Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t recall every single Emmy moment. After all, the show is in it’s 69th year! While each broadcast has had it’s own scripted, impromptu, and controversial moments, these are just a few that still make us chuckle years later.
1. When Bryan Cranston laid one on Julia Louis Dreyfus before she could even get to the stage.
Back in 2014, JLD took home the Emmy for outstanding lead actress in a comedy series for her role in Veep. But the award for most shocking kiss would have to go to Bryan Cranston, who jumped in front of Julia on her walk to the podium and planted a passionate kiss on her. Yes, it was staged, but we doubt she’ll ever again forget that she previously worked with Bryan on Seinfeld.
2. When Helen Mirren’s potty mouth could not, would not, be contained.
In 2006, Helen Mirren (that’s Dame Helen to you) won for her role in Elizabeth I. Once at the mic, she shocked the audience when she announced “My great triumph is not falling ass-over-tits as I came up those stairs,” in her proper British accent. It was so unexpected, the show’s censors didn’t get time to bleep it out. (0:46)
3. When Kirstie Alley made a (then) crude joke about her husband’s penis in her acceptance speech.
Nowadays no one would even bat an eye at a comment about someone’s junk. But back in 1991, sex jokes were still a little taboo, which is why when Kirstie Alley thanked then-husband Parker Stevenson for being “the man who has given me the big one for the last eight years,” she made Emmys history. Then again, an 11-year old Macaulay Kulkin was literally right behind her. (1:27)
4. When Ellen reminded everyone that Björk’s famously weird swan dress exists.
When Ellen Degeneres took on the challenge of presenting the Emmys just weeks after the 9/11 terror attacks, we knew she’d be the perfect person to remind America that comedy heals. She also showed that she’s got an impeccable sense of style.
5. When Jon Hamm crawled up over the stage and gave us all a view of his derriere.
We knew it was going to be a great moment when Tina Fey got to present Jon Hamm with his big win for his role in Mad Men. But we didn’t expect Jon to forgo the stairs and crawl up onto the stage, giving the audience a front row seat to a glorious backside that can only be rivaled by his frontside, amight?
6. When some of comedy’s best spontaneously shared the stage for their big reveal.
When Amy Poehler jokingly jumped on stage when her name was called as a nominee for 2011’s lead comedy actress award, the audience probably didn’t expect the entire group to join her. But in full on ladies-supporting-ladies magnificence, all 6 nominees expressively joined hands for their Miss America moment, and Melissa McCarthy took home the crown, er, Emmy!
7. When host Conan O’Brien used Bob Newhart as a pawn to keep the speeches short.
2006’s Emmys host had the daunting task of making sure that the show didn’t run over the 3 hour mark. So to make sure that everyone kept it brief, Conan jokingly put the legendary Bob Newhart in a glass case with only 3 hours worth of air. Your move, winners.
8. When 2015 host Andy Samberg gave his real HBO login to millions of people.
Was HBO bothered by the gesture? Of course not – their CEO has been quoted as saying that the network doesn’t mind if you share your login credentials with friends. HBO’s official Twitter even tweeted, “Lucky for you, @AndySamberg is a very generous #Emmys host” along with Andy’s login info, juuust in case viewers missed it in the broadcast. Sorry2say, it doesn’t work anymore, though.
9. When Amy Poehler poked fun at herself for not being able to win.
For three consecutive years, comedy great Amy Poehler just couldn’t seem to beat Julia Louis Dreyfus in the Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series category (Julia for Veep, Amy for Parks and Recreation). But in her good-natured way Amy never let it bother her, and even pretended to sleep through Julia’s 2015 acceptance speech, creating one of the greatest gifs of our time.
10. When Meryl Streep was self-referential and we couldn’t help but love her more.
“You know, there are some days when I myself think I’m overrated. But not today!” Meryl joked while picking up her Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries Emmy in 2004. And while the comment could have very well gone over poorly said by anyone else, we all knew she was 100% correct and appreciated her self love.
11. When Jimmy Fallon and a stage full of celebrities performed Springsteen’s Born To Run for probably the best opening EVER!
In a full on tribute to Glee, Jimmy Fallon epically opened the 2010 Emmy Awards with a star-studded ensemble of triple threats. The lineup featured Tina Fey, Jon Hamm, Leah Michelle, Cory Montieth (RIP), Jane Lynch, Jorge Garcia, and Joel McHale, just to name a few.
Steven Colbert will host the 69th annual Emmys live on Sunday, September 17th, at 8pm EST on CBS.
Lead image – Kevin Winter/Getty Images