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Daytime Emmys co-host Sheryl Underwood came out to announce Poehler, and said she didn’t even know about Poehler’s appearance until moments before; Poehler had been listed simply as “Presenter X.”
According to Underwood, Poehler, who significantly upped the star wattage at the ceremony, is Sheindlin’s “biggest fan” and had actually reached out to ask if she could present the award after learning that Sheindlin was going to receive the honor.
Noting that Judge Judy premiered on Sept. 16, 1996 — Sept. 16 also happens to be Poehler’s birthday — Poehler said the show has run for 23 seasons, generating more than 2,500 episodes and averaging 10 million total daily viewers, making it the No. 1 show in syndication.
“She sets clear boundaries and does not allow people to humiliate each other, and you better not lie, but if you do and admit it, she will say, ‘Good for you!'” Poehler said in introducing Sheindlin. She also noted that viewers watch “after long shifts at work, during breakups and breakdowns, while breastfeeding, while helping their kids with homework.”
“We all watch because we know that maybe just once something will turn out fair, that two people will come together and work it out in front of a woman who takes them and her job very seriously,” Poehler said. “Plus if we stop watching Judge Judy, we’ll stop seeing confusing commercials for Bayer aspirin.”
Poehler noted that Sheindlin represents “what it means to have a woman know her worth on- and off-screen,” and said she “is the Jewish mother we all want.”
Appearing onstage to accept her award, Sheindlin joked that Poehler is her “new BFF.”
She also told a story about how, on her first day of law school, a professor asked her, “Young lady, why are you taking the seat of a man who is going to use his law degree to make a living?”
Said Sheindlin onstage Sunday: “So the moral of that story is, you challenge a kid from Brooklyn at your own peril.”
She added: “Life has a beginning, a middle and an end. Most of us don’t remember the beginning; I’m having an absolute blast in the middle; and if my luck holds, I won’t be around for the end.”
Chef Jacques Pepin also received a Lifetime Achievement Award at Sunday’s show, which was held at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium.
Poehler next stars in Wine Country, set to premiere Friday on Netflix, which she also produced and directed.
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