Emmys 2019: The best moments you didn’t see on TV

Jodie Comer and Sandra Oh
Jodie Comer, left, revealed backstage what she told her “Killing Eve” costar Sandra Oh before accepting the Emmy for lead actress in a drama series.
(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

The 2019 Emmys broadcast saw plenty of memorable moments, from jaw-dropping upsets to historic wins. But some of the most memorable Emmys moments this year occurred off-screen — backstage, in the Microsoft Theater lobby and on the purple carpet.

From “Queer Eye’s” run-in with Lin-Manuel Miranda to Milo Ventimiglia’s adorable parents, here’s what you didn’t see on TV.

Ventimiglia’s parents stole the carpet

The “This Is Us” star reached a new level of dreamboat status by (swoon!) bringing his parents as his dates. With one arm around his mother, Ventimiglia even opened his folks up for questions on the purple carpet.

“It’s almost overwhelming — and exciting and fun,” the star’s mother said of her Emmys experience. His father, on the other hand, was already feeling some pre-show fatigue.


“We walked to one end of the carpet, and then we walked all the way back ... and then my dad said, ‘We have to talk to everybody?’” Ventimiglia said. “I go, ‘We talk to everybody!’ ”

RuPaul shut down a reporter

After “RuPaul’s Drag Race” won the Emmy for reality competition program, its host carried his golden statue backstage to field questions from the press. One reporter called out the show, often lauded for being diverse and inclusive, for having a predominately white production team.

But RuPaul was having none of it.

“The host of our show is black, gay and a drag queen, so check, check and check,” he said. “We’re pretty diverse. There are lots of different types of people here.”

What Jodie Comer told costar Sandra Oh

Still in shock from her stunning upset of a win for actress in a drama, Comer revealed backstage what she said to her “Killing Eve” costar and fellow nominee (and expected front-runner) Sandra Oh on her way to accept the award.

“I told Sandra that I loved her,” the Brit behind sociopathic assassin Villanelle said. “It’s so wonderful that we’re in this position, that we’re in a show with two female leads, and people often pit us against each other as a rivalry, and I think it’s a blessing.”

“Killing Eve” star had some stellar facial expressions after she learned she won a Primetime Emmy. Here’s The Times’ chronicle of them.

“Succession” fan photo ops

In the lobby of the Microsoft Theater, fans were lining up to take photos with Nicholas Braun, who plays eager-to-please cousin Greg on HBO’s Emmy-nominated “Succession.”

“I don’t understand this; I can’t really believe it,” Braun said after another round of photos. “Every single person who stops me, I’m like, ‘Are you sure? We’re at the Emmys and there’s better people here.’ ”

This year’s ceremony marked the first time Braun has attended. He admitted he found the red carpet overwhelming.

“You’re, like, running into people you revere on a purple carpet,” Braun said. “It’s pretty exciting.”

Jason Bateman responded to Jimmy Kimmel’s on-stage roast

Before presenting the nominees for actress in a comedy series (which went, in yet another showstopping upset, to “Fleabag’s” Phoebe Waller-Bridge), late-night stars Kimmel and Stephen Colbert made fun of the ceremony’s lack of a host — a gig they would have gladly accepted.

“Without a host, who would sit behind a desk and pretend to be interested in Jason Bateman’s vacation story?” Kimmel quipped as the audience camera cut to a crestfallen Bateman.

After winning the Emmy for directing for a drama series for “Ozark,” Bateman responded to Kimmel’s dig backstage.

“Jimmy’s on nine out of 10 of those trips that we take with our families, so I don’t know what he’s talking about,” the actor joked. “He’s the one who loves the dolphins, loves a good dolphin. ... Jimmy had to run that by me, that’s our deal. If he’s gonna hurt my feelings, he has to run it by me first.”

Catherine O’Hara praised the presenters

Even TV’s biggest stars (they’re just like us!) need snacks. While waiting in the lobby’s concessions line, “Schitt’s Creek” star O’Hara — clad in a black-and-white number that could rival fashionista Moira Rose — lauded the many presenters serving as stand-in emcees for the host-less show.

“They have great people presenting,” she said. “How about Bob Newhart? Oh, my God, I love that man. Impeccable timing. Just the best — so funny.”

Newhart’s top-of-show moment with Ben Stiller drew many laughs from the crowd, as did another of O’Hara’s favorite moments: Maya Rudolph and Ike Barinholtz purposefully botching the name of every nominee for actor in a comedy series — except, randomly, Ted Danson. They eventually dropped the act to welcome winner Bill Hader to the stage.

