Emmy winner (yeah, we said it!) Jon Hamm looks back on Don Draper, years of losses

After seven previous losses, Jon Hamm gets to take home a lead actor Emmy for "Mad Men."

After seven previous losses, Jon Hamm gets to take home a lead actor Emmy for “Mad Men.”

(Paul Buck / EPA)

The 67th Emmy Awards culminated in a long-awaited win for “Mad Men” star Jon Hamm, and the merit wasn’t lost on him when he faced reporters backstage with the golden statue in hand.

“I was very surprised honestly and I really don’t remember anything that I said [onstage]. It was a very odd experience because after I made my hilarious joke, I realized that people were clapping for me and I was mortified. So it’s been so nice honestly, all of it. After many years of being here and this is sort of the culmination of that wonderful feeling.”

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It’s been a roller coaster of a year, how are you feeling?


This character is so beloved, what have the fans said to you over this time and in the home stretch?

It’s been incredible. People want to talk about the show a lot to me and they wanna talk about Don to me and they want to talk about Peggy and everyone and I always enjoy it ... unless I’m late somewhere. But I always enjoy it because it’s the most obvious expression of being invested in something that you want to know more about. Our show is concurrent with the rise of TV blog culture and recaps. It’s been an amazing thing to watch people put as much time into appreciating the show and for me to be part of that appreciation is wonderful. Again, I go back to turning around onstage and seeing all those people -- I was surprised, it was lovely.

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It’s trendy to say it’s the nomination that’s the honor but can you tell us how badly you did want it and how it felt the years it came up short?

That’s end of the argument right there. There are so many incredible people and incredible work that has been recognized over my own and I can’t hold a grudge at all. You go back and look back at who’s won, Bryan [Cranston’s] done incredible work on [“Breaking Bad”], Jeff Daniels, Kyle Chandler and Damian Lewis. It’s not like they gave it to some guy off the street. That’s not anything against “Billy on the Street” by the way, who’s wonderful. There’s no animosity here or anything like that.


My experience at this every year is that you’re in or you’re out. Again, I have nothing to compare it to. I’m so glad to be here. Look at all the people I’m sitting next to, look at all the people I’m in a list with. You gotta be kidding me. Those are people I would watch even if I wasn’t an actor. Tina Fey gave me an award tonight. She also gave me a job and gave me another job; there are people I tremendously respect and I’m happy to be around.

What will you miss most about being Don Draper?

Playing a character for that long is a blessing and a curse I guess in many ways. It’s a wonderful, wonderful job. It’s wonderful to have work, it’s wonderful to go to work every day. And when you look at the people I got to work with day in day out, it’s a dream job.

But it doesn’t come without a cost. It’s a lot of mental and emotional baggage that gets torn through and really weighs upon you after a while. And look, I’ve always said this: It’s not like I’m a lead miner. I’m not acting like this is the hardest job in the world because in many ways it’s not. But that doesn’t just discount the fact that just anyone can do it either. I’ve put a lot of my own hard work into this and my own effort and my own sweat, blood and tears and all that good stuff. And it’s really nice to have it be recognized as much as it has been and as much as it was tonight.

Follow me on Twitter @NardineSaad.


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