Of all the Emmy after-parties that take place in Hollywood, none is as hot a ticket as the one held by HBO (although Hulu may have rivaled them this year for sheer celebratory exuberance). It’s not just the stars of “Veep,” “Silicon Valley,” or “Westworld” you’ll encounter there: talent from ALL networks eventually make their way to the exclusive event to celebrate television’s biggest night. Once again, the premium cable giant rented out the Pacific Design Center in West Hollywood, CA, transforming the massive backdoor area into a lavish ballroom. Gold Derby was on hand and rubbed elbows with some of the hottest names of not just the small screen, but the big screen as well.
The hardest section to make your way towards was the one dedicated to “Big Little Lies.” The David E. Kelley-produced series picked up eight trophies, including Best Limited Series, Best Movie/Mini Actress (Nicole Kidman), Best Movie/Mini Supporting Actor (Alexander Skarsgård), Best Movie/Mini Supporting Actress (Laura Dern), and Best Movie/Mini Director (Jean-Marc Vallée). We managed to catch Vallée on his way out, but everyone else – including Emmy-winning producer Reese Witherspoon – were a tad harder to get to.
We had better luck at the “Veep” table, where the cast and crew were celebrating their third consecutive victory for Best Comedy Series. Julia Louis-Dreyfus was interested to learn about the various records she had broken that night with her sixth win as Best Comedy Actress for playing President Selina Meyer (not only did she tie Cloris Leachman for the most wins by an actor at the Primetime ceremony, but she also bested Edward Asner, Candice Bergen, and Don Knotts for the most prizes by an actor for playing the same role). We had to wait to congratulate her, however, since “Seinfeld” co-creator Larry David beat us to it. Supporting nominees Tony Hale, Matt Walsh, and Anna Chlumsky were in similarly high spirits, as was showrunner David Mandel and cast members Kevin Dunn, Reid Scott, Clea Duvall, and Sam Richardson.
David, of course, was there to promote the upcoming sixth season of “Curb Your Enthusiasm.” We thought we had missed our chance to speak with him after he left his old pal Julia, only to have him literally sit down next to us as we were talking to his “Curb” costar Jeff Garlin. We may or may not have cut in front of “Portlandia” star Carrie Brownstein, and if so, we’d like to thank her for being a good sport. David and Garlin were later joined by J.B. Smoove, making for quite the enthusiastic reunion.
John Oliver showed up later in the evening, an Emmy in each hand for writing and producing “Last Week Tonight.” We asked if people ever say they rely upon him for their weekly news, which he found to be no laughing matter.
Representing “Silicon Valley” were co-creator Mike Judge, Zach Woods, Amanda Crew and Kumail Nanjiani, there with his wife Emily V. Gordon. We asked Nanjiani if he was ready to start the Oscar campaign for his summer box office hit “The Big Sick.” He and Gordon could follow in the footsteps of Ruth Gordon and Garson Kanin by becoming that rare married couple to compete in the Best Original Screenplay category.
We chatted with Oscar winner Barry Levinson, there representing “The Wizard of Lies,” and later caught Emmy winner Riz Ahmed chatting with his “The Night Of” writer-director Steven Zaillian; John Turturro was spotted only moments earlier. We tried to catch some of the “Westworld” cast (Evan Rachel Wood, Thandie Newton, Clifton Collins, Jr., James Marsden, Jimmi Simpson, Luke Hemsworth, Tessa Thompson, Rodrigo Santoro, Angela Sarafyan all made appearances), but were too little, too late.
The cast of “Saturday Night Live” was on-hand as well, including Best Comedy Supporting Actress nominee Vanessa Bayer, Aidy Bryant, and Kyle Mooney. Creator Lorne Michaels was there as well, carrying around his 15th career Emmy. He was also quite interested to know that “SNL” has now won a record 64 Emmys in its 42-year run.
We also spoke with Allison Janney, star of CBS’s “Mom” and the upcoming “I, Tonya,” which could land her in the Oscar race for Best Supporting Actress. We told her we saw her “West Wing” costar Richard Schiff walking around, but we’re not sure whether or not they got to reunite.
Tituss Burgess (“Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”) was there as well, as was Debra Messing (“Will and Grace”), Jessica Biel (“The Sinner”), Jon Hamm (“Mad Men”), Julianne Hough (“Grease Live!”), Kathryn Hahn (“Transparent”), Matthew Modine (“Stranger Things”), Laverne Cox (“Orange is the New Black”), Wanda Sykes (“Black-ish”), Adina Porter (“American Horror Story”), Tracey Ullman (“Tracey Ullman’s Show”), Kim Dickens (“House of Cards”), Amy Landecker (“Transparent”), Anne Heche (“The Brave”), Sofia Vergara (“Modern Family”), Chris Hardwick “Talking Dead”), Jeremy Piven (“Entourage”), Vanessa Marano (“Switched at Birth”), Janelle Monae (“Moonlight”), Nathan Fielder (“Nathan for You”), Neve Campbell (“House of Cards”), Yvette Nicole Brown (“Community”), and Jonathan Tucker (“Kingdom”).
Oh, and Ben Affleck made an appearance as well. He is a big Gold Derby admirer and cherishes a Gold Derby Award given to him years ago. Given how crowded the room was, it’s likely several stars came and went without us ever knowing, but that’s the nature of the HBO party.