Seth Meyers kept it old school, as promised, in his first time hosting the Emmy Awards, going with straightforward monologue, as he’d forecast — and poking fun at the industry rather than shows or individuals — as he’d promised Guiliana Rancic on the red carpet:
“Welcome to the Emmy Awards. This year we’re doing it on a Monday in August which I understand in television means the Emmys are about to get canceled,” Meyers said at the top of his opening. “We’re doing it on a Monday in part because MTV aired the Video Music Awards. Yes, MTV still has an award for music videos,” He marveled. “That’s like networks holding an awards show and giving all the trophies to cable and Netflix. That would be crazy! Why would they do that?!”
He noted it’s the first time the Emmy Awards has been held on a Monday night since 1976. Back then, the four nominees for best drama series were cop shows Police Story, Baretta and Columbo. “You voted for the policeman whose hat you liked best.”
At Summer TV Press Tour 2014, Meyers promised this year’s Emmycast would be “upbeat” and “fun” and not “morbid” — an apparent reference to the five tributes to dead industry notables that were presented in addition to the usual In Memoriam segment of the ceremony. His job, he’d said, was to be old-school entertaining and that the first 10 minutes of the show was the best place to go for laughs because as the night wears on, more and more people in the audience are disappointed because they did not win.
More recently, he’d told Carson Daly’s radio show he expected the Emmys to be a lot harder than when he hosted the White House Correspondents Dinner. “Even if you bomb at the White House Correspondents Dinner, you’re the funniest person in the room. Whereas at the Emmys, even if you kill, you’re not as funny as some of the people that sitting in the first few rows, so that’s the intimidating part of the Emmys…At least at the White House Correspondents Dinner if a joke bombed, I wasn’t going to look down and see Tina Fey. I was going to look down and see a congressman from Wyoming and I’d be like, ‘Oh, you’re so funny?'”
He said he’s stick with a monologue only for his opening bit “because that’s where I think my strengths lie.”
Last week, Meyers had announced other late-night hosts will take the stage tonight, including CBS’s David Letterman replacement and current Comedy Central star Stephen Colbert, as well as Meyers’ NBC late-night lead-in Jimmy Fallon, and ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel.
How did his opener stack up against last year’s? Neil Patrick Harris — CBS’s go-to guy for trophy show hosting, including a previous Emmy gig and several at bats hosting the Tony Awards — 2009, 2011, 2012, and 2013. Watch and compare here: