CCTC 09.28.03 A Night With TVs Best And Brightest

If you’re reading this edition of Coogan Comments on the Cinema (CCTC) on this esteemed website, chances are, you’re someone that has an intense interest in the world of Vince McMahon’s World Wrestling Entertainment and the entire wrestling industry as a whole. In addition to that interest and passion, you probably have additional types of interests related to other tools of popular culture like movies, music, video games, comic books and while this site doesn’t have an area devoted to it, I have a feeling you may have a few favorite sports teams you follow and a fantasy football team you keep on top of.

Chances are this isn’t an exact profile of the average viewer of this site, but it’s probably pretty similar. Since that’s the case, you’ve been to ESPN.com and viewed their content, you’ve probably run into one of the most astute, well written, sports and pop culture savvy journalists on the Internet, the now legendary Bill Simmons or ESPN.com Page 2’s “Sports Guy.” In addition to writing pieces that are well thought out, researched, and great fodder for discussion and banter the same way a Pulitzer Price winning scribe would, Simmons has incorporated regular columns into his repertoire that while are hugely unorthodox are still widely regarded as funny, interesting, and thought provoking. After all, who else could write a column featuring just the answers to completely random emailed questions from his readers, fans, and “admirers,” about topics ranging from Roger Clemens to Dunkin’ Donuts to Bernard King of the mid-1980s to Fox’s “Paradise Hotel?” There is also the famous“Ramblings”column which is just another example of random bits of information, thoughts, complaints, and things to consider about the world of sports and other areas of general popular culture.

Why am I spending all this time paying homage to an ESPN.com staffer (and writer for ABC’s “The Jimmy Kimmel Show”)? Well, like I have done on Matthew Michaels’s moodspins.com, I wanted to borrow another one of Mr. Simmons’ regular appearing column ideas and use it as my own: The Running Diary . It isn’t a terribly revolutionary idea, keeping track of what is being recorded on television or in one’s personal life, but the way Simmons does it, it’s funny, irreverent, and passes as legitimate journalism. I’ve wanted to try doing this for a long time, so I thought I’d give it a shot and look at the 55th Emmy Awards which aired on Fox on Sunday, September 21st. Since this is a MOVIE column, I can guarantee some MOVIE comments will be worked into the content, but I wanted to pay homage to the television’s industry’s big night. So, without further adieu .

CCTC’s night with the Emmy’s

8:00 PM (EST): OK, the “pregame” is over. Joan and Melissa Rivers have appropriately commented on everyone’s attire during the E! 13-hour Red Carpet Special and we’re ready to get the show started. I feel like this is the Super Bowl for the television industry. When else does the industry receive this kind of attention?

8:01: Here comes our first “host” of the night, Garry Shandling. He’s talking about how repeats of “The Larry Sanders Show” are now being aired on Bravo Uh oh .here it comes “as a lead in to ‘Queer Eye for the Straight Guy.'” Even funnier, as soon as he said “Queer Eye” the director immediately cuts to Ellen DeGeneres and then Bradley Whitford. Are they implying something?

8:06: Garry’s gone on for a few minutes talking about “Friends,” “Sex in the City,” reality shows, the race for California’s Governor and mentions the Britney Spears/Madonna kiss from the telecast of the MTV Video Music Awards. Right after the obligatory “we would never do that” joke, out walks Big, Bad, Brad Garrett and plants one on ole’ Garry. I think Garry liked it a lot

Moving on .

8:07: Here come the boys from “Friends.” Matthew Perry, David Schwimmer and Matt LeBlanc come out and Schwimmer announces that the three are running for California Governor. Jesus If this keeps up all night, I am going to slit my wrists with my notebook paper. They announce Doris Roberts from “Everybody Loves Raymond” as the winner of the Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy award.

That’s not important though. What I want to know is what to these guys plan on doing when “Friends” is over? OK, Matt LeBlanc is going to ride Joey’s coattails the same way Kelsey Grammer has done with “Frasier” in his spin off. But do Schwimmer and Perry think they have a future in big time films? Could you ever picture a movie “Starring: Ben Affleck, Nicole Kidman, and David Schwimmer”???? I can’t! Thank God for syndication royalties .

8:08: Here comes Kiefer Sutherland to announce the Best Supporting Actress in a Drama emmy He appears embarrassed and genuinely horrified that he has to be at the event tonight. He took the job on “24” to help pay the rent until he could get another good movie role and now he’s hanging out with all these clowns who appear on regular weekly TV. Then he announces Tyne Daly from “Judging Amy” as the winner and I think he jumped into the orchestra pit so no one sees that they shared the same stage. Do you think his dad is disappointed?

