Nothing Unites Us In Anger Like A Great Performer Getting Played Off

Awards shows are a careful balancing act where producers must find time for skits, commercials, and acceptance speeches. The show can't really run long because that means delaying the evening news, but that doesn't mean it's OK to play off big stars during their speeches. 

You could have aired fewer commercials (and charged more for the ad space!) or removed one of those cringe-inducing skits. But no, Emmy producers. You chose to play off Jean Smart during her heartfelt, genuine speech.


We're Here for the Speeches

No one watches awards shows for all of the weird pomp and circumstance surrounding them. We're here to see who wins, and then to hear what those winners have to say. There are certain awards show wildcards who always end up making the show more entertaining ("Nomadland" actress Frances McDormand is the reigning queen), but there are loads of actors, directors, and more that we know will have something interesting in their acceptance speeches. 

On top of wanting to hear what kind of wild stuff some celebs will come up with, fans also want to celebrate their favorite winners. It's always a lot of fun when a series, performer, or other creative wins after you've been following and appreciating their work. We want to hear what they have to say!

Not every speech can go on as long as the winners would like — otherwise the awards show would go on well past midnight. I understand the need to play off speeches that go overly long, but that doesn't mean you can't be picky about it. When ten writers come up to accept an award for one show? Play them off. When Jean Smart starts her acceptance speech by thanking her late husband? Have some tact, producers. 

No One Tells Debbie Allen to Cut it Short

Speaking of tact, imagine trying to tell Governor's Award-winner Debbie Allen to cut her acceptance speech short! Allen is an industry icon who has worked consistently acting, dancing, choreographing, directing, and more. She's an incredibly talented woman who fought serious adversity to achieve her success, and you try to tell her to cut it short the same as everyone else?

Several winners joked about a timer or a note that said "stop" on the teleprompter, but Allen wasn't having that.

"Honey, turn that clock off, I ain't paying no attention to it, turn it off!" she declared, before launching into an incredible speech about the power of marginalized people telling their stories. It was beautiful and poignant and much needed when the rest of the show has felt a little stodgy and staged. 

Scott Frank Says No

Scott Frank, the director, writer, and showrunner for Netflix darling "The Queen's Gambit," came prepared with a long speech printed on several pages of paper. He tried to speak through the music that tried to play him off, getting irritated and telling them to cut it out. They tried again, and Frank was not happy. 

He continued to talk while the music played, absolutely ignoring them. "I'm almost done," he snapped before launching into a rather long thank you for Anya Taylor-Joy. They played him off a third time, which feels like it might be an Emmys first, and he finally stormed off the stage, award in his clenched fist. 

"I Will Destroy You" creator Michaela Coel won an award for her series immediately after Frank, and she managed to say far more than he did without getting played off. She thanked people in her personal and professional life and ended the speech by dedicating her award to all survivors of sexual assault. That's how you do it.