As November approaches, we’re now just a little more than two months away from the postponed Primetime Emmy Awards, currently scheduled to air January 15 on Fox. And yet, the network, Television Academy and producer Jesse Collins Entertainment have yet to name a host or hosts. At the risk of repeating myself, I will once again elevate my idea: Fox staples Ken Jeong and Joel McHale, along with their “Community” pal Yvette Nicole Brown. (Read my previous column about it here.)
And this time I have some backing: McHale himself. I recently got the most unusual pitch in my email: With the SAG-AFTRA strike ongoing, McHale can’t talk about the upcoming “Community” movie, his Fox sitcom “Animal Control,” or really, almost anything. But he can talk about Klondike ice cream bars.
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What? It was a ridiculous pitch, but I knew it would be fun to get McHale on the phone — and I had an ulterior motive. If I’m going to will my “Community” Emmy hosting dream into reality, I needed his backing.
Even if it was under the guise of talking about his ice cream journey. More on that in a moment. (Yeah, it’s a real thing. McHale is being paid to hype Klondike bars. And I assume gets shipped a bounty of free ice cream treats as part of the deal. Good on him!)
First, here’s why the McHale/Jeong/Brown triumvirate makes total sense as this year’s Emmy hosts. Like I mentioned in that earlier column, the ubiquity of both Jeong and McHale on the network makes the duo the most obvious choice. Fox once promoted its combo of “The Masked Singer” and “I Can See Your Voice” as “Kensday” in honor of Jeong, so the network is already invested in the star, while McHale’s sitcom “Animal Control” is a priority at Fox, where he also hosts “Crime Scene Kitchen.” Beyond Jeong and McHale, the only on-camera personality with more shows on Fox is Gordon Ramsay, and he’d make a fine presenter on the telecast — but an awards show host really needs comedic improv skills.
As for Brown, just this past July, she helped TV Academy CEO Frank Scherma announce this year’s Emmy nominees, so she’s already in the family. When I first suggested the idea in August, Brown reacted positively to my column, so I’ll take that as a yes.
Now I was on a Zoom with McHale. Would he be up for joining Jeong and Brown in a “Community” (“Co-Emmy-nity”? I’m still working on that) hosting reunion?
“I would. Yes, I’m in.”
“They haven’t approached us yet.”
OK, tentative success.
But I’ll still use this opportunity to remind Fox, the TV Academy and Collins that they have just a little over two months to find a host — and I have just delivered them a do-able option on a silver platter.
“I can start giving Ken notes now,” McHale quips. “Yvette is really smooth on camera. But as we know, Ken hasn’t had a lot of camera time. But I’ll train him.”
Perhaps with a Klondike bar. Speaking of which, here’s the pitch I received: “Beloved actor and comedian Joel McHale and Klondike have crowned Harlem native Jenny W. as the winner of the brand’s ‘What Would You Do’ Hometowns Contest. Joel McHale was the judge of our Hometowns contest and hand-selected the winner himself. So, we’d love to offer Variety a Zoom interview with Joel as we close out the summer. Joel is excited to share the crazy things he would do for a Klondike.”
First off, Joel, “beloved actor and comedian,” let’s slow our roll a bit. What are we doing here? “As you know, there are all these crappy things going on around the planet,” he says of signing on to support something a bit more positive. “I thought this was a fun one. And again, I eat the Klondike caramel ice cream cones like they are a prescription medication that I need to take. Would you like some Klondike bars?”
Yes, and I’m still waiting for them, Mr. Beloved Actor and Comedian! As for Fox, the TV Academy and Jesse Collins, I’m also still waiting on that Emmy hosting announcement. No, you don’t need to give me a consulting producer credit. Just some ice cream treats.
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