Who else apart from Stephen Colbert would’ve been the appropriate option to host the 2017 Emmys?

Even earlier than the Late Present host surged to the highest of the late-night time speak scores, fueled by his unabashed take-downs of no matter it was the Trump administration had received as much as that day, the Academy and CBS had handed him the keys to TV’s largest night time and advised him to get able to drive.

Colbert could not even settle for the respect with out taking a dig at President Donald Trump‘s inflated inauguration day crowd estimate—nor might he kick off the 69th Primetime Emmy Awards with out acknowledging the elephant within the room, “the most important TV star of the final yr,” as he put it Sunday.

Truly, he could not even fall asleep the night time earlier than the Emmys and not using a fast tone-setter. On Saturday night he posted a “scorching leak” from the journey to Russia he made for the Late Present during which he polled individuals on the road for his or her decide for greatest present. The People (which is about Russian spies, ha!) was the unanimous selection, a shoo-in to win “greatest present” in line with…The Russians.

“Sure, The People is just not even nominated this yr, however the Russians have rigged greater elections than this,” the clip concluded.

Not precisely a wheel-reinventer (perhaps it might’ve labored higher if The People was actually up for Greatest Drama this yr), nevertheless it definitely was an indicator that Colbert had no intention of placing politics apart for the night time.

We cannot know till tomorrow whether or not Colbert and this yr’s crop of nominees—which have been a number of the probably the most talked about exhibits and performances in current reminiscence—have been sufficient to boost the Emmys from the scores doldrums, or at the very least enhance upon 2016’s least watched telecast ever, however inside Los Angeles’ Microsoft Theater at the least…

Colbert was preaching to the choir.

“Why did not you give him an Emmy?!” he lamented to the viewers, referring to President Donald Trump‘s missed alternatives for Superstar Apprentice. “I inform you this, if he had gained an Emmy, I guess he would not have run for president. So in a method, that is all of your fault!” 

Although harking back to Jimmy Kimmel blaming Apprentice producer Mark Burnett for Trump eventually yr’s Emmys, the stakes have, in fact, been raised since, and it helped punctuate an uneven monologue that—very similar to the Late Present—actually acquired going as soon as he had doled out the requisite wink-winks at award exhibits and showbiz and switched to politics.

“Ought to’ve gotten it,” he famous another time. “However he did not. As a result of in contrast to the presidency, Emmys go to the winner of the favored vote. The place do I discover the braveness to inform that joke on this room?!”

In the meantime, the normal monologue got here after the requisite savvy track-and-dance quantity—and savvy it was, full with Handmaids doing the Charleston and shout-outs to present occasions. The chorus was “all the things appears higher on TV!” and was an environment friendly, upbeat approach of acknowledging why a mode of escape is so necessary, even when it is an escape into one other world that makes us grateful for the one we have got. Millie Bobby Brown, Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Tony Hale took half in character, whereas Grammy winner Probability the Rapper additionally popped as much as rap about his love of the classics and, most poignantly, to marvel “I nonetheless assume M*A*S*H rocks, but when Hawkeye could be a soldier why not Laverne Cox?”

Colbert additionally acquired some key assists from marble-mouthed Seth Meyers, the goal of then-civilian Trump’s tweeted ire when he hosted the Emmys in 2014, and—because of a very covert op—former White Home press secretary Sean Spicer, who strolled out with a podium (a lot to the large-eyed dismay of his Emmy-profitable SNL doppelganger Melissa McCarthy and the close to apoplectic shock of Anna Chlumsky) to insist tonight’s can be the “largest viewers to witness an Emmys, interval, each in individual and all over the world.”

See, who does not need to rub elbows with the Hollywood elite when given the prospect, actually?

Among the many non-political (albeit sociopolitical), anticipated monologue jokes about Hollywood—Millie Bobby Brown is proof there’s work for ladies over 12, the Emmys are an evening when the celebs come collectively to binge on themselves, and so on.—Colbert’s sharpest barb was reserved for Invoice Maher.

Saluting the Academy for honoring probably the most numerous group of nominees in Emmys historical past, he continued, “And there is so many gifted African-American nominees. Jeffrey Wright, Viola Davis, Samira WileyUzo Aduba, Anthony Anderson from ABC’s black-ish. And, in fact, Invoice Maher.”

