Neil Patrick Harris hosted the Emmy Awards on Sunday night, but he didn't start out with a big song-and-dance number, as he did earlier in the year with the Tony Awards. Instead, he opened the show with "a dreary opening sketch that featured Harris locking himself in a multi-screen chamber to binge the entire 2012-13 season of every television show in a matter of minutes," says an unimpressed Hank Stuever at The Washington Post.
But Harris also got in a few jokes, the most memorable of which you can watch above. The joke itself isn't great — Paula Deen? Really? — but the way he acknowledged its staleness is pretty clever. Then previous Emmy hosts — Jimmy Kimmel, Jane Lynch, Jimmy Fallon, and Conan O’Brien — came on stage to needle Harris. That brings us to the first of our six funniest moments in this year's ho-hum celebration of all things TV:
1. Tina Fey and Amy Poehler give Harris some advice
Subscribe to The Week
Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.
The Saturday Night Live alumnae got pretty glowing reviews for their hosting of this year's Golden Globes, and after Harris dispatches with the former Emmy hosts, Fey and Poehler start offering their own advice from the front row of the audience. They are wearing 3D glasses, eating popcorn, and demanding twerking:
2. Merritt Weaver gives a memorable acceptance speech
Lots of people were surprised that Nurse Jackie's Weaver won best supporting actress. Weaver, apparently, was one of them. Gawker's Rich Juzwiak calls it "the best Emmys speech of all time." Every acceptance speech should be "this short and this weird," he adds. "None of them will be."
3. Michael Douglas gets saucy with Matt Damon
Douglas won Best Actor in a Miniseries or Movie for his portrayal of Liberace in the HBO project Behind the Candelabra. He spent a good part of the speech thanking his co-star and on-screen gay lover, Matt Damon. E!'s Erik Pedersen calls it the "most delightfully dirty speech" of the evening. The fun started when Douglas used the "perfectly respectable (but dirty sounding) term 'two-hander,'" Pedersen says, before he "followed up with some totally on-purpose innuendo":
4. Kevin Spacey waves away the camera
Like people at home, Spacey just wanted to watch the damn show. This is how he reacted to finding a camera in his face:
5. Stephen Colbert finally wins his Emmy
After 10 straight years of Colbert's lead-in show, The Daily Show, winning the Outstanding Variety Show Emmy, The Colbert Report took the prize on Sunday. "Finally!" says E!'s Pedersen, expressing what a lot of people feel. "After years of being the best show on late night that wasn't winning Emmys," Colbert got his "so well deserved" due. And because he's Stephen Colbert, his speech is pretty funny.
6. Will Ferrell's suburban dad routine
This is probably the funniest part of the show. Ferrell came onstage to present the last two awards a little underdressed, with his three sons. His explanation is familiar to anyone who's had to juggle the modern art of parenting, or even watched it on TV. "It's nice to see Will with his kids, whom we've barely seen since... ever," says Emmalie Vance at Wetpaint. Ferrell and his kids pick up again at the 3:45 mark, after Modern Family finished accepting its Best Comedy award.
Continue reading for free
We hope you're enjoying The Week's refreshingly open-minded journalism.
Subscribed to The Week? Register your account with the same email as your subscription.