The 12 Most Outrageous Moments From the 2021 Emmy Awards
Rita Wilson rapped, Conan O'Brien heckled, and 'The Crown' won big.
The mostly quiet 2021 Emmys opened with Rita Wilson rapping, featured Conan O'Brien crashing multiple speeches, and celebrated Ted Lasso and The Crown over and over again. Yes, the two UK-set shows took home the big prizes, Outstanding Comedy Series and Outstanding Drama Series, as well as many many other trophies. The Crown actually swept all of the drama categories handed out during the telecast. There were other winners. Jean Smart won for Hacks, and the HBO comedy was awarded the prizes that Ted Lasso didn't grab. And while The Queen's Gambit took Outstanding Limited or Anthology Series, Mare of Easttown and I May Destroy You also picked up Emmys. There were also wild outfits, a couple of swears, and more outrageous moments. Here's what you missed out on during the 73rd Emmy Awards below.
Emma Corrin's crazy red carpet look
She wasn't even in LA for the ceremony, but The Crown's Princess Diana Emma Corrin had basically the only outfit worth talking about on the red carpet. Corrin appeared at Netflix's London-based ceremony, which was basically so members of The Crown cast didn't have to travel, wearing a Miu Miu look that was like a ghost went swimming. The gown was a fairly simple, strapless look in muted yellow, but it was accented with a matching bonnet and elbow-length gloves, the fingers of which were cut out so her giant, spiky black nails could be on full display. In an Instagram post, Corrin described it as "crucible realness," which, I guess? But Abigail Williams nor Goody Proctor never had those talons.
The show opened with a Biz Markie tribute
Did you expect to see Rita Wilson rapping at the Emmys? Well, that's what you got in host Cedric the Entertainer's opening, a parody of the late Biz Markie's "Just a Friend" rewritten to be all about television. Cedric kicked things off and then was joined by LL Cool J, Lil Dicky, and, most randomly, Wilson. Other musically inclined stars were handed microphones to act as backup, including Mandy Moore, Daveed Diggs, Tracee Ellis Ross, and Billy Porter. Seth Rogen was impressed and surprised. "That was like when I was listening to music with my mom and she knew all the words to 'WAP,'" he said when he came out to introduce the first award: Supporting Actress in a Comedy, which went to Hannah Waddingham from Ted Lasso.
Seth Rogen unhappy with COVID protocols and everyone else told him he was wrong
Rogen was the first presenter of the night and was not at all happy with the situation. "They said this was outdoors," he said. "It's not!" Technically, it was sort of outdoors. It was in a tent at the Event Deck at LA Live in downtown Los Angeles. Still, he was not happy. His claims, however, prompted both DJ Reggie Watts and host Cedric the Entertainer to reassure the audience that everything was safe.
Brett Goldstein was bleeped after being told "specifically not to swear"
Look, it's exciting to win an award! And sometimes that excitement means your words get away from you a little bit. Brett Goldstein, accepting his Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series award for Ted Lasso, opened his acceptance speech with the warning: "I was specifically told not to swear, so…" and, predictably, the audio cut out while he disobeyed that particular instruction. He then thanked the show's co-creators, his family, and the rest of the cast, who "makes me sick they're so good" before using some more choice words unfit for our ears (also bleeped). And who can really blame him??
The Last Week Tonight writers dedicated their win to Adam Driver
HBO's Last Week Tonight with John Oliver has taken home the Emmy for Outstanding Writing for a Variety Series for six consecutive years, so it wasn't exactly a big upset when the team won yet again. (It won the Outstanding Variety Talk Series award for the sixth year in a row, too.) But, for those who don't keep up with the news explainer, writer Chrissy Shackelford's dedication to actor Adam Driver might have been a little confusing. "He knows what he did," she joked towards the end of their speech. We all loved Annette, but… what's going on here? It turns out, Oliver and his writers have been making thirsty comments about the very large actor for a while, and he even (virtually) dropped by the show at the end of last year.
