Was there any doubt that Neil Patrick Harris would make a great Emmys host? No. Even so, wasn’t he great last night? Making do with just the few short minutes he was given between the distribution of awards to people who win them every year, he was was funny and classy and kept things moving. The tone-setting opening number was excellent and over too soon (we certainly wouldn’t have minded if it had been extended into a fifteen-minute Jackman-style montage and replaced the presentation of a few of the non-time-shifted writing awards). All banter was sharp (“Unbelievable. Upsets at every turn,” he observed after The Amazing Race won its seventh consecutive Emmy for Reality-Competition Program), and even when it wasn’t, he made us laugh (“That was funny!” he informed the audience, dancing, after a bit bombed). His loss to Jon Cryer for Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy was sort of a crime, but if he’d won we wouldn’t have gotten to see him heckle Cryer in the press room.
How good was he? Good enough to make hosts of other previous award shows retroactively embarrassed. Jeff Probst, winner last night for Best Reality Host and one of the terrible emcees of last year’s telecast, told the crowd, “This is how you host the Emmys” during his own acceptance speech. And Jon Stewart, accepting for Best Variety Show, added, “These shows — we’ve all been to a lot of these. They usually suck. But you’ve been great.” We suppose we could’ve done without the
made-up résumés he gave presenters as he introduced them, and the contest-winner-with-obstructed-seats bit wore a little thin, but those are small quibbles.
NPH probably wrote his own invitation last night to host every upcoming event in Hollywood (save for the Oscars, which are spoken for until Jackman’s retirement), but why saddle this guy with another big, slow-moving awards ceremony? Can’t we just give him his own variety show at, say, 10 p.m.?
Here’s his opening number: