The View From Inside The Emmy Awards

Tina Fey and host Jimmy Fallon perform onstage at the 62nd Annual Primetime Emmy Awards Tina Fey and host Jimmy Fallon perform onstage at the 62nd Annual Primetime Emmy Awards

Here’s what some of our Emmy watchers were seeing from the lobby, the trophy table and seat 215, Row AA of the Nokia Theatre at the 62nd Annual Emmy Awards.

So, you were watching the Emmys at home and probably wondering how host Jimmy Fallon could go from looking like Elton John at a piano one moment to impersonating a guitar-slinging Green Day frontman Billie Joe Armstrong the next. As Fallon paid tribute in songparody to such bygone programs as “24,” '‘Law&Order” and “Lost,” a cadre of women was standing nearby, waiting to literally rip one costume off him, revealing another underneath. When he was done, the Nokia Theatre orchestra broke into a version of David Bowie’s “Fame.”

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But how did Fallon navigate, guitar-in-hand, through a darkened Nokia Theatre to perform his comedy song segments throughout the three-hour show? Simple. He had a guy with a little flashlight guide him around.

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Fallon’s opening musical number slayed the theatre audience, which went wild as his makeshift “Glee” club explosively appeared on stage, with a special cameo by guitar-playing “American Idol” judge Randy Jackson to perform an amped-up parody of Bruce Springsteen’s “Born to Run.” Then came a little bump in the road when Fallon’s next comedy bit, reading what were supposed to be funny tweets delivered by Twitter-using viewers, fell flat. Fortunately, he quickly returned to the guitar.

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Ricky Gervais is no Oprah Winfrey, but at least he tried. After Gervais joked that the more uptight Emmys could benefit from letting the booze flow a bit more freely, like they do at the Golden Globe Awards, a handful of servers showed up with free beer. Unfortunately, there was only enough to go to the first few rows. Anyone else who wanted a beer had to dash to the lobby during a commercial and shell out $10.75.

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One of the best things about watching the Emmys from inside the Nokia Theatre is not having to sit through commercials. Instead, the audience is treated to clips of particularly funny and charming past Emmy acceptance speeches. One of them this year was the classic clip of Lucille Ball fumbling about without her glasses and then be rescued by Milton Berle, who rushed onstage.

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Will the real Amy Poehler please rush back to her seat. The star of “Parks and Recreation” got so caught up mingling with her former “Saturday Night Live” cast members during a commercial break that she barely made it back to her camera-friendly front-row seat in time to trade with her seat filler.

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As David Strathairn accepted his Emmy for supporting actor in a movie or miniseries for “Temple Grandin,” Jewel quietly took the stage off-camera with her guitar and had a moment alone in the darkness as she prepared to deliver “Shape of You” during her moving tribute to TV industry figures who died this past year. As their pictures flashed on the screen, Gary Coleman, Rue McClanahan and Dennis Hopper got the warmest rounds of applause from the theatre audience.

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Don’t get him wrong, George Clooney enjoyed that joke scene during the Emmys that put him in bed with Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Eric Stonestreet, who play the gay couple on “Modern Family.” But it was good “to talk about things that matter,” Clooney said backstage after accepting the Television Academy’s Bob Hope Humanitarian Award. The trophy was delivered to him by Julianna Margulies, his love interest on “ER.”

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After Eric Stonestreet won the Emmy for supporting actor in a comedy, his “Modern Family” co-stars Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Ty Burrell and Julie Bowen were there to reward him with an old-fashioned group hug. Jane Lynch and Stephen Colbert experienced a different kind of physicality, however, after Colbert presented Lynch with her Emmy for supporting actress in a comedy. The pair had to be chased down and grabbed by a statuesque Emmy wrangler when they exited the stage the wrong way.

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The upset of the night, as far as the Nokia Theatre audience was concerned, was when the Bravo channel’s “Top Chef” wrestled the best reality show Emmy away from “The Amazing Race,” which had won it seven years in a row. The most surprised people in the audience? Perhaps the show’s co-host Padma Lakshmi and judge Gail Simmons, who had to race through the audience to meet their colleagues on stage.

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Bryan Cranston and his “Breaking Bad” co-star Aaron Paul may have pulled a one-two sweep of the best actor and best supporting actor awards for drama series, but they got stuck with just about the worst seats in the Nokia Theatre. The two were seated at the far right end of the stage, directly in front of the orchestra. The cast members of “Glee” had the best seats, center stage.

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Many Emmy winners don’t want to turn loose of their hard-earned awards. Not Jim Parsons who collected the lead actor in a comedy series award for “The Big Bang Theory.” '‘I take this with me?” Parsons asked as he arrived at the backstage trophy table to collect his real Emmy, not the one they hand out in front of the cameras. Asked how he planned to celebrate when he got that Emmy home, Parsons said, “Maybe I’ll have ice cream.”

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Inside the Nokia Theatre lobby minutes before showtime, it was chaos. You couldn’t hear the audio being piped in from the red carpet outside because of the crush of chatty attendees schmoozing. “Please make your way into the theater!” a security guard finally barked.

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Just outside, the lobby’s men’s room, “The Amazing Race” host Phil Keoghan was wolfing down a bag of popcorn while Seth Meyers of “Saturday Night Live” was fidgeting with his smartphone as the show was about to begin. Across the way, Lauren Graham fiddled with her hexagon-shaped purse as she mingled with the crowd. Kevin McHale from “Glee” chatted with “Dexter” co-stars James Remar and C.S. Lee.

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Inside the theatre, Terry O’Quinn from “Lost” and Kate Gosslin from “Kate Plus 8” were finding their seats while others stood to watch the last ofthe red carpet scene as it was broadcast on large television screens. “Turn that prompter towards me. Thank you,” Billy Bush could be heard barking during a commercial break.

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A little more than three hours later, it was time to clean up, as Jimmy Fallon’s attempt to douse the audience with a farewell champagne spritz fell short and mainly just soaked the camera guy positioned below him.

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