LOS ANGELES — What is “Two and a Half Men” with Jon Cryer and without Charlie Sheen? Really good was the Emmy Awards verdict Sunday as Cryer claimed the best comedy actor trophy.
“Don’t panic, people. Something has clearly gone terribly wrong. I’m stunned,” said Cryer, who on the red carpet before the show has expressed confidence he wouldn’t win. Among others, he beat out two-time winner Jim Parsons of “The Big Bang Theory.”
Ashton Kutcher, who joined the show after Sheen was fired, wasn’t nominated.
“The Amazing Race” won for best reality series and Tom Bergeron of “Dancing With the Stars” took home the award for best host of a reality series.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus was honored as best actress in comedy for “Veep” and she and fellow nominee Amy Poehler of “Parks and Recreation” pretended to switch their speech notes.
“Modern Family” made it look easy as the comedy’s Eric Stonestreet and Julie Bowen claimed supporting actor awards.
Stonestreet was funny and touching as he accepted the best supporting actor award for his role as half of a devoted gay couple on “Modern Family.”
“I wouldn’t be standing here without Jesse Tyler Ferguson, there is no Cam without Mitch,” he said, saluting his co-star. “We get the awesome opportunity to play these two characters on TV and show America and the world what a loving couple we can be just like everybody else.”
Then he turned saucy: “I never knew I’d be on TV as a gay man, but I love the pictures of hairy chests you guys are sending me, it’s really amazing. Thank you for those.”
Bowen got a huge shout-out from castmate Sofia Vergara.
“Oh, that’s my Sofia, God bless you. … This is an embarrassment of riches,” Bowen said.
The show started with bathroom humor: A filmed bit with Kathy Bates, Zooey Deschanel and other nominated actresses prepping in the restroom, then discovering a weeping Jimmy Kimmel lamenting a Botox reaction he said would keep him off stage as host.
“You look beautiful,” he was reassured. “You look like a ‘Real Housewife.”’
Viewers of the skit may have been puzzled by a nude Lena Dunham, the creator-star of “Girls,” who’s routinely brave about showing skin on the HBO comedy.
Standup comic Louis C.K. won the Emmy for best comedy writing for “Louie.”
HBO came into the night with a leading 17 creative arts Emmys from a Sept. 15 ceremony honoring technical and other achievements. CBS was second with 13, followed by PBS with 11. Discovery received six awards, NBC got five and ABC and the Cartoon Network won four each. Fox received two trophies.
Reactions at the Emmys
STONESTREET WON BUT WHO ELSE WON? Eric Stonestreet was the first Emmy winner of the night, and the first backstage at the trophy table, but the suspense was still killing him.
“Who won? Who won? Who won the next award?” the “Modern Family” star kept asking as he claimed his statuette for best supporting actor in a comedy.
ZOOEY NAILS IT: Zooey Deschanel played up her “adorkable” persona on the Emmy red carpet with a quirky, sparkly manicure featuring television sets on her thumbnails.
The silver, gold and black accessories were a huge hit on Twitter.
Glamour Fashion called it “the mani we’ve been waiting for!” The “New Girl” star, who was a presenter Sunday night, is famous for her red-carpet nail numbers.
A MAD MAN MOMENT IN EMMY LOBBY: It was life imitating art just off to the side of the red carpet outside the Nokia Theatre entrance as “Mad Men” newbie Ben Feldman caught a smoke.
The resourceful first-time nominee discovered a corner tucked away from the scads of cameras and celebrities that was the perfect spot for a quick pre-show cigarette.
Unfortunately, there weren’t any bottles of scotch nearby for him to wash it down with, but just inside the lobby of the Nokia Theatre attendees were lined up at the concession stand for $10 cocktails.
Feldman’s “Mad Men” leading man Jon Hamm held court on the other side of the lobby, attracting a line of attendees who wanted a photo with the veteran nominee.
MOMS GOT THEIR DUE FROM THE RED CARPET: Moms weren’t forgotten on the red carpet.
