With the veteran “Saturday Night Live” star in charge of the awards show, producers say, expect a fun, easy-going night.
LOS ANGELES — Emmy Awards host Kenan Thompson and the event’s producers are predicting a controversy-free zone unlike the Oscars show, which was marred by an onstage slap.
Thompson said the confrontation happened last March. Will Smith strikes. A joke directed at Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, by host Chris Rock, was both annoying and avoidable.
“It just threw the whole world off guard, basically, and it won’t happen again,” Thompson told The Associated Press. “Even if I am roasting (someone), it should not come across as any kind of malice.”
He said that if a prank ends, there can be an apology and a conversation. But neither Rock — who “doesn’t have a single bone in his body,” Thompson said — or any other comedian should expect a reaction like Smith’s.
The first-time Emmy host, the veteran “Saturday Night Live” cast member is following in the footsteps of other “SNL” colleagues including Michael Chea, Colin Jost and Andy Samberg.
Thompson said he slept on the offer before saying yes. The event airs Monday, Sept. 12 at 8 p.m. EDT on NBC and airs live on Peacock, along with dramas “Succession” and “Squid Game” and comedies “Ted Lasso” and “Hacks.” Top nominees.
“It’s a huge deal, and I don’t necessarily want to drop the ball. So I was like, ‘Let me sit with it,'” he said. After speaking with the producers, he knew he wanted to do it and wanted to go for it.
“It’s supposed to be a night to appreciate artistry and creativity and de-stress. I get it — it’s futile to lose, and everyone’s picking outfits and trying to work the red carpet, Thompson said. “But at the same time, it’s an amazing thing to be in the room on Emmys night, and I don’t want her to get lost in the tension.”
Reginald Hudlin and Ian Stewart, who returned as executive producers for the event, consider Thompson perfect for the job.
“He’s beloved, and since we announced it, there’s been nothing but positive feedback,” Hudlin said. “He has great connections with everybody, and we’re going to maximize those connections…..He’s the unofficial mayor of Hollywood.”
While The Rock was the first participant to physically pay for a joke at a major awards show, Ricky Gervais has expressed celebrity reluctance for the insulting humor he routinely uses as host of the Golden Globes. Worked accordingly.
Stewart said stars attending the Emmys don’t have to worry about being in comedy mode with Thompson.
“If you’ve been to a party at Cannon’s house, you know it’s going to be a fun, easy time with lots of laughs,” she said. “There’s nothing that could be aggressive or sharp in any way. That’s not the guy.”
Viewers have come to know Thompson’s style from “SNL,” where he’s a regular part of music video send-ups and takes on iconic roles, including the spotlight-hogging host of “What’s Up With That.” He also starred in the recently concluded sitcom “Canon”.
Is there a part of him as an actor he’s eager to showcase at the Emmys? “How fast can I do on my toes,” he replied, then turned the question outward.
“We know people who are in the category,” he said, but a legendary actor in attendance could be a welcome surprise.
“We have to be aware, and point that out and celebrate them,” he said. “I really want the community aspect of it all to be at the forefront.”
When asked if he would participate in any musical numbers, Thompson said that it was more than likely.
“I think we need to open with a bang… (and) have some ideas cooking at that level. But whatever it is, it’s got to be tough, and it doesn’t look like it’s just time. to fill,” he said. “We have their (viewers’) attention. It better be worth it.”