Clothes and quips at the Emmy Awards shows winning isn't everything

Monday, September 11th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

Fashion statements: With the tyranny of Joan and Melissa Rivers now entrenched, tacky outfits were at a minimum. The classic Hollywood look, glittery with plenty of cleavage, predominated – with modern touches, of course. Can you say "tight" and "sheer"? Black is still the new black (most notable: Sela Ward in a leathery bondage number – va-va-va-voom!). Bold reds made appearances on Stockard Channing, Calista Flockhart, Molly Shannon, Jennifer Aniston and Rebecca Romijn Stamos. Meanwhile, Heather Locklear and Keri Russell donned plunging white. But Geena Davis' clingy, see-through Pamela Dennis was the hit of the pre-show podium. "You can stay up here as long as you want," ABC host Tom Bergeron commented. Later, Jack Lemmon tried to get a hug.

Host Garry Shandling's quip of the night, on auditioning for The West Wing: "I read for the role of vice president. They said, 'Too Jewish.'"

Other notable one-liners:

Shandling on Viagra:
"I could use a pill that would make me want to have a conversation afterward."

Shandling on the length of the broadcast: "You know what slows this show down: the awards. They ought to tape them under the seats."

Shandling on Joan Rivers: "No one talks about what she's wearing. She looks like a hooker with a microphone."

Shandling on the winner for best director of a variety program (for the Oscars), who was directing the Emmys: "He's got seven Emmys. He bought five on eBay."

Cher on a hair-color change: "I was so upset at not winning that my hair turned blond. Then I forgot."

Chris Rock on TV's ethnic diversity, as exemplified by the nominees for best supporting actress in a comedy series: "There's a young white woman, another young white woman, a third young white woman, another slightly older white woman and Doris Roberts." Wayne Brady, the singing specialist of Whose Line Is It Anyway?, also chimed in on the subject during a musical tribute to TV, noting the lack of blacks on Friends.

Little Bathhouse on the Prairie: That was just one of the titles listed by the cast of Will & Grace, imagining what it would have been like if TV had been as open-minded in the past. Other suggestions: I Dream of Johnny, The Lesbionic Woman, Ozzie and Harry, Chico on the Man and Frasier.

He's no Joan, but he's trying: Alex Cambert, one of a cast of unknowns co-hosting ABC's pre-show, did his best to stand out – by trying to be as tacky as his E! counterpart. But it was no competition. Ms. Rivers opened the proceedings by saying, "The excrement is about to begin," and followed up by talking about the superficiality of Hollywood. "Air kisses," she said. "Anything to avoid herpes." Mr. Cambert was a little classier – and funnier – by comparison. On the generous size of the gift basket given out by the academy: "It weighs a little more than Lara Flynn Boyle." On the pre-show nervousness of the presenters: "Knees a-knockin', silicone a-jigglin'." On the statuettes: "There's more gold on this table than in Snoop Dogg's mouth."

Tie a yellow ribbon: Instead of the little red sashes mourning AIDS victims, many attendees sported an alternative. They were expressing solidarity with striking members of the Screen Actors Guild, who are trying to preserve their rights to residual payments for commercials.

Keeping it real: Rudy Boesch from Survivor and Curtis Kin from Big Brother made pre-show appearances on E! The ever subtle Ms. Rivers gave Mr. Boesch some advice: Grab the money now, because "in two months, they're going to say, 'Rudy who?'" Later, Mr. Shandling said he didn't like reality programming: "I don't think real people should be on television. ... I think it's for special people like us. People who've trained to appear real."

Funny Fox: After winning for lead actor in a comedy series, Michael J. Fox kept it short and serious. "Thanks," he said. "It's been a great ride, and stay tuned." But earlier, he joked about the Parkinson's disease that forced him to leave Spin City, telling Mr. Shandling he wasn't the guy to adjust his tie.

Best presenter pairing: Kelli Williams of The Practice and Jane Leeves of Frasier giving out the award for best supporting actor in a drama series. They're both pregnant, or as Ms. Williams put it, "knocked up."

Best acceptance speech: Patricia Heaton after winning for lead actress in a comedy series: "I just want to thank God for thinking me up and my mother for letting me come out."

Runner-up: Will & Grace executive producer Max Mutchnick after winning for best comedy series, referring to the Emmy: "I finally met a girl I want to sleep with."