The scene inside the ballroom at the Beverly Hills Hilton in Los Angeles last night for the 24th Annual Television Critics Association Awards had more Emmy nominees than, well, the Emmy’s, and found the cast of AMC’s critical darling Mad Men in close quarters among the likes of 30 Rock scribe/comedienne Tina Fey, SNL executive producer Lorne Michaels, Tom Hanks and Paul Giamatti of HBO’s John Adams, the crew from HBO’s The Wire, and last but not least, The Smothers Brothers, on hand to host the event.
With cable becoming an increasingly competitive player on the TV landscape this year, as evidenced by its 222 Emmy nominations, even Fey – who was in attendance to receive an award for Outstanding Comedy – deadpanned, “It’s a great time to be on network TV. It’s like doing vaudeville in the 60s.”
The mood was lighthearted when Giamatti took the stage to accept for Best Performance in “John Adams,” joking about the pressures of the production, saying “you know, I quit smoking cigarettes, but then I started again. You want to know why? Because John Adams was a f**king nut buster! It busted my nuts! I couldn’t take it. I had to start smoking again.”
Hanks joined in on the onstage merriment, adding “thank God this isn’t televised.”
Of his desire to be involved in the 7-part HBO miniseries, Hanks quipped “there were three reasons we wanted to make John Adams.
“Number one: we wanted to show an American President doing the deed in bed. It is HBO, after all.
“Number two: we wanted to see if we could get John Adams’ face on the money of America.
“And number three: we wanted to demonstrate the senseless and unnecessary use of walking canes.”
After scooping up an award for Best New Show and Best Drama, the Emmy-nominated “Mad Men” cast headed outside for (surprise, surprise!) cocktails and cigarettes. I caught up with cast member Elisabeth Moss, who confirmed they already have 9 episodes of season two in the can, and are still continuing to shoot in Los Angeles.
Moss also casually dropped this bombshell about Hanks’ spawn Colin during the course of the conversation.
As for those 17 Emmy nods, Moss said the cast is “really excited.” The praise, however, has not changed the vibe on the set, which she claimed remains the same as ever.
“We’re always joking around,” she revealed. “Matt [Weiner] always said he hired a bunch of comedians, not actors.”