That punchline was perfection, although truly dampened a bit when he proceeded to elucidate the joke—Maher infamously used the N-phrase when cracking a joke on an episode of Actual Time earlier this yr. He apologized, however nonetheless appeared slightly defensive that he was being raked throughout such scorching coals over an apparent joke. (Dude, individuals knew it was a joke. That wasn’t the purpose.)

Alas, Maher—whose return to the Excellent Selection Speak Collection race this yr irritated loads of individuals for primarily this very cause—was not in attendance.

Stephen Colbert, 2017 Emmy Awards, Show

Kevin Winter/Getty Photographs

The subsequent pre-taped bit, during which Colbert was spirited away to a Westworld diagnostic middle as a result of he was “glitching,” made for an additional humorous but intellectual bit that status-TV viewers of the HBO drama (which entered the race this yr with 22 nominations, tied for probably the most with Saturday Night time Stay) would discover funniest. 

However in case you do not watch Westworld and are not acquainted with Jeffrey Wright’s sinister robotic programmer Dr. Ford, Colbert was butt-bare for the sketch, and nudity—notably males’s naked butts—is humorous it doesn’t matter what.

Colbert warned forward of time in interviews that he’d been informed he could not naked his tush on the Emmys, however somewhat little bit of blurring appears to have appeased the CBS censors.

“Have you ever ever questioned the character of your actuality?” Wright asks him. “Daily since Nov. eight,” the host replies.

“Decrease politics degree,” Wright replies, prompting an insider smile from Colbert as he proceeds to actually flip down the politics degree.

And that apparently labored, as a result of, one, there simply wasn’t time for extra politics, and two, the celebs took it from there. The present political local weather rippled like an undercurrent all through the present, as was anticipated, and each presenters and winners obtained into the act, whether or not with daring statements like Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda‘s pronouncements about refusing to be “managed by a sexist, egotistical, mendacity, hypocritical bigot” or extra implicit statements, comparable to The Handmaid Story creator Bruce Miller‘s entreaty to “go house, get to work, we now have numerous issues to struggle for.”

Colbert’s “first-ever interview with Emmy,” co-starring RuPaul because the statuette itself, was reliably cute. The jokes about Oscar not being a reliable man thus far as a result of he is “bare and holding a sword” and Tony being no good as a result of his husband will get “so rattling jealous” have been fairly lovable, if additionally on the insidery aspect.

However maybe that is simply how award exhibits are, and shall be so more and more on the TV aspect particularly as viewership splinters additional into broadcast, cable, premium cable, streaming and rope-chopping factions, a sprawling Venn diagram whose widespread area is getting ever smaller.

In fact, that is why Colbert paused for the “conventional Hollywood prayer” at one level: “Lord, thanks for giving us expertise and wonder and that gaping gap inside of every of us that craves love and can by no means be crammed. Amen.”

The funniest publish-monologue joke was a presumably deliberate but left-to-probability riff between Colbert and Jimmy Kimmel after discovering out for positive that they’d misplaced to Final Week Tonight With John Oliver within the Greatest Selection Speak Collection class, the HBO present’s second straight win.

The present got here again from a business break to seek out the 2 of them having the night’s specialty cocktail, The Final Week Tonight.

“It is a dry, British cocktail,” noticed Kimmel. “Sure,” Colbert added, “it is actually good. It is so top quality, apparently they will solely make one every week. “Mine has additional bitters in it,” Kimmel stated. “You realize, typically they put the incorrect identify on the envelope and,” he added hopefully, “it is potential that that occurred right here, proper?”

“Not tonight,” Colbert assured him.

A number of inside jokes in a single, about what it is wish to host a late-night time present 4 entire nights every week, and about the most important screw-up in Oscar historical past, which occurred on Kimmel’s watch simply months in the past.

All very amusing, should you stay and breathe Hollywood and its antics.

Which everybody within the room tonight does, so Colbert did his job gamely and intelligently, even—and most significantly—miraculously wrapping the present up on time. He won’t have introduced anybody new to the desk, however all of the visitors who arrived, acquainted with the menu and able to feast, have been handled to a satisfying meal.  

Do not miss E! Information tonight at 7 and eleven p.m. and tune in to the Trend Police 2017 Emmys Particular, with visitor co-host Erika Jayne, at eight p.m., solely on E!