Primetime Emmy Awards: 10 Most infamous moments of the Emmys to date

From fake tears to real shocking surprises, over the years, the coveted Emmy Awards have seen it all. So here is a low-down of all the weirdest, outrageous, wildest, and exaggerated moments of all time from the Primetime Emmys. Check them out!

Updated on Nov 17, 2022   |  11:24 AM IST  |  181.9K
10 Most infamous moments of the Primetime Emmy Awards of all time
10 Most infamous moments of the Primetime Emmy Awards of all time

The prestigious Primetime Emmy Awards certainly are full of sensational news - from drama to performances - and are only minutely below the wilder VMAs. However, over these years, we have seen some of the weirdest and mouth-dropping moments at the Emmys. Now, some of these moments definitely feel staged to hype up the popularity of the show, while others just happen absentmindedly - either way, these infamous moments of the Emmy Awards leave the audiences stuck between a big OMG or hilarious laughter.


No matter the reaction, some of these noteworthy moments are worth revisiting. So, today we have a list of some of the most infamous moments of the Emmys of all time. Grab your popcorn folks, it'll be worth the read!


10 Most infamous moments of the Emmy Awards to date


2020 Primetime Emmy Awards

Emmy and the dreaded COVID restrictions. Due to the coronavirus outbreak, the producers of the Emmy Awards show thought of keeping a virtual event for the 72nd Primetime Emmy Awards. However, two bizarre things happened, making the event historic - but not in a good way.


1. There was a fire!

No, we are not joking, there was literal fire! The virtual event was hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, who mockingly went ahead to sanitize the winning envelope and sprayed it with Lysol spray, which set the envelope on fire. Thankfully, Jennifer Aniston came to his rescue and used a fire extinguisher to turn off the fire. The incident is fiery enough (literally speaking) to land on our list of most infamous moments of the Emmy Awards.


2. Hazmat suit-wearing presenters gave out the Emmys!

Yes, this happened. Since the nominees were not able to accept their awards on stage owing to the Covid restrictions, employees in hazmat suits stood outside their respective residences (or whenever the nominees were staying) to hand them their awards. Now, the most awkward thing about this whole setup was that not all nominees win the Emmy, therefore, making the situation equally hilarious and weird. Not to miss out on the part where these hazmat suit-wearing presenters bid goodbye while taking the Emmy award with them because that particular celeb did not win (sigh)


2017 Primetime Emmy Awards

There again are two most infamous moments of the Emmy Awards to make history - surprising and a bit shocking!


3. Sean Spicer's crashing appearance mimicking ex-President Donald Trump!

Just reading this headline is making me laugh (I mean, what and why). Sean Spicer is a former White House press secretary who had worked with Donald Trump before he exited the administration to become an outspoken and extroverted critic. He made a rather dumbfounding appearance on the set of the 69th Primetime Emmy Awards.



"This will be the largest audience to witness an Emmys, period. Both in person and around the world." Sean Spicer quoted from behind the podium in a Trump-esque like tone shocking the audience.


4. Alexander Skarsgard kissed Nicole Kidman!


Alexander Skarsgard won an award for an outstanding supporting actor in a limited series or movie at the 69th Primetime Emmy Awards show. After receiving his award, he went on to appreciate all of the ladies of the HBO miniseries as well as the incredible women in his life, including Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, and Laura Dern. And then he quickly lip-locked Nicole Kidman.


2016 Primetime Emmy Awards


5. Jimmy Kimmel and his hosting!

Jimmy Kimmel sent the audience into a fit of laughter with his hilarious jokes, surprising stunts, and charming hosting. Out of the entire show, two infamous moments stood out - firstly, his continued feud or hysterical banter with Matt Damon, and secondly, he employed the kids of Stranger Things to hand out PB&J snacks that his mother had made for the celebrity crowd! The overall award event was super entertaining, making it on the list of most infamous moments of the Emmy Awards.

2014 Primetime Emmy Awards

More kissing (sigh)


6. Bryan Cranston kissed Julia Louis-Dreyfus!

Julia Louis-Dreyfus won an Emmy for outstanding lead actress in a comedy series in 2014. But that wasn't the only exciting thing for her. Soon after, Bryan Cranston kissed her. Although this was a staged moment, the crowd enjoyed it, making it land on our list of most infamous moments of the Emmy Awards.


2001 Primetime Emmy Awards


7. Ellen DeGeneres owned the awards!

The year 2001 is marked in history due to the heart-shattering 9/11 attacks. Due to these attacks, Emmy Awards were rescheduled twice. However, when they did happen, Ellen DeGeneres ruled the event. Amidst the sad mood and national mourning, she reminded the USA how to guiltlessly smile and laugh again with her hilarious jokes and charming hosting. The 53rd Primetime Emmy Awards is highly remembered because of Ellen DeGeneres' brilliant hosting and is, therefore, in our list of most infamous moments of the Emmy Awards!



2003 Primetime Emmy Awards

Yet another kiss (these kissing moments are getting out of hand)


8. Doris Roberts and Matthew Perry's kiss!

Doris Roberts won an Emmy Award for Everybody Loves Raymond and was showered a kiss by Matthew Perry. Though the kiss was awkward, it was not unwelcome. Doris further stated, "That was worth coming up here for."


1991 Primetime Emmy Awards


9. Kirstie Alley and her historical acceptance speech!

Kirstie Alley won an Emmy Award for outstanding lead actress in a comedy series at the 43rd Primetime Emmy Awards. She was so excited about her award and thanked Parker Stevenson (her then-husband) for being "the man who has given me the big one for the last eight years." Her acceptance speech not only landed her in the history books but also on our list of most infamous moments of the Emmy Awards!


1979 Primetime Emmy Awards


10. Alan Alda did a cartwheel!

Yes, you read that right. Alan Alda won an Emmy and was so psyched and pumped about receiving his award that he cartwheeled his way up to the stage (speechless). The 31st Primetime Emmy Awards became infamous owing to this particular incident.


Pack Up



These were only a handful of the most infamous moments of the Emmy Awards of all time. Emmy surely does know how to give major drama and content apart from the awards!


Now that the 74th Primetime Emmy Awards were held in ‎Los Angeles on 12 September 2022, we are waiting for some more hysterical or weird moments to add to this list. Until then, enjoy this opening performance at the 2022 Emmy Awards.

Do you remember any awkward moments or gossip about the Emmy Awards? Tell us in the comment section below!


Also Read: MTV VMAs 2022: Best behind-the-scenes moments - Exclusively for you


What channel can I watch the Emmy Awards show in 2022?

How many Primetime Emmy Award categories are there?
17 categories

Did Euphoria win an Emmy 2022?
Yes. Zendaya won an Emmy Award for outstanding lead actress in a drama series for Euphoria in 2022.

What time will Emmy Awards be on TV tonight?
8 p.m. ET

Where can I watch the Emmy Awards tonight?
NBC and Peacock streaming service.

Who has won the most Primetime Emmy Awards?
Saturday Night Live

Who has won the most Emmy Awards for acting?
Edward Asner has won seven Emmys.

Which show won the most Emmys in 2022?

Who presented the final Emmy Awards show in 2022?
Vet Kenan Thompson

About The Author
Anubhuti Mishra
Anubhuti Mishra
Interior Designer & Home Décor Expert

With a marked inclination toward Interiors and a Post Graduation degree in Interior Design from VIFT Bangalore, Anubhuti... Read more


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