16 Truly Outrageous Moments from Emmy Awards Past

There's been everything from cartwheels and crying to fires and big surprises

While the Emmy Awards may not be as wild as their fellow fall awards show, the VMAs, they've certainly had their share of OMG-worthy moments. Here are just a few we're still talking about.

Jennifer Aniston and Jimmy Kimmel stop the fire

Yikes! Hosting the 72nd Primetime Emmy Awards virtually amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Kimmel jokingly took an extra safety step to "sanitize" the winning envelope for outstanding lead actress in a comedy series, setting it on fire after drenching it in Lysol spray.

Aniston doused the flames with a fire extinguisher, but the small blaze reignited after the late-night host picked up the charred remains of the envelope with a pair of metal tongs — prompting someone offscreen to tell the two "put it out."

"Oh shoot!" Aniston exclaimed as she sprayed the fire extinguisher again, eventually putting the fire out.

Workers in hazmat suits hand-deliver statues to the winners in 2020

Given the awards show's historic virtual format in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, winners weren't able to accept their statues on the stage like every year past. Instead, hazmat suit-wearing presenters waited outside wherever nominees were watching to be on hand to give out the Emmys.

However, if a star didn't win, it ultimately made for a bit of an awkward goodbye.

"When you lose the emmy," nominee Ramy Youssef tweeted after his name wasn't read for outstanding lead actor for a comedy series, sharing hilarious footage of the farewell.

Nicole Kidman and Alexander Skarsgard kiss after his 2017 win

The actors, who costarred as a couple in Big Little Lies, quickly locked lips after Skarsgård won for outstanding supporting actor in a limited series or movie in 2017.

After receiving his trophy, he gave a sweet shout-out to all of the "incredible women" in his life, as well as "the ladies" of the HBO miniseries.

"Thank you for making this boy feel like one of the girls," Skarsgård said, locking eyes with Kidman, Reese Witherspoon and Laura Dern (the latter of whom also won an Emmy for her performance in the series).

Alexander Skarsgard, Nicole Kidman
Kevin Winter/Getty

Sean Spicer crashes the stage in 2017

The former White House press secretary made a surprise appearance at the awards show, appearing to mimic President Donald Trump, for whom he had worked before exiting the administration and becoming an outspoken critic. Following host Stephen Colbert's politically charged monologue, Spicer emerged from the set, wheeling a podium and shocking the audience – especially Melissa McCarthy, who'd previously impersonated him on Saturday Night Live.

"This will be the largest audience to witness an Emmys, period," Spicer declared from behind the podium in a Trump-esque tone. "Both in person and around the world."

Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Bryan Cranston's 2014 kiss

Winning an Emmy is pretty exciting in itself. But in 2014, after her name was announced for outstanding lead actress in a comedy series (for Veep), Louis-Dreyfus got something almost as thrilling: a kiss from Bryan Cranston — who, earlier in the show, she joked she didn't remember their smooching scene on Seinfeld while they presented an award together.

"Bryan and I were talking on the phone about what we were going to do for the presenting bit – we were kind of going through it – and then it dawned on me that this would be a nice part three of the joke," Louis-Dreyfus later told Elle. "So I asked my husband if he was okay with that, he said 'Sure,' and Bryan checked with his wife and she said 'Sure,' and we said we would go for it."

"But we wanted to really make sure the presenting stuff worked in and of itself. And obviously I might not have won," she added. "That was very stiff competition."

Matthew Perry kisses Doris Roberts in 2003

Another kiss that happened during the awards show was after Roberts won for Everybody Loves Raymond, prompting Perry to plant one on her. It wasn't an unwelcome gesture: "That was worth coming up here for," she said.

Sally Field's 2007 acceptance speech

Accepting her award for outstanding lead actress in a drama series for Brothers & Sisters, Field took the last few seconds of her speech to speak out against the Iraq War. "If the mothers ruled the world, there would be no g—— wars in the first place," she said — though if you were watching live, you might have missed the last part. Fox, the network that was broadcasting the show, censored the comment.

Helen Mirren outsmarts the FCC

After winning for Elizabeth I, she opened her speech by saying, "My great triumph is not falling ass-over-tits as I came up those stairs," a sentence, that, when said in Mirren's perfect English accent, seems to miss the dubbing. It was such a great moment, in fact, presenters Calista Flockhart and Craig Ferguson both repeated it later on during the show.

Jimmy Kimmel's hosting antics

The comedian was his charming and hilarious self while hosting in 2016, cracking up the crowd with his jokes and also bringing some of his own stunts to the stage. Two that stood out: continuing his "feud" with pal Matt Damon, who made fun of him for losing his category, and employing the Stranger Things kids to hand out snacks his mother had made to the star-studded crowd.

Alan Alda's cartwheel in 1979

The M*A*S*H star was pretty psyched to win — so much so that he cartwheeled on his way up to the stage.

Kirstie Alley's "big one"

Alley took home the trophy for outstanding lead actress in a comedy series back in 1991, and landed herself in the acceptance speech history books when she thanked her then-husband Parker Stevenson for being "the man who has given me the big one for the last eight years."

Ellen DeGeneres goes full Björk

In the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, the Emmy Awards were rescheduled twice. And in a time of national mourning, DeGeneres reminded America how to smile again with her hilarious turn as a host of the show — including donning a recreation of Björk's's iconic swan dress.

Bob Newhart in a glass container

Getting winners to stop talking is never an easy task. So in 2006, host Conan O'Brien "put" Newhart in a glass container, which he said had exactly three hours of breathable air. Understandably, Newhart himself looked a little freaked.

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The tear-jerking proposal

When Glenn Weiss won outstanding directing for a variety special for his work on the 90th Academy Awards, he mentioned his mother, who had died two weeks prior. "Mom always believed in finding the sunshine in things, and she adored my girlfriend Jan," he said of his girlfriend and date for the night, Jan Svendsen. "Jan, you are the sunshine in my life, and mom was right, don't ever let go of your sunshine. You wonder why I don't like to call you my girlfriend — because I want to call you my wife." Svendsen hit the stage, the crowd went crazy, and Weiss formally got down on one knee, proposing with the ring his father had given his mother 67 years before.

Katherine Heigl's you-can't-fake-it shock

There's nothing better than winning when you were convinced you wouldn't. That's exactly what happened to Heigl in 2007, when she won for Grey's Anatomy. In her seat, she mouthed "s—" before walking up to the stage. And when she got up, she said: "My own mother told me I didn't have a shot in hell of winning tonight" — before cameras cut to a shot of her mom, sitting sheepishly in the crowd. Heigl redeemed her, though, saying: "But she's a really big supporter, she does love me!" and dedicated the award to her.

The outstanding actress in a comedy series pageantry

The nominees for outstanding actress in a comedy series in 2011 took a moment to poke fun at the "pageantry" of awards season. One by one, they all walked on stage, and as the envelope was opened, they held hands Miss-America style — and cheered just as hard when the winner's name was read: Melissa McCarthy. Oh, and then they gave her a crown, one dozen roses and her Emmy.

The 74th Primetime Emmy Awards are being broadcast live on NBC from the Microsoft Theater in ‎Los Angeles on Sept. 12 at 8 p.m. ET.

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