Emmys 2021: Cussing, Tributes & More Buzzy Moments From TV’s Biggest Night

Emmys 2021 Brett Goldstein
Cliff Lipson/CBS

The 2021 Emmys returned mostly in person for the first time in two years as the ceremony adjusted to the ever-evolving pandemic awards show format.

As in years prior, the live event made way for plenty of bizarre onstage moments as well as thrilling wins for fan-favorite shows. Memorable moments made up the evening’s high and low points, and the entertainment never ceased.

Kicking things off for the night with host Cedric the Entertainer, the evening created an opportunity for an abundance of surprises. Below, we’re rounding up a few of them ranging from colorful speeches to moving tributes. And let us know what you thought of the night’s buzzy moments in the comments section.

Cedric’s Star-Studded Musical Number

Cedric the Entertainer kicked off the evening with the help of some of TV’s biggest stars in a musical number that was full of joy. Among some of featuring talent were Billy Porter, Mandy Moore, and Rita Wilson.

Brett Goldstein’s Colorful Speech

Ted Lasso star Brett Goldstein channeled his inner Roy Kent and broke the “rules” by letting a stream of profanities loose on stage. Of course, censors were quick to cover the purposeful slip-up. much to most viewers’ disappointment.

Julianne Nicholson Surprises

Many WandaVision fans believed that Kathryn Hahn would be accepting award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or TV Movie, but it was Mare of Easttown‘s Julianne Nicholson who came out on top.

The Neighborhood Cast Has a Fashion Moment

Host Cedric the Entertainer’s Neighborhood costars Tichina Arnold and Beth Behrs got involved with the ceremony by channeling their inner Met Ball looks in a funny bit between presentations.

John Oliver Thanks Conan During Acceptance

One comedy legend pays tribute to another after Last Week Tonight with John Oliver won for Outstanding Variety Talk Series. The shoutout comes after Conan O’Brien’s late-night show wrapped its run earlier this season.

Ken Jeong Gets Stuck Outside

In an example of the show’s strict COVID-19 safety protocols, Ken Jeong got stuck outside during a presentation bit that was very fitting for its category of Outstanding Variety Sketch Series.

SNL Cast Pays Tribute to Norm Macdonald

Upon accepting their win for Outstanding Sketch Variety Series, the cast and creatives of Saturday Night Live remembered the late Norm Macdonald, who died just days ago.

Schitt’s Creek Stars Return

Eugene Levy, Daniel Levy, Catherine O’Hara, and Annie Murphy finally got their moment in the spotlight after last year’s virtual ceremony sweep. Together they presented awards for writing and directing of comedy series.

A Hacks Wedding Reveal

Upon learning of her win for Outstanding Director of a Comedy Series, Lucia Aniello revealed that she and her co-creator Paul W. Downs recently tied the knot.

Emmys Support Group

Jason Alexander, Zooey Deschanel, and Scott Bakula among others took part in an Emmy support group bit as they lamented their lack of wins or recognition. The conversation even included a callout for TV Guide magazine.

Jean Smart Thanks Her Late Husband


In an emotional acceptance, Jean Smart thanked her late husband while being recognized for her Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series performance in Hacks.

Conan Gets the Crowd Buzzing

Several times during the evening, Conan O’Brien stole the spotlight by crashing other peoples’ acceptance speeches, and shouting enough to get the crowd buzzing and up on their feet.

Debbie Allen Stops the Clock

As the recipient of the Governors Award, Debbie Allen was given an exceptional welcome by Michael Douglas, Ava DuVernay, Ellen Pompeo, and more. During her acceptance speech, Allen elicited laughs when she told the producers to stop playing her exit music.

Reservation Dogs Moment in the Spotlight

The cast and creator of FX’s new hit Reservation Dogs made their Emmys debut by presenting and commenting on the importance of indigenous representation on TV and in film to which they received applause.

Michaela Coel Gets Support From Cynthia Erivo

After winning for Outstanding Writing for a Limited Series, Michaela Coel was

Cedric Gets Cornered by His TV Wives

The host was cornered by his current and former TV wives in a funny behind-the-scenes moment.

Olivia Colman Cries

After winning Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series for her role as Queen Elizabeth II in The Crown, Olivia Colman got teary-eyed during her acceptance speech as she talked about her late father.

Let us know what buzzy moments you enjoyed the most in the comments, below.