Despite the odds, Jimmy Kimmel makes the ‘Pandemmys’ work

For a moment last night, it seemed as if the Emmy stage might burn down and take host Jimmy Kimmel and presenter Jennifer Aniston with it.

With the pandemic changing how Americans live their lives, the 72nd Emmy Awards proved the show could go on – with social distancing, and more than 100 stars on Zoom calls that made them appear as if they were in goldfish bowls.

Kimmel and Aniston, one of the few in-studio presenters, struggled with a bit in which Kimmel disinfected an awards envelope and then set it on fire in a trash can.

That trash can fire just didn’t want to go out, no matter how many times Aniston blasted it with a fire extinguisher.

It did serve to underscore that anything could happen on this live telecast in which Kimmel teased, “What can possibly go right?”

As for that, plenty.

In his opening remarks to a tape-edited and inserted crowd of celebs, Kimmel riffed, “It might seem frivolous and unnecessary to do this during a global pandemic, but you know what else seems frivolous and unnecessary? Doing it every other year. Right now we need fun.”

This just in: The Television Academy has announced that “Schitt’s Creek” has swept the 2021, 2022, and 2023 Emmy Awards.

Kidding!

There was no denying this was the night for the quirky little Canadian comedy.

The darling of Pop TV owned the night, picking up seven Emmys, among them outstanding comedy series, lead actress Catherine O’Hara, lead actor Eugene Levy, supporting actor Daniel Levy, and supporting actress Annie Murphy.

It also won for directing and writing, and with the two creative arts Emmys it picked up last week, it won the most awards of any comedy in a single year.

Worth noting: “Schitt’s Creek” had never picked up a single Emmy previously during its six-season run. Some voters must have been streaming on Netflix during the pandemic.

The senior Levy thanked his son Daniel in his speech for taking “our fish-out-of-water story about the Rose family and (transforming) it into a celebration of inclusivity, a castigation against homophobia, and a declaration of the power of love.”

Damon Lindelof dedicated his win for the “Watchmen” limited series to the men and women who died in the Tulsa Massacre in 1921, a launchpad for the miniseries.

“This country neglects and forgets its own history at its own peril often, and we should never forget that,” he said.

“Watchmen” stars Regina King and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II scored acting trophies. King and Uzo Aduba wore t-shirts honoring Breonna Taylor.

Zendaya made history as the youngest outstanding lead actress for her role in the drama “Euphoria.” HBO’s “Succession” picked up the outstanding drama trophy.

There was a mini-“Friends” reunion, with Aniston joined at home by Courteney Cox and Lisa Kudrow (and interloper Jason Bateman). Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington held their own New Year’s Eve party because they were ready for 2020 to be so over.

The upcoming presidential election was on a lot of peoples’ minds, even if Kimmel was one of the very few to call out Trump by name.

Billy Crudup, winner for outstanding supporting actor in a drama for “The Morning Show,” asked young people to save the nation.

Mark Ruffalo, winner for outstanding lead actor in a limited series for “I Know This Much is True,” said, “Are we going to be a country of hate and division and a country only for certain people? Or are we going to be one of love and strength and fighting for all of us to have the American dream?”

In a nice touch, essential workers – including a lady truck driver and a nurse practitioner who has recovered from Covid and returned to work – announced the nominees in several categories.

The show ended just five minutes late, respectable even in the best of years.

In 2020, it was a positive miracle.

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