Seth Meyers low-balled expectations Monday morning on NBC’s “Today” when being interviewed about his plans to host Monday night’s Emmy Awards.
He told Al Roker he just didn’t want people talking about his performance a week from now.
If they do, they will be talking about how his monologue at least exceeded expectations.
Meyers was as sharp as he often was co-anchoring “Weekend Update” on “Saturday Night Live” and hosting the ESPYs.
He nailed his opening with jokes about the audience for “Duck Dynasty” still using VCRs; the absurdity of having the mother die in the finale of “How I Met Your Mother” while meth drug dealer Jesse Pinkman of “Breaking Bad” and serial killer “Dexter” survived their finales; and the likely cancellation of all the new fall programs.
(I’ve seen many of the new shows and Meyers probably is right.)
Meyers also dealt with the absurdity of hosting the Emmys on a Monday night in late August by remembering that the 1976 Emmys had four police shows nominated as best drama and adding that “you don’t remember the 1976 Emmys because they were held on a Monday.”
Meyers wasn’t the only late-night winner. ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel also scored as a presenter with some hysterical lines directed at Oscar winner Matthew McConaughey, nominated for HBO’s “True Detective.”
“How may of those speeches of yours are we supposed to sit through,” cracked Kimmel, fearing another McConaughey win that didn’t happen.
Kimmel was funnier in those few minutes that he was two years ago when he was in Meyers’ position as the host of the Emmys.
Here are some more highlights of Monday’s show, which moved pretty quickly but didn’t have too many memorable moments that will likely be talked about in a week.
Billy Crystal’s Tribute to Robin Williams: The most memorable moment. Beautifully done, starting with a great baseball story and ending with poignant but not maudlin line borrowed from Williams’ line about reality: “Robin Williams, what a concept!”
What About Rockford and Maverick?: I did feel that the late James Garner was slighted a bit. Considering his long and successful TV career, he deserved more than a few seconds during “In Memoriam.”
Call Them the Predictable and Repeat Emmys: Jim Parsons of “The Big Bang Theory,” Ty Burrell of “Modern Family,” Julia Louis-Dreyfus and “The Amazing Race” were all repeat winners in the first hour. Jessica Lange of “American Horror Story,” Aaron Paul, Anna Gunn and Bryan Cranston (all of “Breaking Bad”) and Julianna Margulies of “The Good Wife” all have won before, too. “Modern Family” deserved its fifth straight win as best comedy and it would have been ridiculous if “Breaking Bad” didn’t win its second straight Emmy as best drama.
A Little Bragging: After winning as best supporting actress for CBS’ “Mom,” Allison Janney praised the show’s writers, including show-runner Nick Bakay of Buffalo. But she ended her speech by noting her Emmy win was “No. 6.” Hey, who can blame her for bragging a little?
Broadcasters Get to Brag, Too: For all the talk about cable, pay-cable and streaming shows, the old guard led by CBS and ABC did much better than expected. I was certainly glad to see Margulies’ third win as best actress for “The Good Wife,” which inexplicably wasn’t nominated in the best drama category.
The Kiss: I’m not saying Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Cranston knew she was going to win as best comedic actress for “Veep” but they sure seemed prepared for the big kiss after she pretended not to know Cranston played the dentist Tim Whatley in “Seinfeld.”
Swing and a miss: The intentionally stupid question bit featuring stars in the audience wasn’t as funny as the 12:45 a.m. sketches on “Saturday Night Live.”
Weird Al Channels Tiny Tim: When Yankovic came out with the TV theme parodies, I half-expected him to start singing “Tiptoe Through the Tulips.”
He Won for Best Writing: After winning for comedy writing, Louis C.K. was expected to give a better speech than he delivered.
“Modern” Upset: I expected Jesse Tyler Ferguson to win over cast-mate Ty Burrell as best supporting actor on “Modern Family.” Burrell’s speech was child-like, like his character.
Best Speech: The phony one by Ricky Gervais – delivered after he lost and was a presenter – was brutally and honestly funny. With an emphasis on brutally honest.