For the first time in nearly 50 years, an animated series has been nominated for an Emmy in the category of Outstanding Comedy Series. That show is the beloved Family Guy with its sometimes crass, sometimes zany and all-the-time hilarious cast of characters. Who knew that Family Guy would reach such heights after its embattled history of near cancellation, cancellation and inevitable rebirth in 2004? Now Family Guy anticipates winning an award that’s rarely offered to animated shows. The last cartoon that accomplished the same feat was The Flinstones. Kids, ask your parents.
To celebrate, Seth MacFarlane and Night Vision Entertainment commandeered the Avalon in Hollywood and threw a raucous pre-Emmy party. Free cocktails were offered everywhere you turned, provided by 901 Tequila, Belvedere and Jack Daniel’s Whiskey. On stage Ron Jones and his 44-piece orchestra played various soundtracks to everyone’s favorite movies, while scenes from Family Guy projected on screens all around. A beautiful ice sculpture greeted guests as they entered the threshold, which was an ingenious way to symbolize the evening: cool.
Seth MacFarlane arrived early dressed to the nines in a black suit and a Jackson fedora. He couldn’t hide his elation and walked around with a Cheshire Cat grin. Drink in hand and hat cocked slightly to the side, MacFarlane took a few moments to speak to Working Author. On being nominated in this category he says, “It feels great. It’s fantastic. Who wouldn’t be happy?” Considering that Family Guy is up against television shows like Weeds, 30 Rock and The Office, MacFarlane says, “Very stiff competition. I don’t know if we can beat those odds.” If they do, however, he says, “I guess I’ll buy some polish and just shine up the statuette for 24 hours.”
Out front, celebrities started pouring in, including Alyssa Milano, Gossip Girl’s Jessica Szohr and Michael Angarano. Dancing with the Stars’ Derek Hough walked in solo, but was quickly followed by supposedly-ex-girlfriend Shannon Elizabeth. Even though they didn’t walk the red carpet together, they still sat together at their VIP table and shared a couple of dances. Bill Mahar made an appearance and seemed a little reluctant to have his picture taken, but was finally coaxed into posing for a few stiff snaps. After the red carpet, everyone moved inside to enjoy the show – and what a show it was.
Family Guy isn’t for everyone, but regardless of how you feel about the show, Seth MacFarlane is a class act. Not only does he carry himself with style, but he treats everyone with a sense of importance, whether they’re celebrity friends, Family Guy fans or journalists trying to get a decent quote. Furthermore, he really knows how to host and throw a classy party. Halfway through the evening, MacFarlane jumped up on stage and turned the party into a concert – Sinatra style. With a cigarette to complete the look and sipping on a drink between songs, Seth MacFarlane and Ron Jones swung old Jazz standards, like Come Fly with Me and A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square. To show off, they even started swinging theme songs to old television shows, like Mr. Rogers Neighborhood, Charles in Charge and Different Strokes. Afterwards, MarFarlane exited so that Jones could present a surprise, which turned out to be a Michael Jackson tribute with swing versions of Thriller and Beat It. If that weren’t enough, Maroon 5’s Adam Levine joined MacFarlane on stage for a duet of Beat It and Sinatra’s I Get a Kick Out of You. All things considered, the stage performances were nothing short of amazing.
Working Author wishes Seth MacFarlane and the talented Family Guy team the best of luck on Emmy night. If the pre-Emmy party is any indication of how they like to celebrate, we can’t wait to see what they’ll do if they win. Watch the 61st Primetime Emmy Awards on September 20 at 8/7c on CBS.
*Photos courtesy of Gretchen Heimlich