"I'm Blandly Agreeable and Won't Ruffle Any Feathers": 'Last Week Tonight' Nominee Pens Emmys Monologue That No One Will Hear

ONE TIME USE_Emmy Host Monologue_Illo - THR - H 2019
Illustration by: Anthony Gerace

Fox and the TV Academy couldn’t agree on an emcee, so The Hollywood Reporter asked writer Josh Gondelman for an apt opener.

Thank you, everyone. Wow. The 71st Emmy Awards. This is so exciting. I mean, for me it's exciting. And definitely for my parents. Hi Mom and Dad! Hi, Maris! Maris is my wife. You don't know that because I'm deeply not famous. You've probably forgotten my name already. I'm not offended. Just FYI: Josh Gondelman.

This is huge. I know if my grandparents could see me on this stage tonight they'd think: "Why don't they have Billy Crystal host again? He always did such a nice job." And to that I respond: "Ouch." And also: "That was the Oscars you're thinking of. And, as long as we're here, the show you like is called The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, not The Magnificent Miss Margaret or The One With That Girl Who Looks Like Your Cousin Rebecca, Don't You Think? OK, Grandma?"

It's such a thrill to be hosting the Emmys. I'm not just saying this, but it's a real honor to be here with some of the most brilliant and storied names and faces in television — and pull focus from them while people at home grow increasingly impatient, wishing they'd just show the This Is Us people already. Which, fair enough.

We are here to honor the best in television, from Escape at Dannemora to When They See Us. And I will say to you what I say to my friends who write for many of these prestigious shows: "I've been really busy lately, but I've heard great things."

And I know it's a little unusual, but I'd like to say some thank-you's right upfront. First of all, I'd like to thank my agents, whom I love, but have of course fired as part of the WGA action designed to eliminate conflicts of interest arising from agency packaging fees. Just wanted to lend my support to the Writers Guild while I'm up here. Too inside and political? Got it.

Speaking of political: Saturday Night Live has 18 nominations tonight. Every year, SNL hires some of the most innovative writers and most talented sketch comedians who get to watch from the sidelines while Alec Baldwin repeats verbatim everything Donald Trump said that week. It must be so exciting to get hired for your dream job and spend all week in a legendary studio while someone else does the work for you.

Moving on, I'd also like to thank the Television Academy for deciding last minute not to go with the concept of "no host" for tonight's ceremony. Booking me was truly a win-win situation. I'm blandly agreeable and won't ruffle any feathers, so the network wins. And I win because I'm currently so unknown that I would have to say something incredibly racist or homophobic during the broadcast for this not to help my career. But, like, seriously … not that I'm complaining, but did you even ask Lin-Manuel Miranda to host the show? I know he's busy, but he seems like if you asked him extra politely he'd cave in and do it. In an industry plagued with a lack of diversity, maybe you could have found someone who doesn't look like the first Google search result for "mediocre white guy."

Which brings me to the last group of people I'd like to thank. Thank you especially to anybody more famous than me who turned this gig down. I haven't seen the list, but I'll take a stab and say thank you to … Tiffany Haddish, Jeff Dunham, Sebastian Maniscalco, Amy Schumer, the puppet from ALF, Sean Spicer, all the teenagers on TikTok and the coffee cup from that scene in Game of Thrones. Thank you all so much. I literally wouldn't be here without you.

Before we start the awards, I want to say good luck to everyone nominated. That's such a thrilling accomplishment on its own, and you should feel great about yourselves. And to everyone at home, enjoy the show. Just like you, I can't wait for all the excitement of hearing the names of several Netflix shows for the first time as their castmembers receive acting awards. For example, did you know that Frances McDormand played Marie Curie in a streaming series called The Radioactive Woman this year? OK, she didn't. Or maybe she did. Who can say?

Thank you! I've been Josh Gondelman. Yes, I knew you'd forgotten again.

Josh Gondelman has won three Emmys and is nominated for 2019 as a writer of Last Week Tonight With John Oliver. He now writes for Showtime's Desus & Mero. His book, Nice Try: Stories of Best Intentions and Mixed Results, was published Sept. 17.

This story first appeared in the Sept. 18 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.