8:10: It’s Host #2 for the evening, Wanda Sykes. She’s just wearing a tight dress, showing some cleavage and embarrassing those TV personalities who happen to be sitting on an aisle seat in the theatre. Great. She’s pissed about not being nominated, she gives Peter Boyle of “Everybody Loves Raymond” a camera and told him not to take a shot of her cleavage and pitched “Wanda At Large.” I didn’t laugh once.

Though, she does seem popular. I wonder how’d she do in a movie role kind of like Chris Rock in the Lethal Weapon series. I could see it. I WOULDN’T see it, but I could see it anyway

8:14: Commercial: it’s a preview to Diane Lane’s new movie, Under the Tuscan Sun. Here’s another Simmons-ism: “If I could buy stock in ” My thought is that I wish I could buy stock in the idea that “No one at 411mania.com will have any desire to even consider the idea that seeing this movie and reviewing will be a good idea.” I’d sink my life savings into it and come out way ahead. I’d volunteer to go, but that night, I am getting a pedicure and then stabbing myself in the temple with the metal nail file.

8:16: Please welcome Host #3 to the show .Jon Stewart. (gracious applause). Since Stewart is on a show that parodies the news, his bit is parodying the news. He reminds us that the news is interested in promoting “fear and speculation,” Howard Dean doesn’t know how to smile, explosions set to classical music is a touch inappropriate and that Geraldo Rivera is a pompous, ignorant baboon. There is some legitimate, humorous social commentary in this bit. How did the producers let this happen?

8:21: Stewart bestows the award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy series to Brad Garrett. Once he gets on stage, he says thank you to John and then spouts “Hey Jon. Hop on my back and we’ll do a scene out of ‘Seabiscuit’!” The funny thing is I’m not making that up

8:23: I am puzzled “The West Wing’s” ratings were down 20% last season. Many people had some harsh criticism of it, yet people from the show are winning awards based on their performance on it? Chris Misiano wins Outstanding Director in a Drama Series for that show. During his acceptance speech he notes that his wife is “in production of their first child.” Well, I guess it’s better than him saying ” and thank you to my beautiful wife who is preggers.” Christ, I hate that word

8:25: Uh oh Arnold Schwarzenegger is announced as the next guest. Oh no, don’t worry, it’s just Host #4, Darrell Hammond here to do a really bad imitation of Arnold. OK, so we have a bad imitation of a bunch of dopey jokes about the California Governor race. Terrific. I am waiting for the really original jokes like “I just flew in from Cleveland and, boy, are my arms tired.” Only then would my night would be complete.

And I am still upset about Arnold running for Governor. I want him to make Terminator 4, Twins 2, and The Last Action Hero Strikes Back and he won’t be able to holding political office. Didn’t he think about this?

8:28 Presenter: the vivacious Jeri Ryan from “Boston Public.” She’s hot and she knows it. That bothers me. No need to swing your hips that much sweetheart

She announces the winners of the Outstanding Guest Actor/Actress in a Drama series awards to Charles S. Dutton (“Without a Trace”) and Alfre Woodard (“The Practice”). They, in turn, present the award for Outstanding Writing in a Drama Series to David Chase, Mitchell Burgess, and Robin Green. Trying to think of a witty observation .Here’s one I think. When Charles S. Dutton was on stage, I saw him smile. He was in Eddie Murphy’s comedy The Distinguished Gentleman and even THEN he didn’t smile. Lighten up dude.

8:36: Paging Host #5 Paging Host #5 There he is: Conan O’Brien. His schtick was that he was supposed to a big dance number singing “That’s Entertainment” while wearing a crazy tuxedo and tap shoes. However, the director had to “cut it” because the Garry Shandling/Brad Garrett kiss went too long. Understandably, Conan is angry. So am I, I was hoping to see the Masturbating Bear.

Here’s a question is there anyone would be worse in a movie than David Letterman or Conan O’Brien? Conan’s got some range, as we saw on “Saturday Night Live” but even still, I don’t think either could do anything on a movie set unless the crew were forced to laugh at the funny parts of a movie. That or canned laughter built in They’d be big time lost.

8:38: Conan announces the winner of the Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series award to Tucker Cawley of “Everybody Loves Raymond.” He proceeds to get on stage and give a horribly dry acceptance speech. The audience then collectively scratches their head as they wonder how THIS GUY could have won THIS AWARD. Aren’t comedy writers funny guys?

