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Inside Emmys 2022: Here’s What You Didn’t See at Home

Inside the Emmys ceremony, the announcer offered edibles advice and that Kia commercial still didn't make any sense.

Two men and one woman in suits at a microphone on a stage; image from the 74th Annual Emmy Awards.

Lorne Michaels, Kenan Thompson, and Amy Poehler at the 2022 Emmys

Kevin Mazur/WireImage via Getty

About 15 minutes before the 74th Emmy Awards began, an announcement: “If you timed your edibles just right, now is the time to take your seats.”

That microdose of chaos set the tone for Emmy night at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. After a virtual ceremony in 2020 and a COVID-compliant hybrid in 2021, this year marked a return to the Emmys before the pandemic. Instead of row seating, attendees sat at gala tables facing a runway-style stage that ran through the center of the theater.

As always, the telecast had its highs and lows and many moments didn’t make it to air. Here are a handful of Emmy moments from inside the room where it happened.

All That Cursing

In his acceptance speech for that award, Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series, winner Michael Keaton concluded with the night’s first censored cursing: “I fucking love you man,” he said to his supporters. “Ted Lasso” star Brett Goldstein later said the same to his family, deliberately causing the live stream to cut out for them in England. John Oliver noted that he was meeting presenters Steve Martin and Martin Short “in the weirdest fucking way possible,” while Jennifer Coolidge uttered a rogue “shit” while situating herself in front of the microphone.

Sheryl Lee Ralph Supremacy

Viewers witnessed multiple standing ovations for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series winner Sheryl Lee Ralph (the second Black woman ever to win in this category), but when Ralph’s name was called audience members at the Microsoft Theater actually jumped up and down in their seats as she composed herself and prepared to walk to the stage.

 

Jokes That Didn’t Land Inside, Either

Emmy telecast writers could learn from those Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series nominees. So many jokes fell flat for audiences at home commenting on Twitter, and they weren’t any better inside the theater. Bowen Yang’s “So many things could go wrong… you could straight up disappear like a show on HBO Max” elicited groans, while an extended commercial from key Emmys sponsor Kia — something about dialogue interpretation? — left confusion in its wake. A “Simpsons” bit about Botox fared no better.

The Slap Joke That Never Was

Ahead of the telecast, everyone at the Microsoft Theater received detailed verbal instructions about the run of show. They were told to stay in their seats except during commercial breaks, to make haste with speeches or they would be played off after 45 seconds, and that if anyone approached the stage, “Just know you will get your ass severely beaten.”

A Big Night for the Big Grrrls

No one had as much fun inside the Microsoft Theater as the cast of Lizzo’s “Watch Out for the Big Grrrls.” From the “Law & Order” title song remix in the opening to their own win for Outstanding Competition Program, the cast was living it up and enjoying every moment.

Commitment to the Bit

From Mariska Hargitay and Christopher Meloni running through the theater to Will Arnett dragging co-presenter Jimmy Kimmel on stage, some skits were well-received — at least, until they overstayed their welcome. As soon as Quinta Brunson won the award for Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series (“You look good, girl,” announce Sam Jay said to her later over the PA system), Kimmel’s continued presence on stage — where he stayed until the commercial break — was perceived as undercutting Brunson’s win (a historic win, at that).

Zedd Living His Best Life

The official Emmys DJ made his own fun, playing “Clarity” during a commercial break and “The Middle” multiple times. If you’ve got the gig, get the promo! Here’s hoping Zedd will be featured in an iconic “Stranger Things 5” scene.

A Standing Ovation for Selma

Selma Blair presented the final award of the night, the statue for Outstanding Drama Series, and received a standing ovation at the Microsoft Theater. The award went to “Succession” (whose team fit on the stage only slightly better than that of “Ted Lasso”), closing out another night of predictions, upsets, and victories.

Additional reporting by Marcus Jones.

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