Emmys: Andy Samberg Gets Boxed in by Host Role

Andy Samberg Emmy Host Review
Courtesy of FOx

Andy Samberg said in advance that he wouldn’t read reviews of his Emmy Awards performance. With the benefit of hindsight, that’s probably not a bad idea – not because the “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” star was bad, exactly, but merely because he felt somewhat miscast for this role, a preconception that was borne out as the night dragged on.

Samberg certainly started on an energetic note, but that was almost a foregone conclusion. A taped song bit in which he locked himself away to watch every show on television (even “Castle”) capitalized on his “Saturday Night Live”-honed strengths and the digital shorts with which he’s been associated. As the number finished, he was prompted by Bob Odenkirk to go out and tell some “culturally relevant but not too edgy jokes.”

Standup, however, isn’t necessarily Samberg’s foremost skill, as anyone who saw him at Fox’s upfront presentation might have concluded. And while his self-consciously exaggerated, wildly sunny disposition came across well enough, the mix of topical jokes about presidential candidates Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders, or Kim Davis, the Kentucky clerk who has refused to sanction gay marriages, felt somewhat shoehorned in alongside the TV-specific material.

What mostly came across, gradually, was that Samberg’s approach just didn’t wear especially well. He plays better in bite-sized bits, and his sprightly setup/joke rhythms yielded diminishing returns over the course of the evening. That somewhat undercut, say, a funny sight gag – with him cozying up to an over-sized Emmy statue, in what he called an homage to “Girls” – by following it with a flat tribute to “SNL” patriarch Lorne Michaels that paid off with giving him a “World’s Best Boss” mug.

Similarly, a canned sketch that came toward the midway point spoofing the “Mad Men” finale felt unnecessary. The same goes for a let’s-see-what’s-happening-on-the-red-carpet gag that involved Tony Hale and Tatiana Maslany.

Of course, the host’s presence is invariably less than meets the eye. At almost every awards presentation, hosts disappear for stretches as the show gets into the meat of the ceremony. Yet even when Samberg popped up, there was seldom a sense of spontaneity in many of his gags. (A shout out to Kyle Chandler, after Jon Hamm won, was a rare exception.)

The presenter introductions, always a challenge, were somehow more lame than usual. As for lengthier moments, it sometimes gave the impression of material that could have gone into the opening monologue simply being tossed in to fill time, which was clearly becoming precious as more of the acceptance speeches ran long.

The emphasis on comedy was also such that the telecast kept bringing people to the stage that frankly might have been better suited to this particular task, including several of those late-night hosts (as well as HBO’s John Oliver) who inevitably get the call when their network broadcasts the Emmys.

Samberg was a relatively modest part of what is always, by simple construction, a pretty long sit. But for anyone who hoped the guy behind “Dick in a Box” would somehow manage to shake up the Emmys, the host instead found himself pretty well boxed in.

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  1. My theory?
    Millions did not tune in because they thought Andy Samberg was Adam Sandler…
    And millions more tuned out because he wasn’t Adam Sandler!
    Just a theory….

  2. rosenda says:

    I was embarrassed for him. I changed channels at one point hoping the presenters would come on and get rid of him for awhile.

  3. noel spaid, attorney says:

    Bring back Ricky Gervasis and don’t edit him – he is just plain funny and the only good awards show host since Bob Hope – Hollywood can stand laughing at themselves and no one serves the bait better = RICKY RICKY RICKY- great

  4. Jay says:

    The emmys were boring as usual, turned them off. And, the host was pitifully not funny. In fact, none of the attempted humor played well.

  5. Chuck says:

    I did not like all the rude jokes about the Republican candidates for president. They were one after another and meant to hurt. There was no mention about any Democrats. I turned the Emmy show off after one hour. And I will never tune in to Brooklyn Nine/ Nine or the Emmy show again.

  6. JM says:

    Worst awards show ever.

  7. Erica R. says:

    I’m going to disagree. He had me laughing out loud in front of my TV. However, I will say that he indeed was boxed in as he himself commented and the beginning of his stand up. I did ask myself at one point: is he doing stand up? But again, I enjoyed it. Did the night start to go stale? Yes, but it’s an awards show. Hardly any of them keep your attention until the end.

  8. Catherine says:

    Watching Samberg host the Emmy’s was like watching your baby brother perform at a grammar school play. He was almost desperate in his over-the-top hosting duties. The writing was horrific and infantile. I think when it comes to hosting an awards show a more “seasoned” personality is needed. John Stewart or Stephen Colbert, David Letterman, Chelsea Handler or Ellen De Generes would all have been better as hosts. But then again, “awards” shows from the entertainment industry are just so much fun to watch. It’s so delightful to see such a display of complete narcissism–I get so giddy! I love keeping tabs on how many actors refer to the team in which they work as “MY” writers, director, producer, cast. Um…it’s a team–you should be saying “OUR”! I love the way they bring politics into their acceptance speeches–what? You can’t get an interview in Vanity Fair, so you’re using this show as your platform? I become giddy when winners start crying crocodile tears………..

  9. Paige says:

    HE WAS HORRIBLE! Not funny. Terrible writing. The pre-opening sequence was great and then it tanked after that. Most of the show was hideous. Even using “Over the Rainbow” for the Memoriam section was uninspired. TOO MANY awards shows keep using that song and I believe it was Eva Cassidy’s recording? But no one even acknowledged that. Half the awards were given to those who’ve won too many years already. Kimmel or Gervais please.

  10. LIR says:

    I’ll host next year for free. :)

  11. Samberg was a lousy host, but also a victim. Seemed like too many “chefs” (comedy writers with different styles and approaches). Andy obviously has no veteran standup/talk show host’s delivery or pacing skill or experience and no ad libbing ability. He did have a hot sweaty audience (it was in the 90s in LA and Letterman is right about cold air and comedy.

    But I don’t blame Samberg, I blame the genius at Fox who picked him, thinking it would be good hype for one of the net’s few successful comedy shows.

  12. Terry Wright says:

    It was a forgone conclusion that Samberg would bomb, and he did. Very bad show as usual. His coffee mug bit was met with silence from the crowd. He and Seth Myers [another very unfunny person], stood there smiling like it was the funniest thing ever. How did he get the hosting job? How does he get any job?

  13. Jacques Strappe says:

    Dick in a box and now biggest dick of a host in Emmy history. How does someone as untalented as this score an Emmy hosting gig? Just painful to watch.

  14. Doby Gillis says:

    Andy Samberg is simply NOT FUNNY.

  15. David says:

    Worst Emmy host ever. Ever!

  16. Goodbyenoway says:

    He was AWFUL. And he needs to get his teeth fixed

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