Cedric the Entertainer kicked off the 2021 Emmys with a monologue that was not a monologue. Instead of following the tradition of telling jokes, the comic kicked off the show with a star-studded karaoke tribute to TV and Biz Markie. Cedric was joined by LL Cool J, Lil Dicky, the stars of Hamilton, Mandy Moore, and a bevy of other superstars in a version of Biz Markie’s “Just a Friend” that was centered on TV as the pined-for pal in question. While this year’s Emmys mark something of a return to normalcy for Hollywood as TV stars walked the red carpet to fete each other in person, fans at home are kind of split on the kooky intro number. Well, at least, they’re split on Chet Hanks’s mom, Rita Wilson.
The 2021 Emmys opened with a montage of some of our favorite TV moments of the last year and then cut to a pre-taped scene where a casual Cedric the Entertainer explained some of his fondest memories are watching TV with his grandmother. He then emerged on the Emmys stage (with a dancing man wearing a television set on his head) and began wrapping along with Biz Markie’s “Just a Friend.” Then LL Cool J joined in and it seemed mics had been sprinkled around the audience. While some of the guest spots were welcome — we see you, Dave star Lil Dicky — some of the appearances were head-scratchers. The super upbeat number still drew raves from some TV fans…
While it seems folks are unanimously stoked about the fact that the recently deceased Biz Markie was honored (as was our love of TV), Rita Wilson drew…mixed reviews. And a lot of Chet Hanks jokes.
After the first two awards were handed out to Ted Lasso stars Hannah Waddingham and Brett Goldstein (and a well-timed commercial break), Cedric the Entertainer returned for a delayed monologue opining on the state of Black entertainers on TV, joking that WandaVision sounded like it should be a Wanda Sykes vehicle.
The 2021 Emmy Awards are airing on CBS.