8:41: Here’s Wanda again. This time she is giving out old and/or fake trophies to random people in the audience (not funny). Then she rags on Bill Cosby (not funny) and Larry David (even less funny considering he’s not overly interested in banter). I think she had more to offer but I blacked out.

8:42: Bryan Cranston and Jane Kaczmarek from “Malcolm in the Middle” appear on stage to present the next award. Since he lost to Brad Garrett earlier in the night, he pulls one of those “I’m pretending to be upset I lost because it’s funny, but in reality I’m pissed at that big oaf and I am trying to hide it.” type stunts. Kaczmarek seems genuinely mortified and is appears to be trying to signal for the white coats to come in and taker her partner away. Oh by the way, Robert Wiede (“Curb Your Enthusiasm”)
won the Emmy for Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series.

Also, don’t you think Jane Kaczmarek would be great mother type figure in a big time Hollywood movie? She could reprise the psycho Lois character from the “Malcolm in the Middle” or she could play some sort of understanding mom character too. I see it

8:50: Host #6 is ready to rock and it’s Ellen DeGeneres. Her bit is about “variety being the spice of life.” In that, she talked about spices, fennel, Japanese food, and Japanese people. Surprisingly, it made sense. Am I OK? Don’t answer that

She announces the winner of the Outstanding Individual Performance In A Variety Or Music Program award and in a mild upset, Wayne Brady beat out established acts like Jon Stewart, Dennis Miller, Robin Williams and Martin Short. Good for him He’s another guy that seems in his “element” on television as opposed to movies. I hope he doesn’t get stars in his eyes to take on the feature length comedy Morris Chestnut and Anthony Anderson He’s fine right where he is.

8:54: Here comes the “American Idol” gang, Simon, Paula, and Randy. For some strange reason, the producers decided to work in a segment paying tribute to the accountants from Ernst & Young handling the business side of the Emmy’s. There’s a prerecorded skit basically titled American Accountant and Simon yells at just about all the accountants for being bad accountants. I think the accountants wrote the skit too because it isn’t funny. Thank God for Simon and his looks of complete disdain and disgust and his frank comments or I’d want my money back

8:56: Michael Chiklis (“The Shield”) announces Joe Pantoliano (“The Sopranos”) as the winner of the Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Emmy. Pantoliano was moved to tears. I am not sure if it’s because he won and was touched by the recognition or if he realizes that is hat fell off and we saw how weird looking his head really is. I’d wear a dopey beret all the time too if I looked like an alien without it

8:58: Another movie preview: Radio with Cuba Gooding, Jr. It’s about a mentally challenged African American boy who gets involved with a local high school football team in the deep south during the 1960s. He teaches valuable lessons, everyone grows to love him, etc .Looks like a good opportunity for Cuba to get nominated for another Oscar. Thank God he’s not mailing it in anymore. Did Boat Trip and Snow Dogs really happen?

9:03: Another host! It’s Bernie Mac .We like Bernie Mac until we discover his bit isn’t funny. I think he knows he got screwed there. Every time they cut to him in the audience after that segment, he looks like he’s figuring out a way to kick the shit out of the first producer/writer he can get his hands on.

He presents the award for the Outstanding Writing For A Variety, Music Or Comedy Program to the staff from “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.” When the cast gets on stage, Stewart, obviously embarrassed by the fact his entire staff is made of Jewish white men, notes that he promotes “diversity” on his staff. Atta boy. The director also plays along by panning from right to left while Stewart is talking noting all the white men stopping and focusing on “the odd man” which is obviously Mac. Good work.

Back to Bernie Mac two of my favorite lines from Ocean’s Eleven:

Mac: “They shouldn’t call it blackjack, they oughta call it WHITEJACK!

Same Scene

Matt Damon: “You, Mr. Benedict, know that we here at the NGC have always supporting the hiring of colored err..black employees.”

Mac: (playing along) charges after Damon’s visibly shaken character.

Gets me everytime .

9:08: A frightened Courtney Thorne Smith and possibly drunk Jim Belushi (“According to Jim”) announce Gene Wilder (“Will & Grace”) and Christina Applegate (“Friends”) as the winners of the Outstanding Guest Actor/Actress Emmys. Applegate then comes out of her tanning booth long enough to put her dress on and give the Outstanding Directing For A Variety, Music Or Comedy Program to Glen Weiss who directed the 55th Tony Awards.

