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The Emmy Awards have wrapped. "Big Little Lies" was a big winner along with Donald Glover, "Saturday Night Live" and "The Handmaid's Tale." Lena Waithe made history as the first black woman to win for writing in a comedy series, "Handmaid's" was the first streaming show to win drama, and Donald Glover was the first black man to win directing in comedy. Check out our behind-the-scenes stories, fashion breakdowns and red carpet interviews.

Why Stephen Colbert was the right Emmys host in the year of Trump

Emmys host Stephen Colbert being carried in a bit inspired by HBO's "Westworld." (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
Emmys host Stephen Colbert being carried in a bit inspired by HBO's "Westworld." (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

For its 69th festival of self-benediction, broadcast Sunday on CBS, the Television Academy brought on Stephen Colbert as its master of ceremonies. Already on the CBS payroll, already schooled in hosting — it is two years almost to the day that, having abandoned his ironic “Colbert Report” persona, he took over “The Late Show” — he was an obvious choice for this job. It was a choice made even easier, to be sure, as his numbers improved and the narrative surrounding “The Late Show” turned from disappointment to delight.

As a comedian, it’s Colbert’s job to take things apart, but he is temperamentally a thoughtful, philosophical, gracious, happy sort of humorist. Like “The Late Show,” where Colbert shows himself more interested in philosophy than celebrity self-promotion, Colbert’s Emmys show was, not surprisingly, genial, pointed, exuberant, just a little bit outrageous and marked by a kind of bemused patience with the vanities of Hollywood that did not exempt the host. When he led the audience in “the traditional Hollywood prayer: Lord, thank you for giving us talent and beauty and the gaping hole inside of each of us that craves love and will never be filled,” that was not meant just in fun. . . .

Stephen Colbert hosts the 69th Primetime Emmy Awards at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
Stephen Colbert hosts the 69th Primetime Emmy Awards at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

. . .The monologue began as a mix of good and bad jokes, like any late-night monologue, mostly on lightweight topics. There was the usual engaging with selected stars in the front row seats. But it was the Donald Trump jokes — the current administration being the source of much of “The Late Show’s” invigorated focus — that one awaited.

Why didn’t you give him an Emmy? If he had won an Emmy, I bet he wouldn’t have run for president. This is all your fault.

Stephen Colbert

“If we’re honest with ourselves,” Colbert said finally, “we know that the biggest TV star of the last year is Donald Trump,” whom he grouped with television’s other “morally compromised anti-heroes” as “Walter Much-Whiter.” He read, in Trump’s voice, an old Trump tweet about Seth Meyers hosting the Emmys: “He is very awkward, with almost no talent. Marbles in his mouth.” Meyers, in the audience, opened his mouth, and marbles poured out.

“Unlike the presidency,” said Colbert, “Emmys go to the winner of the popular vote.” And then an aside, “Where do I find the courage to tell that joke in this room?” . . .

. . .What did shock the room came next, as Colbert, noting Trump’s obsession with ratings, and wondering whether there were a way to know how well the broadcast was doing at that moment, brought former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer on to say, “This will be the largest audience to witness any Emmys, period, both in person and around the world.”

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