Whatever one might think about that musical Emmys opening—a parody of the late Biz Markie’s “Just a Friend” starring some poor, unfortunate soul in a Daft Punk-esque TV head—it was hard to ignore just how full the room looked. Host Cedric the Entertainer noted that given COVID-19, there might have been an impression going in that this event would be “Emmys Lite.” Instead it appears they invited every celebrity who’s ever been on TV to convene in an “outdoor” ballroom.
It didn’t take long before one presenter spoke up about how strange the packed gathering seems, given the rising toll of the Delta variant. “Good to be here at the Emmy Awards,” Seth Rogen said as he presented the first award of the night, supporting actress in a comedy series. “Let me start by saying: there’s way too many of us in this little room.”
“What are we doing?” Rogen continued, his voice climbing to an increasingly high pitch. “They said this was outdoors—it’s not! They lied to us.”
“We’re in a hermetically-sealed tent right now,” Rogen said. “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.”
“This is insane,” Rogen concluded. “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.”
It was hard to discern whether Rogen’s riff—which he ended by saying, “That’s all the jokes I wrote”—was purely comedic or in part fueled by sincere anxiety. Given how packed the house was, however, one could understand if he was feeling a little nervous.
Reggie Watts, the bandleader for James Corden’s Late Late Show and Emmys DJ, later clarified that everyone at the Emmys was vaccinated.