Primetime Emmys 2012: 5 Memorable Moments

Jimmy Kimmel brought the jokes while Modern Family, Homeland and Breaking Bad won big.

'Modern Family' cast (Joe Klamar/AFP/Getty Images)

Jon Stewart’s Daily Show Wins 10th Consecutive Emmy

Jon Stewart and his Daily Show crew took home an Emmy for outstanding variety series, marking a decade on the Emmy stage. And while that legacy in itself could be boring, Stewart’s schtick with buddies Jimmy Fallon and Stephen Colbert wasn’t. When Stewart’s name was called Fallon and Colbert tussled the winner to the floor, pretending to hold him back from reaching the stage to accept his award. By the time the silver-haired comedian did collect his trophy, he was out of breath.

“I’m not in the kind of shape I should be in to do a bit with Jimmy Fallon, who’s in very good shape,” Stewart said with a laugh, before adding, “We make topical comedy, which has the shelf life of egg salad — nobody cares after five days. So to do this for 15 years and to have tangible proof that what we made wasn’t just ephemeral is wonderful.”

Parks and Recreation Star Amy Poehler Loses, But Somehow Still Wins

When Seinfeld alum and star of HBO’s Veep Julia Louis-Dreyfus was announced as the winner for lead actress in a comedy series, her acceptance speech opened with a bit during which she pretended to have started reading Amy Poehler’s planned acceptance speech. Many expected Poehler to win this award based on her success with her NBC sitcom, Parks and Recreation.

“Isn’t a shame that Amy Poehler didn’t win?” Louis-Dreyfus asked.

Ricky Gervais Brings the Golden Globes to the Emmys

Mischievous Brit Ricky Gervais made light of the sobriety at the Emmys, saying, “So much better than the Golden Globes, isn’t it? You all are so nice and attentive, wishing you were at the Globes and drinking probably. I’ve just had a beer, and it’s the only reason I agreed to hand out an Emmy … so I could have a beer.” Presenting the outstanding director of a variety special award, Gervais used the opportunity to make fun of nominee and friend Louis C.K., declaring that if he wasn’t the winner, then he wasn’t the No. 1 comedian in the world. Though he did nab other awards, including writing for a variety special, Louis didn’t win this one.

Homeland, Modern Family Sweep the Emmys

Blend the best parts of a thriller along with America’s heightened anxiety around the threat of government corruption, spies and terrorist activities, and you’ve got Showtime’s Homeland. Winning four awards, including outstanding leading actress in a drama for Claire Danes and the evening’s biggest accolade, best drama series, the show, which depicts a wife who suspects her husband is a terrorist spy, was the belle of the ball along with Modern Family. Racking up outstanding comedy series as well as supporting actor and actress in a comedy series nods for Julie Bowen and Eric Stonestreet respectively, the ABC sitcom was a clear winner.

Danes got a bit feisty with the award show’s producers for cutting off the Homeland writers during their acceptance speech. “First, I have to thank our writers since they were so unceremoniously cut off,” Danes said as she held her award.

Hillary Crosley is The Root‘s New York City bureau chief. Follow her on Twitter