The fly that landed on Mike Pence's head became an undercover agent
Listen, we get it: Doing comedy sketches during an awards show is a mostly thankless task. Most viewers just want the show to keep moving. But Cedric the Entertainer's pre-taped bit about communicating with the fly that landed on Mike Pence's head during the Vice Presidential debate against Kamala Harris was particularly painful, killing the momentum of the show for a series of gags that would've felt played out in 2020. It's 2021! The VP debate was almost a year ago! Did they pitch Anthony Scaramucci some bits too?
Actors who've never won an Emmy held a support group
To pad out the live award presenting, the Emmys featured a number of prerecorded sketches, one of which celebrated (commiserated with) all the talented actors out there who unfortunately don't count themselves amongst the Emmy winners. Luckily, there's a "No Emmy Support Group" for the likes of Jason Alexander, Alyson Hannigan, Scott Bakula, and Zooey Deschanel to air their grievances, "directed" by Fred Savage (you know, the kid from... The Princes Bride).
Jean Smart gave a touching speech for her Hacks win
As predicted, Jean Smart won a very deserved Emmy for her work as a lead actress in Hacks, and her triumph was met with a standing ovation by the members of the audience. Her speech was just as wonderful and emotional as expected. She began by paying honor to her husband Richard Gilliland, who died six months prior, explaining how he allowed his career to take a backseat to her own pursuits. The rest of the speech was a tribute to her Hacks cast and crew, specifically to her co-star Hannah Einbinder, who mouthed "I love you" from her seat.
The big red "STOP" on the teleprompter
Ever wondered how the Emmys keep things moving along, keeping the broadcast at a somewhat reasonable length while also giving out a gajillion awards? Turns out, like other awards shows, they're plenty strict about how much time the winners get to thank everyone they need to thank. In fact, when it looks like you're about to go over the allotted 45 seconds, you're treated to a red screen on the teleprompter blaring "PLEASE STOP." And if you decide to go over, as many do, they take out the "PLEASE" to let you know they mean business.
Jason Sudeikis joked that Lorne Michels took a dump during his speech
When a mustache-less Jason Sudeikis accepted his award for Best Actor in a Comedy Series for his work on Apple TV's Ted Lasso, he dedicated his win to mentors, teachers, and teammates. But one of the mentors he thanked—SNL head honcho Lorne Michels, who cast him on the sketch show years ago—wasn't in the audience when Sudeikis wanted to give him his shoutout. "I want to thank Lorne, who went to go take a dump now—perfect," joked the actor. There's a lesson here: If you think Jason Sudeikis is going to mention you on stage, maybe push that bathroom trip to the commercial break.
Conan O'Brien crashed the ceremony a few times
Conan O'Brien, who did not win an Emmy tonight, did a bit apparently just for fun when the Television Academy Chairman Frank Scherma came out on stage. O'Brien started just by shouting, prompting the entire audience to turn around in confusion. When the camera finally found him, he was saluting Scherma, who was giggling. But there was some anger toward O'Brien on Twitter when it became clear that Scherma was there to introduce the tribute to Debbie Allen, receiving the Governors Award. Later, he joined the crew of The Late Show With Stephen Colbert's win for Live Variety Special for the shows' 2020 Election Night Special up on stage.
Michaela Coel wrote a stunning poem for her acceptance speech
Winning the Emmy for Outstanding Writing for a Limited or Anthology Series or Movie for I May Destroy You, Michaela Coel came to the podium amid a standing ovation armed with a speech composed directly for writers that was succinct and powerful. "Write the tale that scares you, that makes you feels uncertain, that isn't comfortable—I dare you," she began. "In a world that entices us to browse through the lives of others to better determine how we feel about ourselves, and to, in turn, feel the need to be constantly visible, for visibility these days seems to somehow equate to success: Do not be afraid to disappear from it, from us, for a while and see what comes to you in the silence." Her speech was a revelation, especially given how the winner directly prior, The Queen's Gambit's Scott Frank, was played off three different times and ignored those cues to power through a two-page speech, earning jeers on Twitter for what some saw as his white male entitlement.