Cedric the Entertainer hosted the Emmys for the first time and it also marked the show’s return to an in-person, vaccinated, unmasked ceremony following the Jimmy Kimmel-hosted empty theater event in 2020. The comedian and actor discussed his experience as Emmys host on Rolling Stone’s Twitch.
Cedric says that the event took ample precautions due to the pandemic, saying that they required numerous tests: “getting your nose just tickled off for days in a row,” he quipped. “I say that, but it was real.”
“I don’t think you could have got in there with dandruff,” he joked. “There’s no way you could have gotten in there, let alone with Covid. It was serious.”
Still, while Cedric opened the show with a riveting a salute to Biz Markie — featuring a performance of the late rapper’s “Just a Friend” with LL Cool J, Rita Wilson, and rapper/Dave star Lil Dicky — it was followed by the night’s first presenter Seth Rogen, who addressed the elephant in the room.
Rogen pointed out the pandemic is still happening and they were all inside “this little room” that was not outdoors. In the Twitch, Cedric attributed Rogen’s remarks to his fondness for weed. He was just “paranoid like everybody who smokes a lot of weed, they think everything is gonna go wrong,” Cedric says. “We all knew what we had to do to come here, like nobody got into this thing without going through all this… They make everybody test two-three times, it was crazy, just to be inside the place. So you know, I just had to get everybody to relax and go forth with the idea and the energy that I really wanted the night to be on, and I think we were able to pull that off.”
Cedric also discussed some of the bits from the night, the need for more diverse representation (“Do I want more winners to be represented? Do I want our shows to have respect?,” he queried. “Yes, but I don’t know how we categorize them unless we start doing it like music.”) and more. Ultimately, Cedric said, his goal as first-time host in the middle of challenging times was to “create a fun vibrant atmosphere.”