Raunchy ‘Fleabag’ is the belle of the ball

The Morning Call - - ENTERTAINM­ENT NEWS - By Lynn El­ber

LOS AN­GE­LES — “Fleabag” leapt over for­mi­da­ble com­pe­ti­tion early in Sun­day’s Emmy Awards with three awards, in­clud­ing the best comedy ac­tress award and a writ­ing tro­phy for se­ries star and cre­ator Phoebe WallerBrid­ge.

Waller-Bridge and her dark comedy about a dys­func­tional woman, which also won a di­rect­ing award, blocked “Veep” star Julia Louis-Drey­fus from set­ting a record as the most-honored per­former in Emmy his­tory.

“Nooooo!” said a shocked-look­ing Waller-Bridge. “Oh, my God, no. Thank you. I find act­ing re­ally hard and re­ally painful. But it’s all about this,” she said, her act­ing tro­phy firmly in hand.

In ac­cept­ing the writ­ing award ear­lier, she called the recog­ni­tion proof that “a dirty, pervy, messed-up woman can make it to the Em­mys.”

Bill Hader won his sec­ond con­sec­u­tive best comedy ac­tor award for the hit­man comedy “Barry.”

The au­di­to­rium erupted in cheers when Jhar­rel Jerome of “When They See Us,” about the Cen­tral Park Five case, won the best ac­tor award for a lim­ited se­ries or movie.

“Most im­por­tant, this is for the men that we know as the Ex­on­er­ated Five,” said Jerome, nam­ing the five wrongly con­victed men who were in the au­di­ence. They stood and saluted the ac­tor as the crowd ap­plauded them.

It was the only honor for the ac­claimed Net­flix se­ries of the evening; “Ch­er­nobyl” won the best lim­ited se­ries honor.

Alex Borstein and Tony Shal­houb of “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” won best sup­port­ing act­ing awards at the cer­e­mony, which in­cluded early and var­ied mes­sages of fe­male em­pow­er­ment af­ter the host-less cer­e­mony kicked off with Homer Simp­son.

“I want to ded­i­cate this to the strength of a woman, to (se­ries cre­ator) Amy Sher­man-Pal­ladino, to every woman on the ‘Maisel’ cast and crew,” Borstein said, and to her mother and grand­mother. Her grand­mother sur­vived be­cause she was coura­geous enough to step out of a line that, Borstein in­ti­mated, would have led to her death at the hands of Nazi Germany.

“She stepped out of line. And for that, I am here and my chil­dren are here, so step out of line, ladies. Step out of line,” said Borstein, who won the award last year.

Shal­houb added to his three Em­mys, which he earned for his sig­na­ture role in “Monk.”

The awards opened with­out a host as promised, with an early ex­change pit­ting Ben Stiller against Bob Ne­whart. “I’m still alive,” Ne­whart told Stiller, who in­tro­duced him as part of a wax mu­seum comedy hall of fame that in­cluded Lu­cille Ball and other late leg­ends.

Kim Kar­dashian West and Ken­dall Jen­ner drew some mock­ing laugh­ter in the au­di­ence when they pre­sented their award af­ter Kar­dashian West said their fam­ily “knows first­hand how truly com­pelling tele­vi­sion comes from real peo­ple just be­ing them­selves.”

An an­i­mated Homer made a brief ap­pear­ance on stage un­til he was abruptly crushed, with An­der­son of “black-ish” rush­ing in to, as he vowed, res­cue the evening. He called “Break­ing Bad” star Cranston on stage to tout the power of tele­vi­sion from its be­gin­ning to the cur­rent golden age.

“Tele­vi­sion has never been big­ger. Tele­vi­sion has never mat­tered more. And tele­vi­sion has never been this damn good,” Cranston said.

The early hon­ors for “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” came on a night that could be­long to HBO’s “Game of Thrones.

HBO’s fan­tasy saga headed into the cer­e­mony with a record 32 nom­i­na­tions, col­lect­ing 10 awards at last week­end’s cre­ative arts cer­e­mony for tech­ni­cal and other achieve­ments.

If the se­ries adds three more wins on Sun­day, it will break its own record for most awards in a sea­son, 12, which it earned in 2015 and again in 2016. If it claims the top drama tro­phy, it will be its fourth and make it one of a hand­ful of se­ries to achieve that tally. It could also build on its record of the most Em­mys ever for a drama or comedy se­ries, now at 57.

“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” is de­fend­ing the top comedy award it cap­tured last year, when three-time win­ner “Veep” was on hia­tus. As with “Game of Thrones,” the po­lit­i­cal satire is en­tered for its fi­nal sea­son and could ben­e­fit from voter sen­ti­ment as well as ev­i­dent re­spect.

Once the show stars, one of the ma­jor sto­ry­lines will be how well “Game of Thrones” fares. The se­ries is com­pet­ing in six cat­e­gories be­sides best drama, in­clud­ing di­rect­ing, writ­ing and act­ing — with stars Emilia Clarke and Kit Har­ing­ton vy­ing for lead act­ing hon­ors for the first time, and Peter Din­klage seek­ing his fourth sup­port­ing ac­tor award.


Phoebe Waller-Bridge ac­cepts the award for out­stand­ing writ­ing for a comedy se­ries for “Fleabag” on Sun­day at the Emmy Awards. The show also won a di­rect­ing award, and Waller-Bridge was named best comedy ac­tress.

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