Sunday, June 10, 2007

What it's like to win an Emmy

A reader asked for some Emmy stories. Here's what happened when I was fortunate enough to win one. And it puts winning in perspective.

You're in the audience suffering through the show. Finally it's your category. You wake up. The envelope is ripped open, your name is read, you can’t believe it, and you race up to the stage. You stand at the podium.

What’s going through your mind at a monumental moment like this? For me, honestly, I thought of all the assholes I went through basic training with in the army who thought I was such a fuck up. I was hoping they were watching and having heart attacks from shock. I was also aware that everyone in the audience was glaring at me. I saw the red light of the camera, knew that yes, this was my one big moment on national television. But I also knew that if I didn’t get the hell off quick – I mean REAL quick -- millions of people I didn’t know were going to hate my guts.

So I rushed through my prepared speech, thanked my wife, son, and I think Drill Sgt. Miller then was led off.

Backstage, we took photos with your presenters. In our case, Arthur & Kathryn Murray. Who knew they were even still alive? Then we were led from one interview room to the next. National TV, national radio, local press, national press, foreign press, magazines, food product surveys, I dunno. Light bulbs flashing. Questions coming from all sides. Microphones shoved in my face. And after a few minutes we’re ushered into the next room because the next winners are breathing down our necks. We were in a daze. We just went where they told us. Finally we were told to go through “that door”. We did. It closed and locked behind us.

And we found ourselves outside. In the alley. Next to the garbage dump, surrounded by buzzing flies. In our tuxedos, holding our shiny new Emmys. What the fuck?! We banged on the door to get back in. Nothing. We walked along the side of the building, trying other doors. All closed. I thought of maybe using the Emmy to jimmy one of the locks. No dice. It took us fifteen minutes to finally get back into the hall.

Which more than matched the fifteen minutes of fame.

TOMORROW: My review of the last SOPRANOS and the TONY AWARDS.


Dwacon said...

If I ever get to win one, I'll watch out for that door.

Anonymous said...

As someone who works on about 20 "award" shows a year, I actually enjoy the Emmy's.

The Oscars, Tonys and Emmys are still capable of generating some memorable and touching moments, usually in the form of acceptance speeches. (S. Epatha Merkerson's acceptance at the 2005 Emmys comes to mind.)

Look how much work goes into building an Emmy Award.

Anonymous said...

That's disgusting! Someone drape a large cloth over that metal nudity! ;)

Malachy Walsh said...

THAT is a great story. Perfect.

Anonymous said...

Your experience of getting locked out in the alley showed up in the day spa episode of "Frasier," didn't it?

Anonymous said...

I always like the Golden Globes due to the increased potential of drunken ramblings by the, the ones who get the awards that we cannot term winner as someone might get their feelings hurt.

Graham Powell said...

So what did you win an Emmy for?

Anonymous said...

I remember a Golden Globes award show back in the 60s or early 70s where Lucille Ball got roaring drunk and rowdy, bellowing remarks she thought were funny and then laughing racously. It was more fun than any Emmy, Tony, or Oscar show I've ever seen. That's awardtainment.

Of course, I've deeply honored the Golden Globes ever since the year they gave one to Pia Zadora for "Best Newcomer" after Pia's wealthy husband flew all the Globe voters to Vegas and put them up at his own expense. She should have won "Best No-Talent".

Not that you can buy a GG. Oh wait. You can, but they're pricey.

Cathy Fielding said...

What a perfect analogy for what Hollywood thinks of its writers!

Anonymous said...

I won an Emmy a few years back and the presenters were Morey Amsterdam and Rosemarie. Morey passed away a few weeks later and was obviously not "all there." Rather than name the nominees in my category, he quickly "the winner is..." and named me.

I quickly tried to think who to thank (I did not expect to win this one) and went up after the taped listing of the nominees. I felt the hold that comics have on their audience when I got to the mike, waited for them to quiet down and said, truthfully: "What a surprise!" They all laughed at once. What power! Great times.