UPDATED with video: Saturday Night Live‘s Emmy win Sunday was hardly unexpected, but the show’s usually stoic creator Lorne Michaels delivered a surprisingly emotional acceptance speech, taking the time to make a touching tribute to the late Chris Farley.
Accepting the Emmy for Outstanding Variety Sketch Series – a win that contributed to SNL‘s massive 72 total wins over the last 44 seasons – Michaels noted that the episode submitted was the Adam Sandler-hosted episode that included Sandler’s tribute to his old pal Farley. (Watch Sandler’s tribute below.)
“This means a lot,” Michaels said. “The show we submitted was the show Adam Sandler did. He came back to host 24 years after he left, and in middle of the show he did a tribute to Chris Farley, and the crew and the cast and everyone who was in that studio, most of whom worked here when Chris Farley and Adam Sandler were young men, it’s rare that you see a camera man tear up or the boom crew crying. It was a very chilling moment, and very powerful.”
The troubled Farley died of a drug overdose in 1997. Michaels ended his acceptance by saying that moments like Sandler’s Farley tribute are “what keeps us there. And the politics.”
It was a sweet moment, undermined only a bit by the Emmy directors cutting to a wider shot that showed a grinning Kenan Thompson taking cell phone pictures of the audience from the stage as Michaels spoke.
And of course, longtime viewers will know that both Sandler and Farley were fired by Michaels and/or NBC back in the ’90s, a fact Sandler brought up in his opening monologue song “I Was Fired” for the winning episode. “I heard a nasty rumor that I was getting the sack/I tried to call Lorne Michaels/But he never called me back,” he sang.
SNL also won the Emmy for Outstanding Directing For A Variety Series, with director Don Roy King, who helmed the submitted Sandler episode, accepting. With the two wins, SNL‘s total over its long run climbed to 72.
SNL was widely expected to take the big trophy, despite a fairly strong, if not as high profile or widely viewed, line-up of competitors: Showtime’s Who Is America?, IFC’s Documentary Now!, Hulu’s I Love Your America, Comedy Central’s Drunk History and TruTV’s At Home With Amy Sedaris.
Still, the win comes at an interesting time in SNL‘s long history. Alec Baldwin, largely responsible for the show’s buzzy resurgence over the last few years, has made no secret of his increasing dislike of playing Donald Trump on the show.
Tonight, Emmy voters disagreed, loud and clear.
Here’s Sandler’s Farley tribute from the May 4 episode: