wife;” Kelley is married to actress Michelle Pfeiffer.
— “I am television actor and awards show enthusiast Amy Poehler,” the Golden Globe winner said as she took the stage to introduce Louis-Dreyfus. “She’s hilarious, she’s a great actor, and I think she has the best timing of any actor working today.” She apparently also prides herself on “being green”: Louis-Dreyfus “insisted my speech be written on recycled old cardboard made out of blueberries. And all the applause tonight will be turned into energy.”
— “You certainly convinced me to love me,” Louis-Dreyfus said of Poehler’s intro. She reminisced about her high school physics teacher, who taught her to have fun at all costs. “That’s the only thing I remember from high school. When I think of my TV career, that’s what comes to mind.” That sentiment seemed to ring true as the Emmy winner recalled one of her favorite moments working on this season of Veep: “We were racking our brains for creative ways to use a truly offensive word that starts with a C and ends with a T. C—er S. Thompson — and yes I am very proud of that, thank you.”
— Comedian Bill Maher, who introduced Jay Leno, couldn’t help himself from using Louis-Dreyfus’s “inappropriate reference” as a jumping off point. “I was gonna keep it clean, but Julia broke the c— barrier already,” he said. “All bets are off.” After calling Leno jobless and penniless, Maher added, “Jay Leno reminds me a little bit of Israel. He’s not perfect, but he is held to a standard that no one in the world is expected to live up to other than him.”
— Leno graciously accepted his honor, noting that he is “happy to see Jimmy Fallon do so well” and talks to him “once or twice a week.” He gently joked about his exit, saying, “The real trick is knowing when to step down when your time is up…You can’t be hip at a certain age; you have old guy gestures.”
For more from the event, visit emmys.com.