Sunday, September 18, 2016

What it's like to win an Emmy

The Emmy Awards are tonight!  Unfortunately, I will not be reviewing them this year.  I am in New York and will be flying home during the ceremony.   I'm sure there are some of you who are thrilled I'm not reviewing the Emmys.  Sam Rubin for one. 

But since "Emmys" are in the air, I thought I'd take advantage of that to tell you what it's like to actually 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, you take 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.

Good luck to all of the nominees tonight.   I'll save up my snark for next year. 


Matthew said...

That bit at the end reminds me of the Frasier episode about the silver/gold/platinum doors in the health spa.

BA said...

Kind of like the RADIO DAYS rooftop scene with the jinxed cigarette-girl! MeTV has scheduled "cast reminisces" episode of CHEERS tonight I should add.

Joseph Scarbrough said...

Uh, didn't we already have the Emmys this year? Twice?

Wendy M. Grossman said...

There was a very funny story posted by Rob Burnett, Letterman's producer, about rushing back to the airport, Emmy in hand, to make the plane back to NYC. Of course: stopped at security. In his account, he could watch the TSO's mind split in half. One half (my paraphrasing): "These sharp points on the back there...those could hurt someone on the plane." The other half: "Oh, my god, that's an Emmy. Can I hold it?"


Diane D. said...

Still, it was something you earned with talent and hard work. It wasn't a gift. And most people would give anything for that kind of recognition by their peers. You indicated that going through that last door put winning in perspective, but it didn't. You still had an Emmy in your hand---you still knew that many writers had voted for you and your partner above all others. You shouldn't make light of it. I'm glad we got to read this story this year, instead of snark. It was a charming, funny story.

Paul Duca said...

You and David are another link to the Murrays...Kathryn babysat Dick Clark when both families lived in the same apartment building. Their daughter married Dr. Henry Heimlich, of maneuver fame. That made them great aunt and uncle to Anson "Potsie" Williams.

Cap'n Bob said...

I saw the last two awards. About 200 people walked on stage to accept between the two winning shows. I think Kramer was among them. Seat fillers were getting $500 a head by then.

David P said...

Unrelated to Emmys: WP Kinsella, the author of the novella "Shoeless Joe" which was made into the movie "FIeld of Dreams", died at age 81.

Mike Barer said...

Is there a clip of you accepting the Emmy?

YEKIMI said...

When I die and I end up wherever I end up, Arthur Murray had better be there. The S.O.B. owes me a months worth of pay from teaching little old ladies how to foxtrot and Charleston and waltz back in the early 80s in between radio gigs. Always an excuse; we had a glitch in the system and your stuff didn't get entered. End of the month and next payday later....."oh we lost your info" so you'll have to wait. I said "Adios, Mother F*****rs, see you in court" and split. I remember seeing a news article a few decades ago about them being sued for not paying employees and ripping off old ladies but to this day I have never seen a dime.

Anonymous said...


Ken: Could you tell us some backstage stories about Wings. There are lots of rumors about various actors/actresses who tried out for parts. What are your favorite memories from Wings. How much fun was it to be a part of?

Also: Who was the red head who worked the Aero Mass counter? I don't believe she ever spoke. Wondering if she continued in the business.

Great Blog, Thanks for doing it.


Jahn Ghalt said...

What a bunch of meanies!

I'd almost think that was a practical joke - but it seems to fit with stories of writers' shabby treatment - in film, anyway.

Too bad you didn't hold the door open and come back in - that might have made a better story (a worse one?).

What to do for the next nomination:

1) Dry clean the tux, ask the wife to forget, and show up smiling. When you win give a "clever" speech, a "bitter" speech, or a standard speech.

("I'm going back to my seat now. Really. Not going backstage.")

2) Pull a Woody Allen - with or without explanation

3) Send a Proxy

In any case, write a therapy sketch and put it with your notes for the next book, and maybe publish it (maybe not).

Kosmo13 said...

Thanks for these insights into how things work on the Boob Tube.

Bryan Thomas said...

Were they trying to inspire your next nominated work with that final move or is that what they do to everyone? Hard to believe a star would put up with that.