Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 27 October 2020

'Welcome to the pandemmies': Jimmy Kimmel kicks of virtual 2020 Emmy Awards

A coronavirus joke kicks off Hollywood's first major Covid-era awards show

Host Jimmy Kimmel was mostly alone at the Staples Centre venue. AP
Host Jimmy Kimmel was mostly alone at the Staples Centre venue. AP

It looked like any awards show as Emmys host Jimmy Kimmel took to the stage in a tuxedo and started cracking jokes to laughter from famous audience members.

But it was anything but typical. While Kimmel was real, as he opened the 72nd Emmy Awards on Sunday evening, the audience was clearly fake, inserted from past footage.

“Welcome to the pandemmies!” he joked, to open his monologue. “You can’t have a virus without a host.”

Kimmel played it straight until halfway through the opening segment at the Staples Centre in Los Angeles, when he admitted he was nearly alone and the telecast showed the sea of empty seats.

Nominees were represented by cardboard cut-outs, and by Jason Bateman of Ozark pretending to be one.

Kimmel then walked into a room where he was surrounded by dozens of nominees shown on video feeds from their homes, hotel rooms and other remote locations.

TV stars were asked to pick out their favourite pyjamas before Sunday's reinvented Emmys, for which nominees accepted prizes live from their homes.

"No one goes home a loser. They'll already be at home," the late-night TV show funnyman quipped in an advertisement for the broadcast.

Hollywood's first major Covid-era awards show was looking radically different to previous iterations, with no red carpet.

Nominees for the 72nd Emmys – the small-screen equivalent of the Oscars – were sent cameras to hook up in their own living rooms, gardens and even bedrooms.

They were also encouraged to get creative with their acceptance speeches, as well as locations, meaning even the show's producers were in for a few surprises.

"They don't know what it's going to look like – it's a crapshoot," said Deadline awards columnist Pete Hammond.

Updated: September 21, 2020 12:43 PM

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