I’m a big fan of Neil Patrick Harris, and I don’t want to put words in your mouth or anything, guys, but we can all agree that he was totally off his game last night, right? I felt like the whole three hours was super low-energy in a way that’s really unlike NPH. Like finally, after hosting twenty-five award shows in a row, he might have finally tanked one.
We were really excited when he first announced he’d be hosting the Emmys again back in May. Sure, it meant he’d be hosting two main award shows in the same season — the Tonys and the Emmys — but he’d done that back in 2009, and it went fine! And yeah, so maybe he’s hosted the Tonys four out of the last five years, but you can’t burn a host out, right? Just keep throwing him back out there, like a toddler in a tiara or a Hunger Games tribute! What could go wrong?
Well, last night could. It could go wrong and it could go very wrong. It’s not like it was offensive or that awkward or anything. It was just pretty tough to watch. It looked like a guy who had hosted about eight such shows in a row, and had run out of material and energy. It made me feel like maybe the Emmys producers had so much faith in Neil that they didn’t actually check in with him to make sure he’d come up with stuff to say and do until the day of the ceremonies, at which point he’d just been sitting at his desk procrastinating and practicing his signature for four months.
I can just imagining them knocking on the door of NPH’s hotel room yesterday morning, expecting him to be in his tuxedo sitting eagerly on the edge of his bed, notecards in hand, smile in place, totally ready to go. After all, his Tony hosting stint from this very year proved that he’s a direct descendant of The Great Lord Of Hosting In The Sky. But instead they had to unlock the door and there he was, unshowered and unshaven, sleeping in a pile of DVDs and Chinese takeout boxes in front of the television.
“Oh christ, Neil,” they muttered, “what happened?”
“I can’t do it. I can’t. I don’t want to. I’m tired.”
“You have to do it, Neil. We told everyone you would. But don’t worry, we’ll throw something together for you. You just get yourself into the shower and we’ll rustle it right up. How hard can it be?”
So he leaves the room, and all the producers look at each other and shake their heads. “I’ve never seen him like this. We have to do something. Maybe a montage at the beginning? Neil could sit down for it and just talk to the television? Buy us some time before we need to come up with real material?”
“Great idea! We’ll get the actors to film little bits for it!”
“No! There’s no time! We’ll just use clips from the real shows! Real easy ones! Ones that even Vermont resident Meg Malone over at Crushable could put together! And then we’ll get a bunch of previous hosts to come up onstage with him as a hosting buffer to take up time, and then get Tina Fey and Amy Poehler to come onstage in a funny way, and then we’ll be off and away, and no one will need to hear from him until the middle of the show.”
“That’s great, but what do we do then? The audience will be expecting something — no, Neil, we’re still out here, don’t worry, no one’s throwing out your Chinese food! Jesus, this guy.”
“Don’t we have the beginnings of a halftime song that Neil was gonna use for the Tonys next year? Let’s just throw that in there with zero TV references at all, and flood the stage with singers and dancers so NPH can run off for a quick sip of Gatorade and a power nap.”
“Are you sure about this?”
“Yeah. It’s all we can do. Oh good christ, Neil, put a towel on. You were supposed to be at the Nokia Theater twenty minutes ago. Sure, you can sleep in the back on the way there. As long as you call your How I Met Your Mother cast mates first and get them to film a PSA explaining all this away. It’s our only hope. Now get some rest, buddy. It’s gonna be a looooonnnng night.”