Andy Samberg kicked off the 67th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards with an uproarious 15-minute opening that boasted an all-star musical number and a monologue packed with hilarious “culturally relevant but not too edgy jokes.”
Making his Emmy hosting debut, Samberg started things off with the musical number, in which he discovers how much good television he’s missed out on. (“So many shows, and so little time, I’m just a normal man, how can I possibly keep up?”) The star of Fox’s Brooklyn Nine-Nine then locks himself in a “viewing bunker” to catch up on every single show on TV, emerging months later with a Last Man on Earth beard and horrible smell in order to tell Jon Hamm and Kerry Washington all about his exploits. However, an encounter with Nathan Fillion opens his eyes to Castle, which sends Samberg back into the bunker for another 151 hours.
The song then transformed into a Les Miserables-inspired musical with Will Forte in the Javert role and Billy Eichner as Samberg’s son before the host impressively begins listing countless shows on television, from Better Call Saul and Homeland to Pawn Stars and Cajun Pawn Stars. The tune also spotlighted the staggering number of shows with “wives” in the title: Army Wives, Basketball Wives, The Good Wife, Sister Wives, Mob Wives, the entire Real Housewives oeuvre, just to name a few.
After the musical number, Samberg emerged on the Microsoft Theater stage for his proper opening monologue, where he noted, “I’m so honored to join the proud ranks of Emmy hosts, incredible legendary people like… Robert Blake and Bill Cosby? Oh no, I need to get out of here.” He also alerted viewers hoping for a “Dick in the Box” redux, “Justin Timberlake is not coming.”
The host next detailed how the classification of many programs had changed from previous Emmys, like how Orange Is the New Black is now nominated as a drama and how Louie is now categorized as jazz. Former host Jane Lynch then made a cameo as the angry nun from Game of Thrones who tells winners to wrap up when their acceptance speech runs too long.”
“This is the most diverse group of nominees in Emmy history, so congratulations Hollywood, you did it,” Samberg said. “Racism is over. Don’t quote me on that.” The host then seamlessly weaved Hollywood’s wage gap, the age gap and Paul Giamatti’s love of playing managers in music films (Straight Outta Compton, Love & Mercy and Rock of Ages) into one joke
Samberg also mixed in some political humor, mentioning Bernie Sanders, Kim Davis and Donald Trump in his wide-ranging monologue. “Donald Trump of course is running for President, to the delight of uncles everywhere. But I gotta say, Donald Trump sure seems racist… what else,” he joked. As for new The Apprentice host Arnold Schwarzenegger, the host wondered why the actor wasn’t instead headlining To Catch a Predator
While Samberg’s monologue was mostly burn-free, he did drop a good one when he mentioned all the shows we said goodbye to this year, like Mad Men, Parks and Recreation and True Detective, “even though it’s still on the air.” He closed out his 15-minute monologue by touting both Uzo Aduba and Allison Janney as “the new Ed Asner.”
“You use your best judgment and screen jokes to see how people react. But in general, my preference is not to do ‘hit’ jokes. I like to keep it lighter,” Samberg told The Hollywood Reporter of his Emmy monologue. “I’m working with Scott Aukerman and the writers from Comedy Bang! Bang! But I’m also asking funny friends who are writers for their pitches, too.”