Emmys: Four Inside Jokes Explained

Worst: Opening Monologue
Phil McCarten/Invision/AP

Host Andy Samberg went for the controversial headlines for his monologue's punchlines — with little success. "Seriously, between Bill Cosby, Jared Fogle and Robert Durst stealing that sandwich, not a good year for dudes who love hoagies." To awkward applause, Samberg poked fun at how Hollywood now sees itself as diverse onscreen. "Racism is over! Don't fact-check that," he said, adding that Jackie Robinson's coach probably said the same on the day of the player's first game.

Mentions of 'Grace of Monaco' and a 'Taxi' reunion with Jimmy Fallon and Queen Latifah may have left some viewers scratching their heads.

Sunday night's Emmys included lots of laughs, a few tears and moments of pride for history-making winners (or feelings of frustration for viewers rooting for the losing nominees).

But while host Andy Samberg got the crowd cracking up starting with his musical intro and monologue, Samberg and others who took the Emmys stage may have left viewers, particularly those not in the entertainment industry, scratching their heads with some inside jokes.

Read on to find out the stories behind four insider jokes from Sunday night's Emmys.

"I even saw Grace of Monaco — I watched every show!"

Before his opening monologue, Andy Samberg kicked off the Emmys with a musical sketch that put the Brooklyn Nine-Nine star in a viewing bunker to watch the year's overwhelming amount of critically-acclaimed programming. Throughout the bit — which also featured appearances by Yvette Nicole Brown, Hannah Simone, Timothy Simons, Randall Park, Jon Hamm, Bob Odenkirk, Kerry Washington, Billy Eichner and Will Forte — Samberg noted that he got all caught up on Empire, Mad Men, Scandal, Transparent, Orange Is the New Black and a slew of other nominated shows. When Nathan Fillion confronts the host about catching up on his ABC procedural Castle — a steady ratings performer, though not necessarily as trendy or critically acclaimed as some other shows — Samberg stammered. Castle, currently about to begin its eighth season, was nominated for four Emmys in 2009 and 2010, but hasn't been up for an Emmy since then.

But further, he notes that he even watched Grace of Monaco, the troubled biopic that featured Nicole Kidman as star-turned-princess Grace Kelly, was directed by Olivier Dahan and focuses on a period in the early 1960s when Monaco was involved in a standoff over taxes with France, and Grace was contemplating a return to Hollywood. After the film's release was delayed multiple times by The Weinstein Company and blasted by Grace's children as "needlessly glamorized and historically inaccurate" at the Cannes Film Festival, the once-buzzy awards contender — which was panned by critics — ended up airing on Lifetime in May.

"The original cast of Taxi is here! That's right: Queen Latifah and Jimmy Fallon."

Samberg joked a special Taxi reunion was planned, leading audience members to look around for Tony Danza, Danny DeVito, Marilu Henner, Rhea Perlman and other veteran actors who appeared on the James L. Brooks co-created ABC series, which ran from 1978-1983. But Samberg was talking about a different Taxi, as he pointed out Jimmy Fallon and Queen Latifah in their seats. "What did you think I was talking about?" the host jokingly asked. Before he transitioned to a career as a successful late-night host, Fallon acted in a few forgettable movies after leaving Saturday Night Live, one of which was Taxi, a 2004 film co-starring Latifah, which only made $68 million worldwide. The Taxi TV series was much more successful, winning 18 Emmys.

"I'm always off book — everyone who knows me knows that —except now."

Allison Janney took the Emmy stage for the second year in a row Sunday night to accept the award for best supporting actress in a comedy series for her role in Mom. During her acceptance speech, for which she consulted a piece of paper in her hands, Janney joked that she wasn't "off book" for her Emmy "thank you"s. "Off book" is a theater term meaning that the actors should have memorized their lines and no longer need to look at the script.

"We all had to buy Final Draft when the show was picked up; no one owned it."

Accepting the Emmy for outstanding variety series for Inside Amy Schumer, star and executive producer Amy Schumer made an insider-y joke about her staff being unprepared to work on a TV series, when she quipped that they "all had to buy Final Draft when the show was picked up." Final Draft is a screenwriting software application that formats your script to Hollywood's standards. Introduced in 1991, Final Draft quickly became the entertainment industry standard. The software has been endorsed by Hollywood heavyweights like Tom Hanks, James Cameron, JJ Abrams and Aaron Sorkin. Final Draft's website proclaims that it's the "No. 1 selling screenwriting software" and notes that it's used by "top studios and production companies worldwide." Final Draft 9, however, costs nearly $250 so perhaps not worth the investment unless you're going to be writing scripts regularly.