Up until the time Elaine Stritch won her 2004 Emmy Award for the D.A. Pennebaker HBO special Elaine Stritch: At Liberty (a documentary taping of her landmark Tony Award winning solo show), the awards ceremony was one of the dullest in memory. But when the legendary stage actress won for Outstanding Individual Performance in a Variety or Music Program, she bounded onto the stage with an energy and excitement that invigorated the audience and amused everyone in the house as well as at home. The speech was one of the funniest I’ve ever heard – and typically Stritch (she was the only winner who had to be censored). It was a highlight of the ceremony, and became a great running gag for the rest of the evening.
The item was picked up by news sources and blogs and was voted “Best Loose Cannon” by Entertainment Weekly. Fellow nominee Ellen DeGeneres invited Stritch to appear on her talk show the very next day, and Stritch accepted. She talked about her stage career and of working for George Abbott. Again, proving to be one of the funniest women in the room. Here is an excerpt: