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The 71st Emmys open with the excellent news that Bob Newhart is still alive

Photo: Kevin Winter (Getty Images)

The 71st Emmys kicked off with enough scripted chaos to jokingly call their choice to go hostless into question. Homer Simpson attempted to get the festivities started with a spirited monologue that was sure to be riddled with mispronunciations and muddled cultural references when he falls victim to a randomly dropping piano. (It’s a wonderful night to appreciate the classics, folks!) No worries: Anthony Anderson is more than ready to take the initiative and save the night, immediately leaping into action as he searches for someone else (read: not him) to open the show. Once he successfully pockets a few statuettes for the road, he makes the excellent call to have Bryan Cranston “step in.”

After delivering a monologue about just how damn good TV currently is, Ben Stiller took the stage to present the award for Outstanding Supporting Actor In A Comedy Series. Stiller has prepared a lovely presentation about the power of comedy, complete with statues of some of comedy’s greatest legends: George Burns, Lucille Ball, and Bob Newhart. The only problem is, Bob Newhart is still very much alive. Newhart—who is actually on stage on not the wax figure that Stiller mistakes him as—is alive as hell and not here for any of Stiller’s shit, even after he tries to sooth the sting by calling him a legend.  “This legend is gonna kick your ass,” Newhart threatens. That way you’ll know I’m alive.” They eventually go on to announce Tony Shalhoub as the winner, but not before Newhart informs Stiller that he hated his performance in Tropic Thunder. A bit fit for a true legend.

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