2021 Emmy Awards: The Most Viral Moments of the Night (Updating Live)

Television’s biggest night returned with a glamorous red carpet and live audience.

The 73rd annual Emmy Awards returned to a bit of pre-pandemic normalcy compared to last year’s mostly-virtual event, as Sunday’s soiree featured a star-studded red carpet and live audience.

Cedric the Entertainer was tapped to host — making him only the third Black host in Emmy history behind Michael Che and Bryant Gumbel — as television’s biggest night moved from the Microsoft Theater to L.A. Live’s Event Deck in 2021.

And with last year’s Covid regulations keeping most attendees watching — and accepting their trophies — from the comfort of their own homes, this year’s in-person ceremony will once again allow presenters and winners to grace the stage.

Going into the evening, Netflix’s “The Crown” and the Disney+ hit “The Mandalorian” led the way with 24 nominations each. The shows with 20 nods or more included early front-runner “Ted Lasso,” as well as “WandaVision,” “The Handmaid’s Tale” and “Saturday Night Live.” HBO led all the networks with 130 nominations.

Click below for all the winners. And below that are the night’s most viral moments.

That’s a Rap!

Kicking off the show, host Cedric the Entertainment promised it wouldn’t be a subdued affair — and proved it right off the bat with a tribute to both television and the late Biz Markie.

Cedric and L.L. Cool J got things off to an exciting start by altering the late rapper’s “Just a Friend” to sing about this year’s nominees. But they weren’t the only two to take part in the opening song, as This Is Us stars Mandy Moore and Susan Kelechi Watson, The Neighborhood’s Annaleigh Ashford and Beth Behrs, Black-ish stars Tracee Ellis Ross and Anthony Anderson, Coach Beard from Ted Lasso and more all got in on the action.

But the most surprising: Rita Wilson, who did more that just sing the chorus, but rapped her own verse. Color us impressed.

Seth Rogen Takes Aim at the Show

The first presenter of the night was Seth Rogen, who hit the stage with a collection of jokes over how inside the technically-outside affair was.

Starting by exclaiming there were “way too many of us in this little room,” Rogen asked what the hell they were all doing there. “They said this was outdoors.”

“It’s not! They lied to us,” he continued. “I would not have come to this! Why is there a roof?! It’s more important we have three chandeliers than that we make sure we don’t kill Eugene Levy tonight. That is what has been decided.”

He concluded: “I went from wiping my groceries to having Paul Bettany sneeze in my face.”

Ted Lasso Takes the Early Lead

The first two wins of the night went to Ted Lasso, with Hannah Waddingham and Brett Goldstein both taking home the gold for their supporting roles on the comedy.

As she took to the stage, Waddingham let out a big scream and exclaimed, “Jesus Christ on a bike … I’m not responsible for whatever comes out of my mouth after this.” She then thanked Jason Sudeikis and the show’s writers, before expressing her shock at actually giving a speech. She also gave a special thanks to Juno Temple and her parents, who she noted she “nearly lost” during filming.

When Goldstein got on stage, he took a note from his Roy Kent alter ego and while he said he was told not to swear, did just that. The censors were ready though.

Evan Peters, Emmy Winner!

Evan Peters picked up his first Emmy Award too, immediately getting censored the second he his the podium.

Among his list of thanks, he shouted, “Kate Winslet for being Kate Winslet!” and even did his Philly accent, trophy in hand.

The Evan Peters online hive — and Sarah Paulson — was thrilled.

John Oliver Honors Conan, Norm Macdonald

Picking up the trophy for Outstanding Variety Talk Series, John Oliver took a moment to pay tribute to two other legends: Conan O’Brien, whose show just came to an end this year, and Norm Macdonald, who passed away this month.

“I was kind of rooting for Conan, so this is bittersweet,” Oliver said. “Thank you Conan for 30 years of inspiring comedy writers. You’re the best.”

“This is an award for late night comedy no one was funnier in the last 20 years than Norm Macdonald in late night comedy,” he added. “If you have any time in the next week, do what I did and spend time YouTubing clips of Norm and Conan because it doesn’t get better than that.”

Robin Thede’s Reaction Face

Saturday Night Live picked up the trophy for Outstanding Variety Sketch Series, but Robin Thede made a great argument for why A Black Lady Sketch Show should have won.

As Lorne Michaels and the cast and crew of SNL walked to the stage, the camera cut to Thede seething in her chair as Issa Rae tried to console her. It, of course, was all a bit — but a good one, and funnier than a lot of the bits of the night.

A Mike Pence Fly Joke In 2021?

One of the most confusing bits of the night was a pre-taped sketch in which Cedric released a fly into the world … the same fly that would then land on Mike Pence during his debate against Kamala Harris.

The fly moment happened way back in October 2020, leaving everyone wondering why the hell we were getting jokes about it still in September 2021. It also went nowhere and had nothing to do with anything else of the night.

Jean Smart’s Emotional Speech

Jean Smart won Outstanding Lead Actress In A Comedy Series for her role as Deborah Vance in Hacks, following the death of her husband Richard Gilliland back in March.

After getting a standing ovation from the entire audience, Smart took to the mic and said, “Before I say anything else, I had to acknowledge my late husband who passed away six months yesterday.”

“I would not be here without him, without his putting his career on the back-burner so I could take advantage of all the wonderful opportunities that I’ve had,” she said, before thanking their two “incredible, unselfish” children for being “very courageous individuals in their own right.”

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