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The biggest moments of the 2024 Emmy Awards, from Christina Applegate to Kieran Culkin

Author: Patrick Ryan, USA TODAY Source: USA Today
January 16, 2024 at 06:52
Pedro Pascal and Lux / Pascal Kevork Djansezian, USA TODAY
Pedro Pascal and Lux / Pascal Kevork Djansezian, USA TODAY

Quinta Brunson and Niecy Nash-Betts brought us to tears with their 2024 Emmy Awards speeches, while Tina Fey and Amy Poehler revived a "SNL" favorite.


Kelsey Grammer gets emotional remembering Kirstie Alley, 'Cheers' at 2024 Emmys
Kelsey Grammer chats with USA TODAY's Ralphie Aversa at the 75th Emmys about making the show and paying tribute to 'Cheers'

On paper, Monday’s 75th Emmy Awards should’ve been a trainwreck.

We braced for a show that would run into early Tuesday morning, with 27 trophies handed out on the air and more than half a dozen TV cast reunions staged. But the event wrapped at exactly the three-hour mark, thanks to Anthony Anderson’s nimble hosting skills and a slew of big winners that folks at home could be genuinely excited about.

Charlie Puth, alongside duo The War and Treaty, delivered a heart-tugging “in memoriam” performance of “Friends” theme song “I’ll Be There for You,” paying tribute to Matthew Perry and the many other TV giants we lost this past year. The cast of “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” playfully grumbled onstage about their complete lack of Emmy nominations, despite 16 seasons on the air. And “RuPaul’s Drag Race” star Princess Poppy went viral for her elaborate green goblin getup, which was equal parts horrifying and haute couture.

The show was not without its uncomfortable moments. Social media users were baffled by a montage of the most important TV moments throughout history, which wedged the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in between comedies like “M*A*S*H” and “The Simpsons.” A running gag with Anderson’s mom also fell flat at times, as she brusquely told "The White Lotus" winner Jennifer Coolidge to wrap up her acceptance speech. Funny in theory, perhaps, but frustrating to watch.

Here are more of the best and worst moments of the night:

Christina Applegate is self-deprecating, emotional as she makes her Emmys return

Emmys host Anthony Anderson, right, accompanies Christina Applegate to present best supporting actress in a comedy series.
Emmys host Anthony Anderson, right, accompanies Christina Applegate to present best supporting actress in a comedy series. Robert Hanashiro, USA TODAY


The Emmys broadcast started on a high note thanks to Christina Applegate, who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2021. The “Married … With Children” actress choked back tears as she walked out with a cane and received a standing ovation, joking, “You’re totally shaming me with disability by standing up!” She later quipped, “Body not by Ozempic,” a reference to the weight-loss drug, and told the audience, “We don’t have to applaud every time I do something!”

 

Quinta Brunson is overwhelmed by Carol Burnett during her best actress win for 'Abbott Elementary'

A teary-eyed Quinta Brunson gave one of the night's most moving speeches.
A teary-eyed Quinta Brunson gave one of the night's most moving speeches. Robert Hanashiro, USA TODAY


The creator and star of “Abbott Elementary” won her first Emmy for best comedy actress Monday night, moments after friend Ayo Edebiri brought home best supporting actress for “The Bear.” Quinta Brunson was presented the award by TV legend Carol Burnett, and was overcome with emotion as she delivered her acceptance speech. “I don’t know why I’m so emotional, I think just the Carol Burnett of it all," she said, wiping away tears. “I am so happy to be able to live my dream. … I just love comedy so much.”

Kieran Culkin surprises wife Jazz Charton by asking for more kids during ‘Succession’ acceptance speech

Kieran Culkin had a memorable request for his wife at the tail end of his Emmy speech.
Kieran Culkin had a memorable request for his wife at the tail end of his Emmy speech. Robert Hanashiro, USA TODAY


Culkin collected his first Emmy for best drama actor for the final season of “Succession,” playing the sniveling yet wounded Roman Roy on the HBO hit. The actor threw off his suit jacket as he took the stage, tearing up as he thanked his co-stars, mom and manager. “And, of course, my beautiful wife, Jazz,” Culkin said. “Thank you for sharing your life with me and giving me two amazing kids, Kinsey Sioux and Wilder Wolf. I love you so many and so much. And Jazz, I want more. You said ‘maybe,’ if I win! I love you so much.”
 

Katherine Heigl, Calista Flockhart join cast reunions for ‘Grey’s Anatomy,’ ‘Ally McBeal’ and more

Former 'Grey's Anatomy' co-stars Chandra Wilson, left, Justin Chambers, Ellen Pompeo, Katherine Heigl and James Pickens reunited on the Emmys stage.
Former "Grey's Anatomy"co-stars Chandra Wilson, left, Justin Chambers, Ellen Pompeo, Katherine Heigl and James Pickens reunited on the Emmys stage. Robert Hanashiro, USA TODAY


To honor the Emmys’ 75th year, the awards show brought together beloved TV stars such as Kelsey Grammer (“Cheers”), Martin Lawrence (“Martin”) and Calista Flockhart (“Ally McBeal”) for mini cast reunions throughout the telecast. Standing in a mockup of a therapist's office from “The Sopranos,” actors Lorraine Bracco and Michael Imperioli paid moving tribute to their late co-star James Gandolfini. Katherine Heigl also reunited with “Grey’s Anatomy” co-star Ellen Pompeo and others, despite her controversial departure from the series in 2010.
 

Niecy Nash-Betts thanks herself with rousing acceptance speech for Netflix’s ‘Dahmer’

Niecy Nash-Betts delivered a triumphant speech preaching self-love at Monday's Emmy Awards.
Niecy Nash-Betts delivered a triumphant speech preaching self-love at Monday's Emmy Awards. Robert Hanashiro, USA TODAY


The five-time Emmy nominee picked up her first hardware Monday, winning best supporting actress in a limited series for Ryan Murphy’s “Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story.” Nash-Betts thanked co-star Evan Peters and her “better half,” wife Jessica Betts, who lovingly escorted her to the stage. "And you know who else I want to thank? I wanna thank me, for believing in me and doing what they say I could not do,” she said, earning ecstatic cheers and a standing ovation. “And I want to say here in front of all you beautiful people: Go on, girl, with your bad self!"

 

Tina Fey, Amy Poehler help Elton John make EGOT history

Tina Fey, left, and Amy Poehler praised Rihanna's Super Bowl halftime show for getting everyone 'pregnant.'
Tina Fey, left, and Amy Poehler praised Rihanna's Super Bowl halftime show for getting everyone "pregnant." Robert Hanashiro, USA TODAY


On Monday, Elton John officially became an EGOT winner when he picked up best variety special for “Elton John: Farewell From Dodger Stadium.” The music legend now has Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony awards. Although the pop icon was not at the Peacock Theater to accept the prize, his category was hilariously presented by Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, who revived their popular “Weekend Update” segment from “Saturday Night Live.” “We’ve reached the stage in life where we’ll only present awards sitting down,” Fey joked, as they lightly ribbed nominees including Chris Rock and Rihanna.

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