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“Fleabag says thanks.”
Fleabag took home the Emmy for best comedy series on Sunday, upsetting Emmy darling Veep and 2018 winner The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel for the night’s coveted comedy award.
“Well, this is just getting ridiculous!” proclaimed an excited Phoebe Waller-Bridge when she took the stage for the third time on the night to accept the surprise nod. She previously picked up the comedy trophies for best actress and best writing — marking a trio of first-ever Emmy wins for the star-creator. “Fleabag started as a one-woman show at a festival in 2014 and the journey has been absolutely mental. To get here, I just want to say a huge ‘thank you’ to everyone who has been involved.”
Waller-Bridge, who created and stars on the BBC and Amazon Prime comedy, said the TV adaptation began with “two jokes over a pint.” Explaining that the trophy is also wrapped up in the first season, Waller-Bridge credited her co-star Andrew Scott, who played the show’s “hot priest” in season two, for the series buzz.
“Season two would not have exploded in the way that it did had it not been for Andrew Scott who came into your Fleabag world like whirlwind and gave a performance of such depth and complexity that just elevated the whole thing,” she said.
It is the first win in the category for Fleabag, a razor-sharp comedy starring Waller-Bridge as the nameless protagonist known as “Fleabag.” The series universally charmed critics, and the British auteur has said season two is the end of the show (although Fleabag, among other series-ending shows, was not included in the TV Academy’s tribute to final seasons). When speaking backstage to reporters, Waller-Bridge said the wins reiterate her decision to wrap the series: “To be honest, this feels like the most beautiful way to say goodbye to it, actually. It does feel right to go out on a high. You can’t get any higher than this.”
Fleabag emerged as winner in a hotly contested category, beating out Barry (HBO), The Good Place (NBC), The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Amazon), Russian Doll (Netflix), Schitt’s Creek (Pop) and Veep (HBO).
Going into the night, critics including The Hollywood’s Reporter‘s awards editor Scott Feinberg predicted The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel — for which Amazon launched a massive awards campaign — would prevail over Veep, which wrapped with its seventh and final season earlier this year and was the favorite, having won for every year the beloved HBO comedy has been eligible. In May, the Julia Louis-Dreyfus-starrer ended with a critically praised series finale to cap off a storied run. (Amazon’s Mrs. Maisel campaign paid off when it came to charming voters for nominations; it nabbed a comedy-high of 20 nominations versus Veep’s nine.)
The TV Academy earlier in the night paid tribute to the cast of Veep, led by Louis-Dreyfus, who lost out on the best comedy actress award she has consecutively won to Waller-Bridge in a surprising twist. The actress who plays Selina Meyer was poised to set a new record for overall acting wins had she taken home the trophy.
Veep was on hiatus before returning for its final season. (The series delayed production when Louis-Dreyfus underwent treatment for breast cancer.) The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel won the category last year. Fleabag becomes the second-ever comedy series win for Amazon, following Maisel‘s nod, which marked the first-ever win for a streaming show in the category. Amazon had its best Emmys season yet with seven wins, thanks to Fleabag, Mrs. Maisel and A Very English Scandal.
Next up for Waller-Bridge, who is also the creator of the Emmy-nominated BBC drama Killing Eve (ths how’s Jodie Comer won the drama best actress trophy), is No Time to Die, where she was brought in for a script rewrite on the anticipated James Bond film; HBO’s Run, on which she executive produces and has a recurring role; and a feature she’s writing with the intent to direct.
When speaking about the personal role, Waller-Bridge told reporters backstage that though Fleabag is not autobiographical, “I feel this character did come out of me.” She added, “At the very beginning as I was writing her, I was feeling very cynical and quite bleak at the world. She’s a part of every single person here. Everyone put a part of themselves into her. It feels like it’s all of us now.”
Waller-Bridge continued, “It’s very much a character piece. It was really about about one person’s journey. It was about how hard it is for somebody who hates themselves to fall in love. We hope that’s relevant across all times.”
She also praised Louis-Dreyfus. “I studied Veep. Just being amongst those women is extraordinary,” said Waller-Bridge. “I feel like I’ve just come in the back door and nicked something, is the honest truth.”
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