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Garcia, we should thank you

Times Staff Writer

THE same Emmy Awards telecast that gave us perhaps the most uncomfortable subject transition (after thanking his mother/red carpet date, Jeremy Piven went on to make a porn joke) also proved that the best acceptance speeches are the ones you actually write down. Sunday night, Greg Garcia threw aside the time-honored tradition among winners of televised awards of pretending that they were so certain one of their esteemed colleagues would win that they didn’t even consider jotting down a few lines in the unlikely event that they would win (substituting instead a tearful recitation of cast, crew and various support staff with family tacked on over the ensuing musical cue to leave the stage).

Winning for best writing in a comedy series for NBC’s “My Name Is Earl,” Garcia took the stage at the 58th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards, glanced at a folded-up sheet of paper and proceeded to give what is possibly the most perfect acceptance speech to ever air on television.

“I don’t have time to thank everyone I should,” he began to the extraordinary relief of all concerned, explaining that he would list instead a few of those he did not want to thank. They included “my eighth-grade social studies teacher who told me to sit down and shut up because I wasn’t funny” as well as the boss who, while Garcia was a production assistant on “Step by Step,” “made me clean the gum off the executive producer’s shoe.”

Finally, he cited God: “I’m sure you’re responsible in some way, but you took my hair and that’s not cool, man.”

After getting enough laughs to make host Conan O’Brien jealous, Garcia -- clearly mindful of the Let Bob Newhart Live countdown -- then had enough time to attend to the only legitimate reason for receiving an award: telling your wife she looks beautiful on national television.

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He also thanked his mom, his dad, his sister and his sons.

Then he was gone, leaving a legacy one can only hope every Emmy, Golden Globe and Oscar winner will strive to emulate.


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