Mighty Big TV
September ?, 2002
by Adam Sternbergh


Mercury - Hotter than Georgia asphalt
"Hi, I'm Conan O'Brien. Well, there it was. The moment many of you've been wishing for for years finally arrived -- Conan hosting an awards show! And I must say, I did a pretty bang-up job. The opening bit with Ozzy was boffo, and I got to be the firs host in Emmy history to utter the words 'pimps,' 'parasites,' and 'a woman with real breasts' -- well, from the stage, at least. And, for those of you who were worried about flipping back and forth between me and The Sopranos, I conveniently top-loaded all my jokes in the show's first hour, thereafter sticking around only to pop out now and again like a high-school vice-principal trying to keep the talent show on schedule. Of course, that little midget Jon Stewart still managed to sneak in under my armpit and deliver the night's best line; the one about 'the hell that is episodic TV' and 'directing your eighth Tim Curry pilot.' Still, all in all, a good night, and one that finally proved an old show business theory, previously untested: Hire a funny person to host an awards show and the show will be funny. Astounding. Of course, there's one person I must thank above all others: Aaron Sorkin, one of the greatest writers working in Hollywood today."

Venus - Hotter than Rhode Island asphalt
"Hi, I'm Jennifer Aniston. Well, I guess I really am the queen of TV. Screw that -- I'm the queen of Hollywood! Julia Roberts married some camera guy, and I've got Brad Pitt on my arm! (For those of you wondering at home, Brad's hair looked like that because he's dropped out of that mountain man sci-fi movie to star in a Leif Garrett biopic. I know -- given the choice, I'd take the beard too.) Of course, I share my Best Lead Actress in a Comedy award with all my castmates, except Courtney Cox Arquette, whom I've been carrying for years. Luckily, she's light. And, of course, there's one person without whom none of this would be possible: Aaron Sorkin, the greatest writer in television history."

Earth - Approximately as hot as Rhode Island asphalt
"Hi, I'm Michael Chiklis. With Dennis Franz out of the way and the Six Feet Under cast splitting the votes, I came right up the middle for the biggest surprise of the night. But the biggest shock was not my winning this award, nor the fact that my controversial show on FX has become a real critical darling, or even that I, the former star of The Commish, have actually turned out to be a fine and serious actor. No, the biggest shock is that somehow I managed to disappear for two years and re-emerge as the pocket Bruce Willis. Look at me! Man, if Daddio had been a hit, I'd still be a balding shlub with a beer belly! Screw The Shield -- I'm writing a diet book! But this transformation wasn't easy, and I never could have achieved it without the love and support of Aaron Sorkin, who devised a new meal regimen for me and then acted as my personal trainer. Thanks, A-Man!"

Mars - Within the temperature range of Rhode Island asphalt during the rainy season
"Hi, I'm Ozzy. Jolly good show. Toasting television's best and brightest -- what a night of unrivaled jollity and mirth! And to have played a part in this great pageant -- 'twas truly humbling. What? Wait -- you don't think I actually talk the way I do in the show in real life, do you? You don't think I'm actually some infantile stumblebum who couldn't find his way from the toilet-paper roll to his ass without Sharon gently coaxing my hand in the right direction, do you? Come now! 'Ozzy' is the greatest comic invention of the twenty-first century! He's like my Pee-wee Herman! And the whole conceit is utterly brilliant! Do you actually think America would fall in love with an eloquent and whip-smart former rocker? Here's your answer: 'Wazza fucky... Izna... Izna ma faul! Izna ma faul!' Ha ha! I have to say, when Sorkin proposed the whole 'Befuddled Ozzy' concept to me, I thought he was crackers. I owe you a frosty pint, mate! Or should I say, 'Az naw frozzy pah mah!'"

Jupiter - Rhode Island on a moderate day
"Hi, I'm Allison Janney. Okay, I'll take next year off, I promise. I know I deserve to keep winning these things, but if I don't take a breather, other actresses are going to start making 'Allison Janney' jokes, the way comedians talk about Kelsey Grammer. Frankly, if you saw the E! red-carpet pre-show, and the shot of me stopping to chat with the valet, you'll see that I also deserved a Classy Lady Award -- because I am a Classy Lady. But I promise I'll tone down the great acting this year. It will be hard, though, seeing as the words spilling from my mouth will be those of Aaron Sorkin, who was sent to earth from Heaven to save our sad and sordid species with his celestial musings."

Saturn - Hotter than a Rhode Island soft ice cream cone
"Hi, I'm Joel Gallen, producer of America: A Tribute to Heroes, winner of an Emmy for Best Variety Show. You know, there was some talk of not submitting this show for an award at all, since the whole point was to raise money and raise spirits after 9/11, and it might seem crass to put our show in the same category as, say, the Oscars, or even to pursue an industry accolade on the back of that tragedy. Of course, that talk was taking place on the couches of people watching the Emmys, and not in my offices, thank Sorkin. Because I was happy to win this year. You may have heard the announcer mention that this is my second nomination in a row in this category, though my production from 2000, America: A Cavalcade of Decadent Frivolity, didn't fare as well. Sorkin be praised!"

Uranus - Rhode Island soft ice cream with freezer burn
"Hi, I'm Michael Moriarty. Well, what do you know? Last any of you heard, I was getting arrested for drunken brawling in a bar in Halifax -- or was it Vancouver? -- and now here I am, back at the Emmys, with a statue of my own in my hand! And my old friend Janet Reno couldn't even win the Democratic nomination for governor of Florida! Who's laughing now, Reno! I'll tell you who -- the little man in my head who gives me instructions! My moment on stage was enough to remind all of you that, if nothing else, Ben Stone still kicks Waterston's ass, nine times out of ten. Thank you -- What? I have to thank who? But I've never even worked with that guy. No -- please, don't take my Emmy! Fine, fine: uh, and, of course, none of this would be possible without -- who? -- without Aaron Sorkin, my personal saviour."

Neptune - Rhode Island in winter
"Hi, I'm Philo T. Farnsworth. It's about time I got my props as the inventor of television. Look, when you grow up with a name like Philo T. Farnsworth, what choice do you have except to become a reclusive, mad-genius inventor? What was I going to be, a fireman? But I would like to say that, just because I invented television, I am in no way responsible for Just Shoot Me. Seriously, I laughed harder watching the horizontal line. In fact, I transmitted that show from one room of my house to the other just last week, with a message to my wife: 'The damn thing sucks.'"

Pluto - Georgia asphalt in a freak ice storm
"Hi, I'm Bob Hope. How do you like that? Everyone assumed I'd be dead by now, so they go and name an award after me, then give it to Oprah Winfrey! Well, I'm not gone yet, you damn vultures! I'll get my revenge on you yet, though. Did you see that creepy bust of me that you have to take home if you win that award? What is that, made of Das modeling clay? I'm sure Oprah really wants my beady little eyes staring down at her from the mantle. Oprah...I'm watching you...you can't escape me...stop touching Steadman there...ha ha ha! Yes, I have the last word, once again, just as I will every year! In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Sorkin, amen."


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Copyright © 2002 Mighty Big TV. All rights reserved.
Thanks to Kelly for the article.

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