9:12: It is announced that the Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld is present to scold the television industry. What’s this? Whoops ..fooled again .It’s actually Darrell Hammond back for more imitation fun and games. He struck out big time with Arnold, but he nailed Secretary Rumsfeld right on the head as he took some shots at all of the networks for some of their “less respected” shows. I’ll be honest though, I was waiting for the real Rumsfeld to come out like Janet Reno did when Will Ferrell played her hosting the Janet Reno dance party skit on “Saturday Night Live.” Denied

9:15 Unlike Kiefer Sutherland, Rob Lowe has embraced his new role as a “television star” as opposed to a “movie star.” He comes out with Alicia Silverstone to announce the Outstanding Directing for a Miniseries, Movie or a Dramatic Special award and you’d think either his career is going well or he got some pre-presentation action in the back. Meanwhile, Silverstone doesn’t appear to be sure what’s going on, isn’t sure she made the right move, and ooooh ..look! I think I can see her nipple when she bends down to use the microphone .Maybe not but it’s close.

9:18: Here’s another movie advertisement: Jack Black’s School of Rock. Jack’s tough to look at, but he’s funny and musically talented, so I am anxious to see how this turns out, even though the plot is dumb as hell

9:22: Another host! Brad Garrett has already wowed the crowd with a kiss and the receiving of an award, but now he’s out with his “loser’s gift bag” bit. Notable inclusions: a kitten, tickets to The Producers starring Charles Nelson Reilly, a DVD with the full season of “My Big Fat Greek Life” (both episodes), and a book: “How to Renegotiate while you’re still under contract.” I figured Fox may give away some of that computerized billboard advertising they use during the Major League Baseball playoffs. This way, during a pivotal point in the World Series, the banner behind home plate can say something like “I’m really not a prick. Love, Martin Short” or “I’ll f****** never win an Emmy! Thanks for nothing. Best, Conan O’Brien.” What do I know though?

9:24: Alison Janney (“The West Wing”) gave away an award. I didn’t write anything down though. Her alien tentacles had me hypnotized.

9:25: Wanda again? Jesus I’m by myself, but I’ve started playing a drinking game. Is this normal? The game I made up: When she’s on screen talking, chug from the fifth of Jim Beam in the liquor cabinet. This numbs the pain of an annoying voice projecting an act that isn’t funny. I vaguely remember her doing the Electric Slide, which almost qualified as funny until she pulled Peter Krause (“Six Feet Under”) out of the audience to dance with him. He didn’t do the Electric Slide though. He, cluelessly, chose to dance as if it was a ballroom dancing class. That went from bad to horridly awkward in 4.6 seconds.

9:27: Eric McCormack and Debra Messing (“Will & Grace”) are on stage presenting an award together. That’s nice.

9:28: They leave without making any jokes about Debra’s breasts (or lack thereof). That segment was clearly a failure from a comedic point of view.

9:33: It’s another host. What number is this? #31? It’s Dennis Miller performing his schtick. Tonight, it’s “Great moments from TV.” You know how this works, he crack jokes while the video screen shows a relevant picture from the news or popular culture. Then he gives the award for Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Series to “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.” They’re cleaning up tonight.

I thought about Dennis Miller and his past movie roles. I liked him best in the old Wesley Snipes/Diane Lane flick Murder at 1600. He wasn’t funny .He’s better that way.

9:37: Jeff Probst and Ryan Seacrest, both hosts to wildly popular reality shows, come out and trade barbs about their respective shows. I think someone forgot to tell Ryan it was supposed to be a joke though. He looked really angry he didn’t get the “Survivor” gig. I hope Jeff didn’t drink anything given to him by Ryan

Are they still giving out awards to this point? I need to pay more attention

9:45: Bonnie Hunt comes out and gushes that it was her first ever trip to the Emmy’s. It’s another movie star moving to television and is OK with it. See Kiefer no reason to be embarrassed .But she comes out and isn’t cracking jokes. She’s being serious. Dear God please make it stop

I learned something from this presentation. I’d rather comedians at these shows make bad jokes rather than no jokes at all.

By the way, she gave William H. Macy and Steven Schachter the award for Outstanding Writing for a Miniseries, Movie or a Dramatic Special.

And for the record Bonnie Hunt’s best movie performance: Jerry Maguire. William H. Macy’s best movie performance: Boogie Nights. He took that bullet like a champ.