Rico Rodriguez, young star of “Modern Family,” brought his mother as his date, presenting her to the world as “the beautiful ma-ma.”
The pair were even featured in a prerecorded bit that tracked their progress in a limo from home to the Emmycast.
And earlier Stephen Colbert, while being interviewed with his wife at his side, took a moment to phone his 91-year-old mom on his cellphone to say hello.
“I’ve shouted at her ‘We’re on ABC!”’ he told interviewer Josh Elliott.
A RED CARPET PROPOSAL: One Emmy attendee used the red carpet for more than just walking — he got down on one knee and proposed to his date.
Security initially tried to shoo him off, but saw him reaching into his pocket for a ring and let the moment happen. With throngs of people cheering, he presented the ring and received a kiss, and presumably an answer “Yes,” as those nearby applauded the mystery couple.
EVEN CELEBRITIES SWEAT: With temperatures topping 90 degrees on the Emmy red carpet, the stars were doing everything they could not to let you see them sweat.
“Dancing With the Stars” host Tom Bergeron sucked down a bottle of water as he walked the carpet. Others clutched hand fans and discreetly dabbed their brows as they made their way into the Nokia Theatre.
Ashley Judd of “Missing” went a different route, toting an umbrella as she sashayed between interviews.
FROM 1 JIMMY TO ANOTHER: Jimmy Fallon is playing musical chairs at this year’s Emmy Awards, in more ways than one.
The 2010 Emmy host, interviewed on the red carpet, noted he has passed hosting duties on to another Jimmy this year, name of Kimmel.
As a result, Fallon said, he doesn’t even have a ticket to the 2012 show.
“But Clint Eastwood said he was going to save me a chair,” Fallon cracked.
His advice to this year’s Jimmy: “Don’t make out with Betty White. There’s cameras everywhere and you’ll get caught. And definitely go to Honey Boo Boo’s after-party, cause that’s gonna be where it’s at.”
SEEING STARS ON THE RED CARPET: At the Emmys there’s the red carpet and then there’s — well — the other red carpet.
As the main red carpet fills up, security tries to keep the line moving by directing the big stars down the carpet where cameras are lined up to film them and entertainment journalists are waiting to interview them.
Meantime, the less famous are directed down a parallel red carpet closer to the fan bleachers.
“Please continue walking,” security guards continuously say.
Sometimes they’ll also give a gentle nudge to someone on the B-list red carpet who lingers too long taking pictures of the folks on the A-List red carpet.
GETTING THE STARS’ ATTENTION: “Jesse Jesse Jesse!” the crowd chants trying to get the attention of “Modern Family” star Jesse Tyler Ferguson. He obliges with several waves to the bleacher crowd.
Before the first stream of stars arrived on the Emmy Red Carpet, a show producer told them to “make everything personal” if they wanted to get their attention.
It may take several chants, but the stars often answer with a wave, a smile or the occasional fist pump.
KEEPING COOL IN THE FAN BLEACHERS: Fran and Elmer Armstrong are awards show veterans, joining throngs of fans for at least their sixth Emmy Awards Show on a sweltering Sunday afternoon.
The retired St. Louis couple’s quest for a front row seat in the fan bleachers beside the red carpet began when they lined up outside the Nokia Theatre around 7:30 a.m. Sunday. As the day progressed, and temperatures rose, they hung in there, cheering as the cameras from E! Entertainment television filmed pre-show segments.
“Goodbye Giuliana,” 70-year-old Elmer Armstrong shouted to anchor Giuliana Rancic as the E Entertainment crew wrapped up.
With temperatures topping 90 degrees, he and his 71-year-old wife were like many in the stands — trying to keep cool with water and wet paper towels. At least this year’s stands are shaded. Elmer Armstrong recalled one year when fans were forced to sit in the blazing sun.
That’s not the only change to this year’s fan seating — a tall wall keeps fans from glad-handing or even getting autographs from cooperative celebrities.
Elmer Armstrong remains at the ready, however — keeping his digital SLR camera and telephoto lens handy to get shots of the stars.