LOS ANGELES – Not all the drama was televised during the Emmy Awards Monday night.
At 26, Zendaya made history as the youngest two-time acting winner after nabbing another best actress Emmy for “Euphoria,” while Michael Keaton forgave his doubters during his acceptance speech after winning his Emmy for “Dopesick.”
But much of the action took place during off-camera moments at the Microsoft Theater as Hollywood’s biggest stars wined, dined and schmoozed on tables surrounding the Emmy stages, surrounded by window panels of the Los Angeles skyline below a twinkling ceiling of white lights.
Here’s what you didn’t see during the broadcast.
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Emmy producer warns off any Will Smith stage offenders
There wasn’t going to be an Emmy stage incident Monday night.
Nearly six months since Will Smith’s Oscar stage attack on Chris Rock, Emmy producer, writer and comedian Chris Spencer vowed dire consequences to any potential stage offenders during the pre-show audience warm-up session.
“If any of you come onto this stage, just know that you will get your (butt) kicked,” Spencer said, joking that the audience was filled with MMA fighters ready to enforce the law. “Just know if there’s a will, there’s a way. And that way is going to be a trophy aside your head.”
Spencer also laid down the law on 45-second award acceptance speeches, saying that the song “Hit the Road Jack” would play if long-winded winners ignored the first polite warning music.
“If you go over 45 seconds, you are going to be interrupted by this song,” he said.
Bad dancers in the audience were asked not to shake it during the musical opening number.
“If you can’t dance, sit your (butt) down,” Spencer said. “The camera needs to capture people who can dance.”
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Selena Gomez, Steve Martin and Martin Short killed it in the building
Watching the “Only Murders in the Building” crew during the Emmys was like watching an episode of the Hulu series. Selena Gomez arrived late to the show, zipping into her empty seat at the “Murders” table with apologies during the first commercial break. Her nominated co-stars Martin Short and Steve Martin immediately jumped to attention with big smiles and hugs, and the trio began posing for pictures. Then the crew chatted and laughed through the show as fellow actors, such as “Succession” star Brian Cox, paid visits.
They smiled even as the butt of jokes from the stage, and through losing out on their Emmy. Both Martin and Short stood up to applaud and shake hands with the passing Jason Sudeikis, as the “Ted Lasso” star took the award for best actor in a comedy. Later, Short gallantly jumped from his seat to escort Jean Smart up the stage steps to accept her “Hacks” Emmy.
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That beautiful stage bar was fake
The bartender skit with Kumail Nanjiani might not have worked during the show. But there was no denying that the multi-level, fully lit stage bar was impressive. The bar was, however, a stage prop.
A sign warned potential customers before the show, “Sorry folks, this is not a real bar.” Spencer also warned, “This bar is not real, do not touch this.”
Not to worry: The stars had plenty of real bars in the venue and bottles of wine on the table.
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Henry Winkler photo-bombs Zendaya, Lizzo
Superstar Zendaya became an even hotter celestial being with her Emmy win. After the “Euphoria” star made a low-key return to her table, Lizzo decided to make a congratulatory visit during the commercial break, clutching her own Emmy for “Lizzo’s Watch Out For The Big Grrrls.”
As the two new Emmy-winners hugged and posed for pictures, a giggling “Barry” star Henry Winkler popped up behind them and pulled off a double-photo bomb – not only appearing in the duo’s pictures, but filming himself in the act with his own phone.
Zendaya caught on and laughingly chided Winkler, who returned to his table still cracking up at his own gag. Lizzo made her way back to her own seat, requiring two friends to carry her long gown train through the crowd of tables.
During the same short break, Andrew Garfield ventured over for Zendaya greetings, staying to talk until the stage announcer warned that the telecast was seconds away. Garfield broke away, and sauntered across the stage to his own seat just in time.
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Michael Keaton hears the after-party band
Keaton wowed on stage during his “Dopesick” acceptance speech, then rocked out at the Governor’s Gala that followed the awards next door. Keaton kept his head down as he pulled his date through the crowd to the bar for drinks – and then back to a table – as if on a mission to celebrate. As the live band played, Keaton got the fever. He sprinted up to the stage beaming and high-fived each of the four singers midsong to congratulate them for their vocal performances.
But the after-party’s biggest stars were the “Ted Lasso” crew, who stayed together en masse long after the crowd thinned out. Emmy winners Brett Goldstein and Sudeikis celebrated with the crew and fellow stars such as Hannah Waddingham. With four big wins, including best comedy, there was a virtual herd of “Ted Lasso” Emmys placed on the table. Appreciative fans posed for pictures with the stars, even holding the Emmy trophies, before the raucous crew finally headed for the exits.