Jimmy Kimmel kicked off the 72nd Primetime Emmy Awards in an understandably strange fashion, given the global pandemic.
For the first several minutes, Kimmel delivered what for viewers at home, in many respects, looked and sounded like a normal monologue, with pauses for applause and cuts to a star-studded audience.
But the applause? Fake. The crowd? Those were crowd reactions from past awards shows.
It was a bit jarring at first but amusing nonetheless, especially when the camera cut to Kimmel himself in the seats from a past show. Then came Jason Bateman.
Here is a transcript:
JIMMY KIMMEL: Well, hello, and welcome to the Pand-Emmys.
Wow, it’s great to finally see people again. Thank you for risking everything to be here. Thank me for risking everything to be here. You know what they say, “You can’t have a virus without a host.” The big question that I guess we should answer is why would you have an awards show in the middle of a pandemic?’
No, seriously, I’m asking. Why are we having an awards show in the middle of a pandemic?
And what the hell am I doing here? This is the year they decide they have to have a host? “Why?” is a question I’ve been asked a lot this week. And I get it. Yeah, it might seem frivolous and unnecessary to do this during a global pandemic, but you know what else seems frivolous and unnecessary?
Doing it every other year.
What is happening tonight is not important. It’s not going to stop COVID. It’s not going to put out the fires, but it’s fun. And right now, we need fun. My God, do we need fun. This has been a miserable year. This has been a year of division, injustice, disease, zoom school, disaster and death.
We’ve been quarantined and locked down. We’ve been confined to our homes like prisoners in a dark and lonely tunnel, and what did we find in that dark and lonely tunnel? I’ll tell you what we found: a friend who is there for us 24 hours a day. Our old pal, television.
That’s right. Television is your friend. It’s your friends. It’s your big brother, your sister’s sister, your mama’s family, your two dads, your three sons, your crazy ex-girlfriend. It’s even your dog, the bounty hunter. Through the good times and the breaking bads, for every day of your 600-pound life, television is there for you. The world may be terrible, but TV has never been better. And tonight, we are paying tribute to the great shows and the history making nominees.
Hats off to the television visionary Norman Lear, who this week became the oldest winner ever at age 98.
Norman didn’t grow up dreaming of winning Emmys. In fact, television wasn’t even something people had until he was a teenager. When Norman was a boy, his dream was not to get kicked to death by a horse. Norman, you are a miracle. The only thing I’ll be producing when I’m 98 is phlegm.
Congratulations are also in order for a young Emmy upstart named Quibi, which has 10 Emmy nominations this year, including outstanding short form comedy or drama and dumbest thing to ever cost a billion dollars.
There were so many great dramas this year, and comedies, too. A little show from our friendly neighbors up north is up for every Emmy. Fifteen nominations for “Schitt’s Creek.”
[GRAPHIC APPEARS SHOWING “SCHITT’S CREEK.”]
Oh, by the way, you’re going to be seeing that logo a lot. Because in order to meet broadcast standards, the network sensors have decided that every time I say the words “Schitt’s Creek,” we’re required to put the words “Schitt’s Creek” on the screen. Just in case you were wondering why network television is almost dead.
HBO can show us a big blue penis, no problem. I can’t say the word “Schitt’s” with a C.
Speaking of blue penises, the most nominated series of the year is “Watchmen” with 26 nominations. “Watchmen” is a superhero show, but it also feels very real. It’s a very realistic show except for the part where anyone in Oklahoma is wearing a mask.
Isn’t “Watchmen” also what Jerry Falwell Jr. was into?
[FAKE SHOT OF JIMMY KIMMEL IN THE CROWD]
Hey, was that me? But wait. if I’m down there, how am I up here? That would mean that no one is in the audience.
[CUT TO EMPTY SEATS]
That would mean that I’m up here all alone. Just like prom night.
Of course I’m here all alone. Of course we don’t have an audience. This isn’t a MAGA rally. It’s the Emmys. Instead of a live audience, we took a page from baseball tonight and filled the seats with cardboard cutouts of the nominees. You can see, we have Regina King, Hugh Jackman, Jason Bateman, Meryl — wait a minute. Go back one. Jason? Jason? I know it’s you. I saw your eyes moving.
[CUT TO THE REAL JASON BATEMAN]
JASON BATEMAN: They didn’t move.
JIMMY KIMMEL: Yes, they did move.
JASON BATEMAN: Mind your business, Kimmel. Big night for me.
JIMMY KIMMEL: I know it’s a big night. But you can’t be in here. we have very strict safety protocols.
JASON BATEMAN: I’m clean, guy. OK? I’m a big washer-upper. Always have been. Smell my hands. They’re like a garden.
JIMMY KIMMEL: No, thank you. I’m sure you’re clean. That’s not the point. We just have a limit on how many people we can have in the building. So you really need to go.
JASON BATEMAN: No, I don’t. I don’t. OK? I haven’t left the house for six months. Don’t send me back there. I want to be here. It’s ritzy, you know? I mean, I want to eat shrimp with the cast of “The Crown.” All right? I want Mario Lopez to ask me about my pants. Let’s go.
JIMMY KIMMEL: We don’t have any shrimp but you can stay as long as you promise to laugh at my jokes.
JASON BATEMAN: Huh. I’m out. I’m going to call the car.
JIMMY KIMMEL: You’re nominated, you know.
JASON BATEMAN: I know I’m nominated. If I win, give it to [Don] Cheadle.
[BATEMAN PLACES CARDBOARD CUTOUT OF YOUNGER VERSION OF HIMSELF ON SEAT]
JIMMY KIMMEL: Jason, when was that photo taken?
JASON BATEMAN: It’s tough to tell. I don’t age.
JIMMY KIMMEL: All right. Let’s get going. But first, you know what I’d really like? Let’s have a standing ovation for me.
[FAKE STANDING OVATION]