Emmy Night According to Mike…

From Mike’s forum on Discovery:

Q: We caught the news that you didn’t pick up an Emmy for Dirty Jobs this go around. We were all rooting for you. I understand that Dirty Jobs should be recognized by those that measure such things as a ground breaking renovation in television media. Not only the show, but the entire package should be considered. Of course, that’s not up to me is it? The Emmy’s aren’t the people’s choice are they? Any who, after you get home and strip of the cummerbund and tie, what award would you like to see Dirty Jobs receive?

Thanks for the show, Sharon — Dust Maker

Hi there, DustMaker

Have I really never answered any of your questions before? Sorry about that – nothing personal. I will make up for it now. Re: The Emmys, here’s my problem – If I write about them with enthusiasm I’ll appear no different from any other “host” who craves the approval of his peers and yearns to celebrate his good fortune in front of a room full of people that wish they were in his position and resent the fact that they are not. If I write with contempt, I’m a righteous snob who sees himself as “too good” for such choreographed displays of self-congratulatory pap, but attends anyway. And if I split the difference, I’ll seem political or apathetic – the enduring hallmarks of a sore loser. What’s a fake host to do? Well, since I was nominated in the “reality” category, I suppose I should just keep it real.

I was very pleased and sincerely happy to see Dirty Jobs recognized. Happy for the crew, the production company, the network, the fans, and most of all, the 200 plus genuine “hosts” that have provided Dirty Jobs with a set and a cast these last four years. Everyone knows I’d like more people to watch the show, so any recognition is a good thing, and I’ll take whatever I can get. For that, I’d like to thank the Academy…

Regarding some earlier questions on this topic:

Was I personally surprised by the nomination?


Did I expect to win?


Was I disappointed or surprised by the outcome?


Was I “honored” to be mentioned with the other shows in this category?


Do I think Emmy Awards have anything at all to do with the quality, relevance, importance, or popularity of a show?


Not even a little?


Would I have preferred to win anyway?


Regarding the event itself, I can tell you this. It lasted five hours. And friends, five hours is too long to sit in one place.

It’s too long for a play.

It’s too long for a film.

It’s too long for an opera.

And its way too long to sit in the giant Nokia Theater, waiting to hear your name mispronounced by one of your peers. These days, the only thing I’m still happy to sit through for five hours is a cross-country flight. I’m still amazed at the efficiency of air travel, and count my time buckled in low and tight across the hips as well worth the necessary captivity. However, I know going in exactly how long a cross-country flight is supposed take. And barring any unforeseen problems, I know that after a movie, a nap, a bottle of wine, and several chapters of something worthwhile, I’ll arrive in another time zone several months faster than my great grandfather could have ever imagined.

The Emmy Awards however, offer no such certainty. There is no flight plan. You simply sit there; an unpaid extra in an elaborate production that may or may not require your actual participation. Unlike a mere attendee, you are powerless, because though you have been nominated, you have not been told exactly when your category will be announced. In fact, you are given no information whatsoever as to the approximate time your presence might be suddenly required on stage.

Consequently, you are afraid to get up and stretch your legs, or God forbid, use the bathroom. You are “on call,” and can only sit there in there in stunned amazement as a gaggle of nominees make their way on stage to individually accept the Emmy for “Outstanding Innovation and Achievement in Advanced Media Technology for the Best Use of Personal Media Display and Presentation Technology.” (Really.)

During that first hour, it’s really not so bad. Kind of festive really, with a pleasant anticipation in the air. You let your mind wander, and consider your remarks, should you actually win. You vow to keep it light and pithy. You rehearse it in your head. Then, you think about the two pints of beer you drank in the lobby, and wish you’d used the toilet before sitting down.

One hour stretches to two. The categories become more esoteric. The speeches, more incomprehensible. The cruel combination of not knowing when the event will conclude and not being able to get up and pee leads you to ponder absurd scenarios. (Are you on some kind of hidden camera show, where the cameras aren’t even hidden? Is the whole thing an elaborate joke, perpetrated by Barsky and friends? Are you being punked? At what point will you just give up and pee your pants?) The phenomenon is not dissimilar to being caught in a traffic jam with no foreseeable resolution. You feel a whisper of claustrophobia and desperation.