“Hilarious,” O’Hara said of their onstage banter. “It was an excellent bit.”

Though O’Hara congratulated all the winners up to that point, she was particularly happy for double nominee and supporting actress in a limited series winner Patricia Arquette.

“I love her,” O’Hara said. “I’m sure she’ll win in another category too. She is so good.”

More lobby love for Arquette from costar Joey King

Also reeling from Arquette’s win was her “The Act” costar and first-time Emmy nominee Joey King, who stepped out to chat with friends just before the final award of the night was announced.

“I got so emotional when Patricia won,” she said. “I’m so thankful that I got to share that experience with her every day of filming ‘The Act.’”

Though she didn’t take home the Emmy for actress in a limited series (that statue went to “Fosse/Verdon’s” Michelle Williams), King considered her first Emmys experience as a nominee a major success.

“I’m so excited that I got to sit with all these incredible people and breathe the same air as my favorite actors and actresses,” she said.

When “Queer Eye” met “Hamilton”

The hosts of “Queer Eye” did not throw away their shot to greet “Hamilton” creator Lin-Manuel Miranda on the carpet. Miranda, attending as an executive producer for quadruple winner “Fosse/Verdon,” snuck up on Tan France, Antoni Porowski and Bobby Berk during their interview with The Times — much to the Netflix stars’ pleasant surprise.

The talent exchanged smiles, hugs and complaints about the unseasonably hot weather (“We’re still sweating,” Porowski said) before Miranda continued down the carpet line.

A “Drag Race” wardrobe malfunction

“RuPaul’s Drag Race” star Nina West is used to things not going right under pressure. Let’s not forget the “No Scrubs” lip sync from Season 11. So when someone stepped on her train, slightly ripping the seam near her waist, she had someone in her squad mend it while posing for photos in the lobby of the Microsoft Theater.

“You can’t let a ripped seam keep you down,” West joked.

The VH1 series nabbed 14 Emmy nominations this year. It won four, including reality competition program. The recognition and honor the LGBTQ community has received at this year’s Emmys, West said, is a “tremendous” moment.

“What’s happening is these producers, writers, directors, networks ... whether or not they know it, they’re saving kids’ lives,” West said, giving a nod to FX’s “Pose.” “When I was a kid, the stories that I saw were that all gay men will die of AIDS, all gay men will die alone. Now here we are, all these years later, and the LGBTQ community is seeing positive stories about our lives. And that we’re all beautiful and different and incredible.”

From a dominant night for Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s “Fleabag” to historic wins by Billy Porter and Jharrel Jerome, daring television prevailed at the 2019 Emmys.

“Chernobyl’s” creator clarified his “Game of Thrones” beef

Fresh off his win for outstanding writing for a limited series for “Chernobyl,” screenwriter Craig Mazin was backstage talking about a very different HBO series. Mazin, who had been asked to consult on the original “Game of Thrones” pilot, was asked about the rumor that he initially declared the script a “piece of ...”

“I didn’t say ’piece of ...’ What I said was they had a massive problem. And they did. And they fixed it,” Mazin said. “One of the most amazing moments of my life ... [was] seeing my friends [David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, “GoT” showrunners] make something that I thought was irreparably damaged and then maybe eight, nine months later going to see the new first episode of ‘Game of Thrones,’ and I was flabbergasted.

“It wasn’t just that something had gone from troubled to OK,” he added. “It really went from troubled to mind-blowingly good. It’s the most remarkable turnaround I think in Hollywood history, and it became rightly so a legend.”

Laverne Cox fangirled over John Oliver

Though “Orange Is the New Black” star Laverne Cox usually walks the Emmys carpet as a star, on Sunday she turned into a fan when she glimpsed “Last Week Tonight” host John Oliver. The actress interrupted Oliver mid-interview to express her admiration.

“I watch your show every week,” she blurted, prompting a chuckle and a thank-you from Oliver.

The transgender activist carried a rainbow sequin clutch advocating for the LGBTQ-inclusive Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which makes discrimination “based on sex” illegal.

“One of the arguments that folks who want to legalize discrimination are using is that it should be OK to discriminate against people using sex stereotypes. Like, if you’re not woman enough, based on your employer’s definition, or man enough, we should be able to fire you from your job,” she said. “And that is extremely taking us back in history.”

Times staff writers Ashley Lee and Sonaiya Kelley contributed to this report.