TV’s biggest night is perennially filled with memorable moments, especially in the last decade – from Ellen DeGeneres’ movingly poignant and equally comedic quips in the first post-9/11 Emmys in 2001, to Conan’s legendary opening montage in 2006, and, of course, Brad Garrett & Garry Shandling channeling Madonna & Britney with their own Emmy lip lock.
Now, AccessHollywood.com counts down the Top 10 Most Memorable Emmy Moments of the past decade…
#10 — Jon Stewart, 2005
Comedy Central’s “Daily Show” host, Jon Stewart, hosted a pre-taped sketch to address the government’s response to Hurricane Katrina, while also poking fun at network censors. The result was a hilarious video of dubbed phrases and images to cover up the harsh critique Stewart had for the government, including a puppy covering his middle finger.
#9 — Ellen DeGeneres, 2001
After the attacks of September 11, the Emmy Awards were postponed twice. Host Ellen DeGeneres gave everyone a well-needed dose of comedy with lines including, '‘they can’t take away our creativity, our striving for excellence, our joy,’’ she said. '‘Only network executives can do that.’’ She also joked, “What would upset the Taliban more than a gay woman wearing a suit in front of a room full of Jews?”
#8 — Emmy Idol, 2005
Besides Jon and Ellen, what could beat watching Donald Trump in overalls and a straw hat singing the theme to “Green Acres” alongside Megan Mullally? The Donald held a pitchfork while the two belted out an unmelodic tune in front of a large screen showing Green Acre images. It became a moment Emmy watchers might never forget.
#7 — Conan O’Brien, 2006
It was a jam-packed 15 minutes that included a parody of “Lost,” dropping in on the cast from “The Office,” a conversation with Jack Bauer of “24”and even a “South Park: Trapped in the Closet Parody.” Conan made this opening one of the most memorable not only of the decade – but of all of Emmy history.
#6 — Kristin Chenoweth, 2009
The pint-sized powerhouse took the stage at the 2009 Emmys to accept the award for Best Supporting Actress for her role as Olive Snook in the since-canceled “Pushing Daisies” and took the opportunity to let Hollywood know of her availability – and the shows she’d love to star on. “I’m not employed now so I’d like to be on ‘Mad Men.’ I also like ‘The Office’ and ’24,’” she said, to rousing laughter and applause. The ploy must’ve worked as she soon landed a recurring guest spot on FOX’s “Glee.”
#5 — Steve Carell, Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart, 2007
When comedians Stephen Colbert, Jon Stewart and Steve Carell share a stage together, there is bound to be funny moments. They didn’t disappoint, when after Ricky Gervais was not present to accept his award for “Extras,” Steve Carell accepted the award on his behalf, resulting in the biggest three-man bear hug in Emmy history!
#4 — Helen Mirren, 2006
Upon winning the Lead Actress in a Miniseries or Movie Emmy for HBO’s “Elizabeth I,” British actress Helen Mirren started her acceptance speech with, '‘My great triumph is not falling a** over t*t as I came up those stairs.’’ Somehow, the words got by the censors, and a few minutes later Calista Flockhart and Craig Ferguson repeated it, uncensored as well.
#3 — Bob Newhart, 2006
Emmys have always had problems with people going over the time limit on their speeches. To stop this, they put Bob Newhart in a glass booth with exactly three hours of breathable air. If the show were to run long, the winners would supposedly end up suffocating Bob Newhart. The stunt worked and the show actually ended three minutes early.
#2 — Heidi Klum, Tom Bergeron, Howie Mandel, Jeff Probst, Ryan Seacrest, 2008
Proving not all entries on this list are memorable for a good reason, the 2008 quintet of reality series hosts-turned-Emmy hosts was a critically panned disaster. On the heels of the Writers Strike, it was a frightening glimpse into what TV might look like without scripted bits. The show’s opening painfully awkward sequence – with Jeff Probst admitting “We have absolutely nothing,” and Howie Mandel following with, “This is not a bit” — should’ve been hint enough that viewers were in for a rough night. Sadly, many didn’t stick around to see it – the show delivered the worst ratings in its illustrious history, with a paltry 12.3 million viewers tuning in.
#1 — Brad Garrett and Garry Shandling, 2003
After the MTV VMAs’ infamous Madonna and Britney lip lock earlier in the month, it wasn’t surprising that this moment would be parodied at the Emmys. The surprising part, however, was the participants. In the show opening, Brad Garrett (then highly paid as a star in “Everybody Loves Raymond”) planted one on Garry Shandling, who joked, '‘I just want to say to CBS, he’s worth every nickel.’’