Two and a half hours into the ceremony, you realize you are not alone. Hundreds of actual celebrities are checking their watches in quiet disbelief. These are people unaccustomed to waiting, and you can see a restlessness rippling through their ranks. Oddly, their misery brings you no comfort. You start to notice that each time a winner is announced, the losers surreptitiously make for the nearest exit, repairing no doubt to the lobby to slander the victor and drown their sorrows. You watch them leave with naked envy, as your former anticipation turns to resentment. You want out, but you can’t move. Your category might be next. And who knows, maybe you’ll win?

By the third hour, a palpable heaviness falls over the entire proceeding. You feel it in the air. The applause is now forced and half-hearted. Across the aisle, James Gandolfini is snoring. You no longer care who wins and feel foolish for the brief time you did. You don’t care about anything but getting some food and finding a toilet, and not in that order. Interestingly, you’re also drowsy, but have to pee so badly you dare not nod off. Tedium and discomfort vie for dominance, as you scribble nonsense on the back of your worthless program, trying in vain to think about something that isn’t your distended bladder, and wondering how many others are close to soiling their tuxedos.

By the forth hour, you are lapsing in and out of a fugue state. It’s impossible to concentrate on anything. Glancing down, you see that your doodling includes some legible words, which just happen to be the Kubler-Ross Five Stages of Grief, somehow channeled from a long forgotten psych class. You nearly laugh to realize that you have experienced all five in as many hours. Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and finally, Acceptance. You have come to terms with the reality that you are not only helpless, but maybe in danger. You think of blood clots and pulmonary embolisms, and all the other infirmaries that come from sitting still for hours on end with no hope of future locomotion. Your left foot is asleep, and you ponder the vagaries of restless leg syndrome. On stage, more shtick is unfolding. The Dog Whisperer is speaking to Lassie in a language neither English nor canine, as evidenced by the confusion of the poor collie and everyone else in the room.

(I just realized I’ve been writing in the second person. Forgive me. That happens sometimes when I’m not ready to discuss something in detail. I’ll wrap it up now.)

My category – “Best Reality Show” – was the second to the last. I couldn’t tell you the last category, because I wasn’t there for it. Kathy Griffin was sitting right in front of me, and when I heard her name announced, I leapt to my feet with her, and bolted toward the lobby as she and her retinue sprinted toward the stage. Reaching the exit, I heard several F bombs explode behind me, as Ms. Griffin accepted her statue with typical class and restraint. (I’m not criticizing. Her profanities were certainly less offensive than my exploding bladder would have been, had I run for The Emmy instead of The Toilet.) As it was, I arrived at my own porcelain prize with less than one second to spare, and expressed my gratitude there with a sincerity and passion that I believe many in The Academy would have applauded, had my sentiments not so egregiously exceeded the allotted time. Maybe next year.


6 thoughts on “Emmy Night According to Mike…

  1. Aren’t there supposed to be programs handed out as you are ushered to your seat? Are they trying to save money by not hiring fill ins keep the audience looking full when you wander before your alloted slot and bolt after it?

  2. Personally I feel whether or not you “care” or feel its important or not to be recognized by your peers, your show is fantastic and has an important message that needs to get out there and you do an excellent job getting that message out, and making it funny and entertaining yet without making anything into a “joke”. I fully believe you deserve that recondition not just for DJ but for all the other great things you are supporting and talking about, and accomplished. you are an asset to this country whether you feel that way or want to hear that or not. you and what your doing is extremely important and I feel needs to be reconsidered and rewarded in some way. I am always a little upset when I see your not nominated or you are and you lose to someone that really doesn’t DO anything that is important. Your message and YOU are important to the country right now, so hopefully they will pull their heads out of their asses and give you the recondition you deserve, because it is deserved. I realize that’s not why your doing it but your a great man and work really hard to get what you feel needs to be out there out there, but that’s just my opinion. You probably wont see this anyway, but keep it up Rowe the country needs you….


  3. I just read this post for the first time and I kid you not, I am in tears from laughing so hard! I have not laughed this much from something I have read in a very long time. I had to walk away before reading the “fourth hour” to regain composure and even then, I barely got through it. Thank you Mike for one of the best laughs I’ve had in a long time. I really wish you would have won though, exploding bladder or not.

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