With the Emmys just around the corner, Variety asked some of this year’s nominees about their first auditions.

Nicole Byer was about 21 years old when she read for a part in an off-Broadway show. She was stunned by the casting director’s age. “She looked so young. I was like, ‘Oh my God, you’re so young. How did you get this job?’ which is not something you say to somebody,” the “Nailed It!” host remembered. “And she was like, ‘Let’s just get this show on the road.’ I was like, ‘Oh, okay.’ So then I started my monologue and I got two lines deep and I f—ed up and I went, “Aw, f—!” and she was like, ‘Excuse?‘—which is something you never do, you just keep going.

“She let me start over, finish it and she was like, ‘Actually, you’re very talented. There’s just a lot of bullshit up top,’” Byer continued. “And I was like, ‘So I didn’t get it?’ And she was like, ‘No, I’ll say it now. No. Goodbye.’

James Corden began auditioning when he was a teenager. “I used to go on auditions basically every week from when I was about 13 to 16, 17 and I never got a single job,” the late night talk show host said.

He remembers one of the earliest ones for “The Sound of Music.” His dad drove him into London when he was 13. The try-out lasted all day and it was 5 p.m. when he learned he didn’t make the cut. As he made his way out, he heard the director tell the remaining hopefuls they were cast. “My dad was at the bottom of the stairs with the other moms and dads and he said I was walking down and he had never seen me look so down or upset,” Corden said.

His dad told him on the way home that he didn’t have to audition anymore if he didn’t want to.

“I said, ‘I can’t do that. This is what it is. And this is what I’ve got to do. And this is just part of it,’” Corden said. “He says that he knew then that nothing was going to dissuade me from trying to be a performer.”

Looking back at her early days, Maya Rudolph said with a laugh, “I don’t think things went that great in the beginning.”

Watch the video above for more first audition memories.