Photo: Cliff Lipson/CBS © 2009 CBS Broadcasting Inc.
KF: Did you look back at past Emmy hosts for inspiration?
NPH: Very much. Steve Allen hosted the first televised awards, which was the 7th Annual Emmy Awards, in, I think, 1955, and he was great. That was sort of my inspiration for all of this. He just had such a dry wit, a commanding voice, a great presence. You knew when you were watching it that if something went wrong, you could look to him, and he would steer you through it. It was always with great dignity and a dry sense of humor, and he was sort of out there all the time. He was definitely the "host." He definitely helped the show, so I like that. Johnny Carson, too, was great.
KF: Hypothetically, what would you do if your name was called for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series this year?
NPH: Oh my, I would graciously accept, try to keep my speech to a minimum, and then quickly set it backstage, because I have a lot more to do for the next couple hours.
KF: Is the award given out early on in the show?
NPH: I think it will be within the first hour. It's a nice and refreshing win-win for me, because if I do happen to win, it will be awesome-tastic, and oddly, a bit of a distraction. And if I don't win, it just provides lots of comedy fodder for the rest of the show. So I'm pretty safe either way. It's a tough category, for sure.