“First off, I just want to thank Ken Burns for making me feel like the laziest motherf*ck on the planet,” Dan Fogelman said accepting the TV Critics Association Award for Best New Program for his NBC series This Is Us. Burns had just been awarded the association’s Career Achievement Award for an extensive body of lauded documentary work.

“When I was a kid I used to go to school. And you don’t imagine that your teachers live outside the world of the school,” Fogelman said, pivoting.

“And that’s how I think of you, all living here at the Beverly Hilton,” he told the TV critics, who gather at the hotel every summer to talk to producers and network execs about upcoming programming for the new TV season.

He thanked them for being brave enough to honor a show that dares to be sentimental, saying it “means a great deal to all of us.”