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Kenan Thompson poked fun at a number of timely topics, from Netflix’s stock issues to Hollywood diversity to the controversial 2022 Oscars telecast, during his monologue as host of the 2022 Primetime Emmys on Monday.
He joked that he’s from Saturday Night Live, but some viewers might know him from his self-titled NBC sitcom before joking: “Just not enough of you to keep us from getting canceled.”
Thompson later said about some key nominees, “Stranger Things was hard to watch because it’s so scary, Squid Game was hard to watch because it’s so violent, and Yellowjackets was hard to watch because it’s on Showtime.”
He said that Squid Game was about people struggling to make money. “Joining the cast next season: Netflix,” he joked, referencing the streamer’s stock downturn. He later praised Abbott Elementary’s team for donating its Emmys marketing budget to public school teachers and added, “It’s about helping those in need — that’s why all of my salary from tonight’s show is going straight to Netflix. That’s two, Netflix! They ain’t never going to give me a comedy special, but that’s OK.”
The host said about one of the night’s frontrunners, “Succession is the only show that’s got three brothers and also no brothers.”
Thompson noted Regina Hall, who hosted this year’s Oscars ceremony, was in the audience. “Surprised she’s at another award show — Girl, you brave,” he joked, in what appeared to be a reference to Will Smith slapping Chris Rock at the 2022 Academy Awards.
Earlier, Thompson opened the show by joking about the importance of TV: “From Netflix and chill, to Paramount+ and eating dinner alone.”
He then was joined by dancers for a medley of popular television theme songs. This involved dancing on a red couch to the Friends theme, which led him to allude to the lack of diversity on the NBC sitcom by quipping, “Y’all ever seen Living Single? I really think you’d like it.”
Also included were the themes to Brady Bunch and Law & Order, the latter leading Thompson to comment, “Put a little Ice-T in your lemonade.” Later, viewers heard the title music from Stranger Things and House of the Dragon, with Thompson donning a blond wig in reference to the Game of Thrones prequel.
Another segment later in the show again referenced the 2022 Academy Awards when Bowen Yang told the crowd that he was a backup host for Thompson in case something goes wrong. After Thompson asked what could go wrong, his SNL co-star replied, “Did you see the Oscars?”
The bit included Yang going on to warn Thompson, “You could straight up disappear like a show on HBO Max.”
Broadcasting from Los Angeles’ Microsoft Theater, the 2022 Emmys airs live coast to coast from 8-11 p.m. ET/5-8 p.m. PT on NBC and is streaming on Peacock. Click here for the complete winners list, and click here for photos of the red carpet arrivals.
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