As someone who has worked as a writer on an award show or two hundred, and as a man who's semi-frequently Red Carpet-adjacent sweating profusely in a tuxedo, I have heard and personally mouthed the phrase "It's an honor just to be nominated" more times than I can count. In fact, I'm quite certain I've written more than my fair share of questionable award show jokes attempting to slyly mock those now very familiar words. Yet when I woke up to find myself Emmy nominated this year in the Outstanding Writing For A Variety Special category for The Beatles: The Night That Changed America -- a Grammy Salute on CBS, I felt the full meaning of those words in an unironic and entirely Fab way.
This is not my first time enjoying the sights and sounds of the Emmy experience. I have written for the Emmy show many times, and I was first nominated for an Emmy Award in 2002 as the Head Writer for America: A Tribute To Heroes, the all-network telethon that immediately followed the tragic events of 9/11. That experience was so unique and emotionally overwhelming -- and I was back then so totally new to the world of writing for television -- that, in retrospect, I felt less far less honored than simply freaked out. That said, I did learn a lot of useful lessons my first Emmy night -- including the fact that when they read your name as a nominee and the camera operator points a lens right in your face, that does not mean you have won -- it simply means that by the law of averages, you are about to not win on camera on national TV. So go ahead and smile for Mom and Dad anyway.
Just between us, I confess there has been a time or two since then when I thought I might get another Emmy nomination. So there have been mornings when I rose before the sun in order to watch TV and waited tensely to see my name among the nominees -- only to catch an early breakfast of cold cereal served with even colder self-pity. So this year on the morning of the Emmy nominations, I very intentionally slept in and did not even discuss the fact that nominations were coming with my wife Fran.
This explains why I discovered the news that I had been nominated from one of my followers on Twitter. Even then, I didn't choose to believe this news was true or even check for my name online until I spotted an incoming congratulatory email from Juliane Hare from Don Mischer Productions who are producing this year's telecast -- one I am sure will be wonderful and brilliantly hosted by Seth Meyers.
So on August 25th, when they read my name alongside my friend and our Executive Producer Ken Ehrlich -- and also alongside such excellent nominees as Billy Crystal, Sarah Silverman, and the writers for The Tony Awards and The Golden Globes, a group that includes friends and treasured colleagues -- I will smile and this time I will mean it. Knowing the math -- and trust me, folks, this is the absolute only math I know -- I understand the odds are that I will likely not be giving an acceptence speech that night. Chances are I will not get to thank the Television Academy, the Recording Academy, my beautiful wife and kids, my lover brother or sister, my Mom who's still here, or my Dad who we lost in between Emmy nominations. And I probably won't get to thank John, Paul, George or Ringo, or the lovely, late great Linda McCartney who was the very first person to ever tell me to marry wife.
Still, to quote a Beatles song that I loved my whole life, "I Feel Fine." That's because for all I have won and all I have lost here in the 21st Century, I have at least along the way gained some small measure of wisdom and just enough humility to finally understand what a true honor it is just to be nominated and acknowledged in any way by your peers. So as John Lennon once said on a rooftop, "I'd like to say thank you on behalf of the group and ourselves and I hope we've passed the audition."
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