Backstage at the Comedy Awards: Eddie Murphy on 'wrong turns' like 'Pluto Nash'; Louis C.K. on his 'sh---y' night
Hey Rob Corddry, what do you think about having comedians honor comedians?
“They should do that! I think that’s a great idea,” the former Daily Show correspondent told EW at the Comedy Awards. “Just get a bunch of comedians together in black tie.” Okay, somebody’s either being really snarky or hasn’t been paying attention, since Comedy Central’s first annual awards were just that — with Corddry himself picking up the Golden Microphone for Best Sketch Comedy/Alternative Comedy Series (Childrens’ Hospital).
EW caught up with a number of the winners and presenters backstage at New York City’s Hammerstein Ballroom, and, needless to say, others were more direct regarding how they felt about the evening. Like Louis C.K., who elaborated on his acceptance speech for Best Stand-Up Special (Louis C.K.: Hilarious), in which he declared the gala to be “the s—-iest night of my life.” “You know, I’m just exaggerating,” C.K. clarified. “But, yeah, pretty s—-y.”
Well, maybe for him. But C.K. did acknowledge that he liked being able to accept the award “because I get to thank the people who work on my show behind the scenes. The people who work on a show, who you don’t see on camera, are the biggest beneficiaries of an award show like this.” Still, he reiterated that “it’s weird to qualify who’s the better comedian or artist of any kind.”
It’s easy to see how C.K. might object to that. He takes his art so seriously — and finds it so demanding — that he trains for stand-up by taking boxing lessons from none other than Micky Ward, the Beantown pugilist played by Mark Wahlberg in The Fighter. “It’s funny when you know somebody in real life, who’s just an ordinary guy, and then Mark Wahlberg is playing him,” C.K. says. Is stand-up as difficult as boxing? “Not even close. Stand-up you have to do every night. In boxing, you train the whole year for one fight. But it’s the same level of stress I think.”
The Gregory Brothers, Internet wunderkinds and maestros of Best Viral Original winner Auto-Tune the News had an awkward moment when they took to the mic in the pressroom, and… nobody had a question for them. At which point, your intrepid reporter asked them what they thought about fellow viral video sensation Rebecca Black’s “Friday.” Evan Gregory weighed in: “Big fan. Tonight we’re going to be partyin’ partyin’.” Would he take a stab at Auto-Tuning “Friday”? To which he chuckled, “But that would just be ‘Friday’ by Rebecca Black…”
On a more wistful note, Craig Robinson talked about one of the biggest stories in comedy this year: what it was like on set the last day Steve Carell shot an episode of The Office. “So emotional. People were just crying left and right. It was like that for the last couple of weeks. We had one scene where he was supposed to cry every time… he cried every single time, but still nailed the comedy of it.”
Who does Robinson nominate as the new boss of Dunder Mifflin Scranton? “Well, you know, so far it’s going to be Will Ferrell. That’s pretty damn awesome. He’s on another level.” When I asked him if Ferrell would stick around for more than just his previously announced four episodes, Robinson sheepishly twisted his head, threw his hands up into a shrug and hinted, Dennis the Menace-style, “I don’t know!” Later, Will Ferrell himself told EW at the Comedy Awards that he would be joining the cast “full-time,” though other sources close to Ferrell and at NBC strongly caution against such a blockbuster prospect.
Like many of his fellow partners in comedy, Robinson took time to reflect on his own inspirations. For him, there’s no one greater than Richard Pryor. “There was just such a truth in everything he said,” Robinson said. Chloë Moretz, star of Kick-Ass and Martin Scorsese’s upcoming film Hugo Cabret, had a more a contemporary pick in mind for her favorite comedian. “I love Kathy Griffin. I hope I meet her someday!” she squeaked.
But while accepting his Career Icon Award during the telecast, Eddie Murphy concurred with Robinson on Pryor. He also named Charlie Chaplin, Bill Cosby, and George Carlin as three of his other greatest influences. Backstage he elaborated, “I feel like those are the most brilliant comic minds ever. You can draw a line from them to anyone who’s trying to do comedy — or just be funny — today, including me.”
Murphy was truly the man of the hour, but he did admit the Icon Award made him feel a little old. Still, he’s open to new projects, including possibly Beverly Hills Cop IV. “Everything’s on the table. I would never say never to anything. Well… there are a few things I wouldn’t do. There will be no Pluto Nash sequel.” Speaking of that unfortunate foray into sci-fi, are there any other regrets he has about his career? “There’ve been a bunch of wrong turns in my career,” he said. “Too many to mention here. What a horrible way to end the evening after winning the Icon Award. And then there was Holy Man… ”
Best Comedy Film: The Other Guys
Best Comedy Actor in Film: Zach Galifianakis (Dinner for Schmucks)
Best Comedy Actress in Film: Tina Fey (Date Night)
Best Animated Comedy Film: Toy Story 3
Best Comedy Series: Modern Family
Best Comedy Actor in Television: Alec Baldwin (30 Rock)
Best Comedy Actress in Television: Kristen Wiig (Saturday Night Live)
Best Late-Night Comedy Series: The Daily Show With Jon Stewart
Best Animated Comedy Series: South Park
Best Standup Special: Louis C.K.: Hilarious
Best Sketch Comedy/Alternative Comedy Series: Childrens’ Hospital
Breakthrough Performer: Daniel Tosh
Best Viral Original: Auto-Tune the News: Bed Intruder Song