There was no hesitation on your part?
My main concern was whether or not it would be virtual again. As a stand-up and a live performer, a virtual setting isn’t necessarily appealing to me. That may or may not have been more seductive. It was, however, intended to return to a location where awards were being given out and a good time was being had by all. Even so, it will maintain a degree of social distance and be accountable. I’m the narrator, so I won’t be able to see any of you. [Laughs.]
You’ll be exhibiting at this year’s festival with what kind of attitude in mind.
It has been a great year for television, and the pandemic has caused many of us to watch far more than we would have otherwise. If you’ve heard of a show but never watched it, we want to combine it with other shows you’ve already seen. But even though we’re all dressed up and wearing tuxedos, I don’t want the evening to have the air of an Oscars ceremony.
If so, do you believe it has diminished interest in award shows in recent years?
This is for them. Let’s take away the velvet rope, I said to the writers. Let’s remove the feeling that this is for them. A network sitcom featuring me… The Emmys are all about the more avant-garde shows that are streamed or viewed on cable. The television with a “smart” feature. People began to feel as if they weren’t welcome in the room. Every single one of us contributes to the success of this place. Some people enjoy watching more serious dramas, which are both entertaining and educational. Then there are those who prefer to “sit back and relax” by watching television. Let’s get rid of the scepticism. To do so is what I’m aiming for.
In the middle of a pandemic, is it difficult for viewers to get excited about celebrating famous people?
This is a hot-button issue, and it’s understandable why. I’d love to see the stars having a good time. Because people want to have fun, but they also want to be safe while doing so. But I also know that these things could change at any given time, depending on how our governor is feeling here. I’m clinging to the belief that we can return to some semblance of normalcy at this point.
Would the introduction of new award categories be beneficial?
This has been brought up before. It’s just that one line in the series that you’ve always been so fond of. That was pretty much it for the show. But what about the manner in which they said it? When someone shed the most tears. The specifics aren’t getting the attention they deserve.
During the pandemic, you’ve spent your time catching up on shows you’d missed. Is there another show on which you’d like to appear besides your own?