Ahead of the 2021 Emmys, Cedric the Entertainer discussed the difficulty of hosting the award show. “It’s not bad if you’re the news for a couple of days, but you don’t want to be the guy that ruins the night or someone’s moment. At the same time, you’ve got to be yourself,” he told the Hollywood Reporter. “As comedians, we’re up on a tightrope trying to make sure people are entertained. But, again, we’re living in a hypersensitive society. You don’t know where that line is sometimes. It moves from day to day.”
Instead of a traditional monologue with jokes, the Emmys ignored the “line” and went with a parody of the late Biz Markie’s “Just a Friend” about “all the things we love about television.” But mostly, it was an excuse to get Rita Wilson to rap on live TV.
I am not drunk enough for Rita Wilson rapping over Just A Friend !!! pic.twitter.com/Li7c5KRHao
— Carrie Courogen (@carriecourogen) September 20, 2021
Following the opening, Seth Rogen came out on stage to react to whatever just happened (“That was truly insane, I was not expecting that”) before acknowledging the elephant in the room. “Let me start by saying there’s way too many of us in this little room. What are we doing? They said this was outdoors — it’s not! They lied to us,” he said, adding, “We’re in a hermetically-sealed tent right now. I would not have come to this. Why is there a roof? It’s more important that we have three chandeliers than that we make sure we don’t kill Eugene Levy tonight. That is what has been decided.”
He wasn’t finished: “This is insane. I went from wiping my groceries to having Paul Bettany sneeze in my face—so, that’s a big week! If anyone’s gonna sneeze in my face, Paul, I want it to be you.” People agreed with him.
me: why are the emmys in such a small room without masks and no ventilation during a pandemic
(30 seconds later)
seth rogen: why are we in such a small room without masks and no ventilation during a pandemic
— lenika (@lenikacruz) September 20, 2021
— Pizza Dad (@Pizza__Dad) September 20, 2021
“They said this was outdoors…it’s not!” Seth Rogen is genuinely not happy about the COVID situation.
— Esther Zuckerman (@ezwrites) September 20, 2021
I appreciate Seth Rogen calling out the crowded indoor setting of the Emmys, both because I was thinking it and because it’s now funny to watch the show scramble to course correct the narrative.
— Caroline Siede (@CarolineSiede) September 20, 2021
"There's way too many of us in this little room" – Seth Rogen capturing Covid awards anxiety #emmys2021
— Saba Hamedy (@saba_h) September 20, 2021
You can find the full list of winners here.