Going into the 2020 Emmys, many were aware that the show would look nothing like it had in previous years. However, no one really knew what to expect, a reality that became all-too evident during the live broadcast.
There are no words to describe how disorienting and uncomfortable Jimmy Kimmel’s opening monologue was. Although mildly comical, the show’s brand of humor was confusing, meta and, at times, a little tacky.
Kimmel opened by thanking everyone for risking everything to attend the 72nd Emmys—the “Pand-emmys”—and questioning the purpose of having an awards show in the middle of a global pandemic. After a few more jokes, the cuts to the audience became more frequent and jarring until we settled once again on Kimmel … sitting in the crowd.
Kimmel feigned confusion.
“Hey, was that me? But wait. if I’m down there, how am I up here? That would mean that no one is in the audience. That would mean that I’m up here all alone. Just like prom night,” Kimmel said.
Once the gimmick is up, Kimmel stated the obvious: “Of course I’m here all alone. Of course, we don’t have an audience. This isn’t a MAGA rally. It’s the Emmys.”
The camera then panned to a crowd filled with cardboard cutouts and one very real Jason Bateman, who simply had to be in attendance.
After the opening dialogue, the awards commenced, with nearly everything in the comedy portion going to “Schitt’s Creek,” including “Outstanding Casting for a Comedy Series,” “Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series” and “Outstanding Contemporary Costumes,” amongst others. Individual actors on the show also took home awards, with Eugene Levy, Catherine O’Hara, Annie Murphy and Daniel Levy all winning their respective categories.
The physical Emmys themselves were presented to winners at their residents by employees in black hazmat suits, a comical addition to the show that received heightened commentary on social media platforms like Twitter and TikTok.
Other notable individual winners include Maya Rudolph, who won “Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series” for her portrayal of Kamala Harris on “Saturday Night Live,” Julia Garner who won “Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series” for her performance in “Ozark” and Zendaya, who took home her first-ever Emmy “Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series” for her performance in “Euphoria.”
The death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wasn’t explicitly mentioned until actress Regina King mentioned her while accepting her award for “Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series.”
At the end of the night, the show memorialized stars who had passed since the previous show. Chadwick Boseman, Regis Philbin and others had their photos broadcast over a cover of “Nothing Compares 2 U” sung by H.E.R.
The show did the best they could with the guidelines they had to adhere to, but overall, individuals who didn’t watch the show virtually didn’t miss out on much.