Remember when they aired the Emmys after 9/11? That was possibly a more cheerful telecast than this year’s, when special tributes to late producers and actors punctuated the evening in addition to the traditional death montage. But it wasn’t just one big In Memoriam, fortunately. Here were our favorite moments from the evening.
1. “Thank you so very much. Um, I gotta go, bye.” If every speech had been as to the point as Nurse Jackie star Merritt Wever’s acceptance for best supporting actress in a comedy series, we would have been done with the whole show in half an hour.
2. “It might be degrading, but we would be degrateful.” Amy Poehler’s leering line totally saved the too long intro full of past Emmy hosts. Runner-up: Kevin Spacey doing his House of Cards character, Frank Underwood, pretending to have orchestrated Neil Patrick Harris’ downfall: “Getting them all to sabotage Neil was almost too easy.”
3. Outstanding Writers for a Variety Series. OK, so not a quote. But … Oprah and Obama and puppets! (Thanks to Vulture for the video clip.)
4. “I want to thank my wife, Evie, for being so cruel and sexy.” Stephen Colbert makes sure we never tire of his acceptance speeches.
5. “Your family. You love them so much.” Veep fans got a special treat when Tony Hale slipped into character as Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ right-hand man, Gary. Anna Chlumsky got in on the act, too, pretending to be more interested in the phone than her TV boss’ win.
6. “That is far too gay.” NPH scoffed at doing an opening dance number, and then proceeded to do TWO dance numbers in the middle of the show, one of which featured a reunion with his Dr. Horrible nemesis, Nathan Fillion. The other was a spectacular So You Think You Can Dance choreographer’s dream that ended with the SYTYCD choreographers all losing to Dancing With the Stars’ Derek Hough.
7. “What I was not aware of until years later was his lifestyle. Yeah right.” It was a little too obviously coming from the teleprompter, but Elton John’s jab at Liberace’s “closeted” life was cute.
8. “This was a two-hander, and Matt, you’re only as good as your other hand. Matt, you deserve half of this. Do you want the bottom or the top?” Michael Douglas continued the gay jokes as he accepted his award for best actor in a miniseries for Behind the Candelabra. He also got serious for a second and said he hoped he could soon visit his son, who’s doing time in jail for drug possession.
9. “This may be the saddest Emmys of all time, but we could not be happier.” Modern Family’s Steven Levitan dared to make light of all the tributes.
10. “Jordan?” Claire Danes’ Audi ad wasn’t even brand new tonight, but the ever-so-subtle My So Called Life shout-out was just what we needed to bring up our mood tonight.
[Photos: Getty Images]