Live at the TVLand Awards 2011: Liza Minnelli, Stevie Wonder, Michael J. Fox, Oh My!
John Travolta calls it “Absolutely The Coolest Night in Television” and I agree.
-April Daniels Hussar
Last weekend I had the AMAZING experience of attending the taping of the TVLand Awards 2011 in New York City. I’ve never been to an awards show before and it was a blast — partly to do with the endless bottles of champagne, oui, but more to do with the parade of incredible people hosting and performing. I am dying to catch a glimpse of myself in the audience when it airs this Sunday evening (April 17 at 9 pm ET/PT) because I’m sure my eyeballs are literally popping out of my head the whole time … you’ll know it’s me if you see a blond in a blue silk dress looking like a total starstruck dork.
The show starts off with what will undoubtedly be one of the most thrilling points of my life — suddenly the house lights went down, the stage lit up giant letters spelling out “ I HEART LIZA” … and yes, there she was, ladies and gentlemen … LIZA MINNELLI herself, belting out “New York, New York!” I swear if I could have levitated in excitement I would have… to be a mere 20 feet or so away from such a legend, performing one of the greatest songs ever … I almost had to run to the bathroom to call my mom. (I told you, I’m a dork. You’d think living a stone’s throw from the Big Apple for 10 years would have jaded me to these things, but no. I’m a dork.)
Here’s a clip so you can dork out with me:
I didn’t see how they could top that — and while I wouldn’t say anything “topped” Liza’s performance, the rest of the show is a total blast, with one fabulous, famous personality after another taking the stage. I mean, you guys, STEVIE WONDER! Sang! Right in front of me! And then he introduced Bill Cosby and all the whole darn Cosby Family. The entire cast of Family Ties took the stage … including Mallory (aka Justine Bateman) in a fab orange dress and my original TV crush, Mr. Michael J. Fox himself.
And look, ma, there’s Jo and Tootie and Blair and the rest of the gang from my all-time favorite show The Facts of Life! Yes, including Mrs. Garret, who has gone silver but still has the same distinctive voice and lovely manner. I wanted to run up on stage and tell them all my boy problems while Mrs. Garret fixed me a glass of milk! John Travolta was a doll — he didn’t seem stage-hoggy at all, he just looked thrilled to be up there with his co-stars from Welcome Back Cotter. And Regis Philbin was just as funny and as gracious as you would expect him to be.
Of course — the Real Housewives of New York made a fabulous, spectacle of themselves (do they ever miss an appearance opp?), arguing over center stage and the microphone (was it an act? who knows?). But I will say, when Hall and Oates took the stage to perform not one but three numbers, Sonja Morgan, in a tiny silver sequin number, danced her bootie off the whole time (as did I, of course), and I had to hand it to her… lady knows how to boogie!
Here’s another clip of the red carpet so you can see some of the other presenters and award winners, who include Ben Stiller, Jane Lynch, Paul Reiser, Valerie Bertinelli, Jane Leeves, and Wendie Malick.
Such a blast. And this from a kid who didn’t even HAVE a TV until I was a least 10 (yeah I was one of those kids). Somehow these people made what I realize, looking back, was an indelible impression on me. I laughed with them, I shook my head ruefully when they made mistakes (Mallory! You’ll never be able to get away with sneaking in late again!), and I cried when they touched on some of those big life issues that I would one day face. I can still vividly remember watching the final show of Family Ties, and what an impression it made on me, what a loss I felt that this family wouldn’t be in my life any more.
Are there any shows like that today?
Check it out for yourself — “TV LAND AWARDS 2011” airs Sunday, April 17 at 9 p.m. ET/PT.
April Daniels Hussar is BettyConfidential’s Executive Editor, and would just like to say … I LOVE YOU FOREVER, ALEX P. KEATON!