9:48: Sarah Jessica Parker gives the award for Outstanding Actor in a Miniseries or Made for TV Movie to William H. Macy. Question: Sarah Jessica Parker has done a lot of TV and a lot of movies. Is she a TV star or a movie star? Then again, maybe it’s neither since “It’s not TV, it’s HBO ”

9:57: OK, we’re two hours in and we still have more hosts. This time it’s George Lopez coming out and making jokes about reality shows, Mexicans, and white people and gives the new Outstanding Reality/Competition Program to “The Amazing Race.” I thought that show was canceled

The more I think about George Lopez the more enraged I become when I consider that Robert Rodriguez could find space for Enrique Iglesias and Mickey Rourke in his new movie Once Upon a Time in Mexico but he couldn’t find room for a funny, legitimate Mexican-American like George Lopez? That is a damn travesty

10:03: Victor Garber and Jennifer Garner give the Outstanding Made For Television Movie award to the people associated with the TNT original movie Door to Door. See I don’t necessarily lose all of my senses when a beautiful woman is on the screen.

I think Jennifer Garner has a big career ahead of her in movies. But here’s a question “Alias” is a quality show. Should she stick to that or do movies full-time? The audience wins either way.

10:16: Damon Wayans gets on stage, makes a joke about Doris Roberts’ age, gets booed, presents the Outstanding Lead Actress In A Comedy Series award to Debra Messing (“Will and Grace”) and ducks out quietly to avoid getting lynched by the “Everybody Loves Raymond” production staff. I hear they are like the mafia

10:24: Walter Cronkite comes to the stage and introduces a tribute to Bob Hope. The tribute video is dreadfully short though. He lived 100 years. Couldn’t producers come up with more than 2 ½ minutes of time for a tribute?

10:29: Ray Romano has the privilege of introducing the Bob Hope Humanitarian Award to Bill Cosby. Notable moment: Romano tells a story about him telling his mother as a child that he wanted to be “a black comedian” (Ha Ha). The director then cuts to Cosby and then to Bernie Mac as if they needed to show us exactly what a black comedian looked like. Does that mean the next time they mention something Irish they will cut to a reaction shot of Conan O’Brien and a picture of the Lucky Charms leprechaun?

10:38: Martin Short and his pompous ass come out with Paul Shaffer to sing some dopey song about losing when being nominated for an Emmy. Good. I had only heard similar jokes four other times tonight, I was hoping to get it up to lucky number FIVE!

Oh yeah, and he presents the Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series to Tony Shaloub (“Monk”). While he does a good job, I thought the object of a comedy series was that people were supposed to laugh. I don’t laugh when I watch “Monk.” In fact, I get squeamish

10:45: Tributes to John Ritter and other significant members of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences that have past in the last year. R.I.P. to all of them.

10:55: Uh oh we’re rushing now no jokes, no laughter, just get the damn awards presented and get on with it!!! Let’s recap:

• Outstanding Miniseries “Steven Spielberg’s Taken” (That Spielberg fellow is certainly going to make a name for himself some day .some day )

• Outstanding Lead Actress In A Drama Series Edie Falco (“The Sopranos”)

• Outstanding Lead Actor In A Drama Series James Gandolfini (“The Sopranos”)

• Outstanding Drama Series “The West Wing” (and I am still not sure why).

They were all business .so am I

11:09: In an obvious push for time, the producers and director wisely (note the sarcasm) have to practically push the one legitimate A-List movie star they have (Mike Myers) presenting off the stage so they can cut and to the local affiliates for news. I think “Everybody Loves Raymond” won for Outstanding Comedy Series, but it all happened so fast, so I’m not sure

11:13: Myers, still stunned, he’s been pushed to the back of the line in favor of the affiliates, gives up, says good night over the lame symphony music in the orchestra pit and next thing I know I am watching the annoying lady on the news that has been feeding me annoying news bumpers all night.

So, that’s that .after some terrible jokes, questionable comments, and unentertaining content all dressed up in order to impress the masses this mess is all over.

But it sounded like the Emmy’s were a good show anyway, huh?

Until next time: Enjoy the Show!

— Coogan

Steve Coogan had no idea this running diary would run more than 4,100 words and he’s very sorry to have wasted your time .if you even got this far.

If you are interested in additional longwinded commentary, his huge Fall TV Preview is up on Matthew Michaels’s moodspins.com. He’s quite proud of it.

If you want to yell at Mr. Coogan for making this so long, feel free to harass him at the following email address: coachcoogan@hotmail.com.