The 66th Emmy Awards are tonight, and with these awards shows it’s always a toss up as to whether it’s going to be entertaining and memorable or completely boring and rote. However, if the people behind tonight’s show take a look back at memorable moments of years past, they could find some truly valuable lessons.
9. Enforce the time limit
Remember way back in 2006 when Conan put Bob Newhart in a glass cage with three hours worth of air? That show ended three minutes early! Maybe this year, Seth Meyers should lock up Donald Trump and just see if they happen to run over.
8. Channel your inner Elaine Stritch
Every year there’s someone who refuses to be played off the stage. No one, though, has ever done it quite as perfectly (and honestly) as Elaine Stritch did in 2004. Personally, I’d love to hear Jesse Tyler Ferguson tell us all the people he doesn’t like.
7. Accepting in character
When Julia Louis-Dreyfus accepted her award in character last year, it was hilarious and subtle. In a perfect world, this year we’d get to see Kate Mulgrew’s Red terrify the whole room.
6. Always watch Kevin Spacey
This one is a lesson for the producers. No matter what is happening. Always keep at least one camera on Kevin Spacey.
(And yes, that last one is from the Oscars. The point still stands.)
5. Don’t ignore the rest of the world
Jon Stewart’s pre-taped segment in 2005 was the exact right balance between necessary outrage and comedy. His rant condemning the government’s slow response to Hurricane Katrina was a needed dose of reality in a night devoted to entertainment, but the “edits” provided by the censors made it both funny and network-friendly. Now, absolutely no one is saying Seth Meyers should be making Ferguson jokes, but it’s nice when the glitzy, opulent awards shows have an awareness of what’s going on outside the golden palace.
4. Don’t hide your excitement
If Jon Hamm FINALLY wins, he’d better do a damn cartwheel, Alan Alda-style.
3. Let Tina & Amy do WHATEVER THEY WANT
Obviously we’ve all learned by now that the key to a great awards show is to let these two run it.
2. Don’t just accept the mistakes. Run with them.
When Lucille Ball forgot her glasses in 1975, and ended up opening all the envelopes in front of her, it was a genuine hilarious moment. I don’t think people would object if Best Actor were decided by a race to the stage between Jon Hamm and Bryan Cranston.
1. Be weird.
Dustin has predicted that Seth Meyers’ show will be “conservative” and “affable,” and Meyers himself has said that his biggest goal for the night is to “avoid a train wreck.” That may be a fine goal, but it does not bode well for an entertaining show. So it may be up to the nominees to make this one memorable. When Amy Poehler jumped on stage in 2011 and turned her category into a Best Actress Pageant, it was surprising and touching and super weird. Let’s make sure there are a few moments like that tonight, alright?
Come back tonight for Courtney’s annual Emmy liveblog. Wear your finest gown/sweatpants/gown made of sweatpants.