Saturday, September 20, 2008

What it's like to win an Emmy

Tonight are the Emmys. My review will go up early Monday morning. You probably wonder what it's like to actually win an Emmy. Here's what it was like for me:

You give your speech, aware that there a million people like me out there ready to make ass fun of you. Best to make it short, especially if you're not a celebrity. No one out there gives a shit. You don't blame them. When you're out there you don't give a shit. You're also aware of all the people in the audience glaring at you. They could not be less happy for you.

Then you are escorted backstage, sign a big board of Emmy winners (by rote I signed it “Mazol tov on your bar mitzvah”), get your picture taken with your presenters (which in our case was Arthur & Kathryn Murray (pictured)…who had died two years before the presentation), and are then led around from interview room to interview room.

National TV, local TV, national print, national radio (if there is such a thing anymore), local radio (if there is such a thing at the moment), etc. You’re only in each room a few minutes because the next winners are right behind you. The question you are asked the most is: "So who are you again?"

Finally, after seven or eight of these you are told to go through “that door”. We did and found ourselves literally outside in the alley by the trash cans with the flies buzzing around. The door locked and we couldn’t get back in. We had to walk along the building and back into the main entrance.

It was almost poetic.

I am seriously thrilled to have won an Emmy. I'm only sorry I didn't pose for a picture with it in front of that dumpster -- the perfect reminder that I'm never as great as I think I am.


Anonymous said...

Back in my production days, I always wanted to win a local Emmy and was sorry that I did not. Thank you so much for letting me know it would have been incredibly disappointing.

I can now move on. :-)


Better late then never: I am proud that you won an Emmy.
That help?

Ben Scripps said...

I've won three local Emmy's (Emmies?) in my career in local television. And it's almost exactly the same. Except for millions of people watching, a picture with the presenter, signing the board, the media interviews. And at the local level, it's not a dumpster--just a couple of old metal trash cans.

Actually, for me, it went like this: go up on stage with the three other people with whom you won, stand there trying to remember to not pick your nose while one of the other guys makes a speech. Then behind the curtains, hand off the statuette (they only have the one display model that gets used over and over again) to the rent-a-cop (honest to God--he wears white gloves), sign a couple of forms promising that you really did the work you said you did, then they give you a box with a statue in it. Before you sign your receipt saying you got your statuette, they open the box and show the Emmy to you. It's just like at Pizza Hut, when they show you your pizza to prove it's been made right.

Then, off to another room, where you have your complimentary photograph taken and are given the rare opportunity to purchase at a low, low price a lovely frame in which to place your complimentary photograph. Then, it's back to the ballroom, to wait for your next category to be called. (Or, since you're already outside, over to the bar for more alcohol, since your next category is about two hours away.)

Six to eight weeks later, you get in the mail a flexible metal strip that wraps around the statuette's base. You use the two included screws to fasten it. How do you screw them in? Again, I swear this is true--they gave each winner a Philips head screwdriver with the message "NATAS/RS Owens Congratulates the EMMY AWARD winners."

That is, of course, unless they misspell the title of the program you worked on. Then you send the metal strip back and wait another 6-8 weeks for a new strip which, for unknown reasons, is done in an entirely different typeface and style.

So...pretty much the same.

Anonymous said...


Your account is fascinating, and actually answered a number of questions I'd wondered about for years. I have a number of friends with Emmys, both local and the big ones, but I'd never thought to ask how they can take home awards that night, when the won't be enscribed yet.

Gee, I wish I could win one. I NEED a new Phillips screwdriver.


Annie said...

I voted for you again this year, Ken. Had to write you in, but it was worth it.

Anyone else tempted to go hang out behind the theater tonight by the dumpster? When they push the winners out the back door, we could 'acquire' our very own Emmys.

Emily Blake said...

A friend of mine is up for an Emmy tonight. I'll pass this along so he doesn't get too uppity.

Anonymous said...

So, Ken, Diablo Cody, aka the Girl Who Saved Hollywood or alternately, the Next New Thing, keeps her Oscar under the sink in her bathroom, and inquiring minds want to know, where do you keep your Emmy?

Anonymous said...


great post as usual! I would love to hear what you think of today's NY Times article about the current state of the sitcom. They argue that with Reality Shows pushing the envelope so much in terms of how willing they are to embarrass their contestants, it's left sitcoms without a place to play that traditional role (in the past embarrassing their characters has been a big source of humor, but now it's harder to do as reality shows have taken it to such an extreme.)

What's your take?

Lisa @ Serah's said...

Seriously?! I received better treatment for getting Most Courteous in grade school.