It was the final game at Yankee Stadium this evening, so I have actually not been watching the regularly scheduled programming called “The Emmy’s.” Truth be told, I’ve never been as big on the Emmy awards as I am on the Tonys or especially the Oscars.
But tonight isn’t necessarily a night to just discuss the Emmys. For me it becomes a night for New York – especially with the number of NY based shows and theatre actors who are being celebrated this evening. The stadium that Ruth built, one of the great icons of our city, is ending its 85 year run tonight. Later this week, the Mets will play their last game at Shea stadium, but with all due respect, they have nothing on the legacy left by the Bronx Bombers and their home. Starting next season, they will play at the new Yankee Stadium, which is in its design more akin to the 1923 stadium than the 1976 revision. Anyway, the evening’s festivities and memories felt more like a New Orleans funeral for someone who was still living than anything else. It was a great night to be a New Yorker. It was a terrible night if you were involved in the Emmy Awards telecast.
I did catch more of the Emmys towards the close of the ceremony and missed seeing the opening live on TV. I caught it on the internet later. My mistake. I have never seen anything worse than the five Emmy hosts filling dead air with nothing. It was an offense to writers everywhere, not to mention the intelligence of those in the audience and the few watching at home. (I wouldn’t be surprised if the worst-ever ratings were a result of thousands reaching for the remotes in the first ten minutes). My brief rant: you had Stephen Colbert, Jon Stewart, Jimmy Kimmel, Craig Ferguson, and Conan O’Brien in the house. Hell, Don Rickles would have done a better job without a script at 82 than the reality hosts. (Let’s face it, reality shows: you’re the Jackie Collins of television).
However, almost more embarrassing than that was the horrifying medley of TV themes as performed by Josh Groban. I think the only performer who could have successfully given such a manic performance packed with as many songs would have been the late great Dorothy Loudon. If you saw it, you know how bad it was.
However, there was much to celebrate. AMC’s Mad Men, set in NY and featuring many contemporary theatre actors, took the prize for Best Drama Series, a first for basic cable. My beloved 30 Rock took Comedy Series for the second year in a row. John Adams was Best Miniseries.
Theatre actors were winning in droves: Jeremy Piven (Entourage), Jean Smart (Samantha Who?), Dianne Wiest (In Treatment), Zeljko Ivanek (Damages), Glenn Close (Damages), Alec Baldwin (30 Rock), Laura Linney (John Adams), Paul Giamatti (John Adams) and Eileen Atkins (Cranford) have all tread the boards on Broadway. (Okay, so Piven has yet to make his debut, but he was in rehearsals before he was a winner – and is starting previews next week, so I’m giving him a pass here!) Tom Wilkinson (John Adams) has done extensive theatre work in London.
Props to Tina Fey, whom co-star Alec Baldwin called “the Elaine May of her generation” in his acceptance speech, on winning three awards for the fantastic, NY-based satire on the television industry, 30 Rock. Best Writing. Best Actress. Best Comedy Series. That says a lot about this brilliant writer’s ability. (Sarah Palin anyone?) This show is the funniest thing on TV you are probably not watching, at least if we use the ratings as a gauge. Season 1 is out on DVD and 2 will be out shortly, so be sure to catch up. The episodes are sharp, well-written and unexpected in their unending hilarity and wit. Jane Krakowski, Tracy Morgan, Jack McBrayer costar. Guest stars have included Isabella Rossellini, Paul Reubens, Al Roker, Chris Mathews, Tucker Carlson, Elaine Stritch (in an Emmy-winning turn season one), Steve Buscemi, Tim Conway (winning this year), Carrie Fisher, Edie Falco, David Schwimmer, Al Gore, Rip Torn, Will Arnett and Sean Hayes. In the upcoming season (which starts on October 30) Jennifer Aniston and Oprah are among the stars making appearances.
Next year, get a host!