Sunday night was the Emmy Awards, my favorite awards show every year because TV is my favorite entertainment medium.
For the first two hours, I thought the show was … OK. The opening sketch was pretty good, especially when Chance the Rapper said “I like Brooklyn 99, in fact I’m addicted, but where’s the cop show where 1 gets convicted,” the awards were spread out, I was thrilled to see such deserving winners like Kate McKinnon and John Oliver get their kudos, and there were a few moments with iconic TV legends (I’ll get to that in a minute) that were nice.
But it was, you know, a pretty typical awards show. Then, Sterling K. Brown won for “This is Us,” and the entire telecast changed.
You don’t understand how amazing Sterling K. Brown’s speech was unless you saw it (Please, watch it here). The man was like cool jazz, riffing and giving shout-outs to Andre Braugher (the last African-American to win Best Actor in Drama Series), thanking everyone in sight, and just being really damn funny, talking about “repping black love” with his co-star and hitting all the right notes. It was two minutes of absolute perfection.
The best part for me, that had me howling? One of his lines was thanking his co-stars on “This is Us” by saying “You are the best white TV family a brother has ever had!”
And I immediately paused the DVR and said to my wife, “Excuse me, Arnold and Willis Drummond, and Webster would like a word, Mr. Brown!” I then wrote that down and said I’m going to use it in my blog.
Then I un-paused, and Brown said “Better than Mr. Drummond, and better than those white folks who raised Webster.”
So damn good! Of course, because awards shows can’t recognize an amazing moment when they see one, and God forbid the show ends a few minutes late, they played Brown off and we didn’t get to hear the rest of his speech. Happily, he finished it backstage when meeting with the media, you can check it out here.
Seriously, truly, one of the best awards show speeches I’ve ever seen. Also, he totally deserved to win for his role as Randall on “This Is Us.” By far the best part of the show.
OK, on with some other highlights, and as always, the fashion barbs are courtesy of my way-more-fashionable better half:
— Stephen Colbert was fine as host, nothing to write home about, had a good line in the monologue about how unlike with the Presidency, in the Emmys, “the winner of the popular vote actually wins.”
— Boy, lot of people on the Internets were pretty pissed off that disgraced former White House press secretary Sean Spicer got to make a cameo in the monologue and tell a good joke. People were really mad, considering Spicer knowingly stood at the podium and lied throughout his tenure, especially in the beginning talking about crowd size at the inauguration.
I can understand people being upset, but it didn’t bother me that much. He’s a celebrity, and this was a TV show, after all. The historical record will show Spicer was nothing but a stooge and an accomplice for the worst President in American history.
— Did Dolly Parton stand on stage with Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda (who my wife says “tried way too hard to look young” with that hairdo) and say the word “vibrators?” Yes, yes she did. And refer to her famous breasts twice. Dolly Parton is a national treasure.
— Carol Burnett and Norman Lear, two people who created so much iconic television, appearing on stage together was perfect.
— Also perfect? Mary Tyler Moore getting “the hammer” in the death montage, and turning off the lights of “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” newsroom as the ending. That was freaking beautiful.
— Fashion hits and misses from my wife: Shailene Woodley’s hair and dress were terrible, Allison Janney’s dress was terrific, Jason Bateman looks as good as he did 30 years ago (seriously, dude has not aged), and silver definitely seemed to be the dominant color Sunday.
— Happy to see new winners like Donald Glover get some love, and Lena Waithe winning for co-writing a fantastic episode of “Master of None,” then giving a heartfelt acceptance speech, was a definite highlight.
— My annual gripe: “The Americans” got shut out. As did “Better Call Saul,” two absolutely outstanding shows. Sigh.
Some greatness just isn’t recognized until after it’s gone.
**Finally today, I thought this post would be a strictly Emmys one, but when I heard Sunday night that Bobby Heenan had died, well… I had to acknowledge it somehow.
Pro wrestling was a big part of my 1980s childhood, and of course the WWF was all I knew back then. And of all the great heroes and villains back then, from Hulk Hogan, to Andre the Giant, to Rowdy Roddy Piper, nobody entertained me as much as Bobby “The Brain” Heenan.
His real nickname was “The Weasel,” at least that’s what he called him. Heenan very rarely wrestled, he was mostly a manager, and a fantastic talker. He was funny, he was mean, and whether it was him announcing matches with Gorilla Monsoon, appearing in sketches with Gorilla on WWF TV shows (above), or cutting promos and insulting someone, Heenan was the best.
He knew exactly how to play to the crowd, and how to always get the last word.
Heenan died Sunday at age 73. He will be missed, but I thank him for giving me so many laughs (and reasons to shout) when I was a kid.