VAN NUYS—I’m on pins and needles, refreshing the deadline.com live update (sort of) from the Creative Arts Emmys show, which is taking place as I type, my dad in the audience, nominated once again for his work on Saturday Night Live. He’s up against shows like Dancing with the Stars and The Voice, which have as much in common with SNL as a snail with a tiger. Absurd, but he’s lost to one of them the last two years, so yeah, I’m nervous. He isn’t, but I am. He’s 90 years old, the demands of SNL on the technical staff are monumental, not least because they change every week under a relentlessly unforgiving schedule.
Did I mention that he’s 90? My father started working at NBC in 1951, and has worked for the company (in one capacity or another) ever since except for two years, I think, when he was retired, only to be lured back by Lorne with an offer he couldn’t refuse.
He won an Emmy in the 1960s, for a Hallmark Hall of Fame production of The Magnificent Yankee. Those shows were from the Golden Age of television, when people like my dad became the legends they are today. My father does not need another Emmy; rather, it is the Academy that needs to recognize him again.
I told him this morning, when Philip and I drove over to spend a few hours with him at the pool, that I would be very disappointed if he does not win tonight. “Not me,” he said before heading off to his room. He has a short speech memorized and ready to go, though. He told it to me; it’s short, he makes a joke about his first Emmy, thanks his lighting directors and technical crew at SNL and then out. No fat, all class. He knows this will be his one chance to thank that crew for all the years of hard work and make it count. I just hope he’s able to say it.
He lost to The Voice. As if.