Jane Lynch discusses the 63rd Primetime Emmy Awards, Glee Season 3 and the return of Sue Sylvester on Fox this September
The 63rd Primetime Emmy Awards celebrate excellence in national primetime programming, awarding top honors at the annual creative arts and primetime awards ceremonies. This year's show will be hosted by Jane Lynch, who recently stopped by to chat about her duties on stage. She also gave an update on Season 3 of Glee and her role as Sue Sylvester.
Last year at the Emmys obviously one of the big hits was the opening number with you and Jimmy Fallon and the whole gang. At this point, are you able to confirm any sort of follow up to that in your version of the Emmys?
Jane Lynch: Follow up, no. I mean I think we started it from scratch and we didn't try to follow up on anything from last year. But I'm pre-taping something right now for The Emmy Awards, and I don't want to tell you what it is. It will spoil the surprise.
And then as far as "Glee," I was just wondering-back at TCA Kevin Riley said that he sees this season as really going back to basics. Is that anything that you've seen in the early scripts?
Jane Lynch: Yes. I think what he was talking about is sticking to the story lines of our regular characters, because you know we had a great season last year but we did kind of go all over the place with guest stars and had a lot of fun with that. And we're kind of honing in on these stories of these kids, especially in light in the fact that several of them will be graduating at the end of the year.
Do you feel responsibility at all to make sure there's some gay-centric element to the show?
Jane Lynch: No.
Do you think there should be something in the show, whether it's just some gay humor or something just to kind of make it-
Jane Lynch: What are you talking-I'm a person not just a gay person so I don't focus on gay things like that. I just focus on good shows and being funny.
Okay, gotcha. Do you have input on any jokes or dancing or any kind of...numbers that you might be a part of?
Jane Lynch: Oh yes, absolutely. Yes, I've been a part of every aspect of it, and though I'm not putting pen to paper, I'm very much collaborating with everybody. We're having a great time. It's a great group of people. We work very well together.
Can you talk a little bit about the upcoming season of "Glee" and whether or not the cast is going to be involved at all in the Emmy production?
Anything about the upcoming season.
Jane Lynch: Like I said earlier it really feels like we're sticking to-you know kind of following story lines of the kids, the regulars, and kind of seeing where they go and the particulars of their intimate relationships. You know with graduation looming ahead it's not just about working for Regionals, sectionals, then nationals-I think it's actually sectionals, Regionals nationals-it's kind of about what these kids are going to be doing with their lives. So it's pretty interesting, but a lot of fun.
Have you had any input from any previous Emmy hosts regarding what you can expect and what their tips have been for you?
Jane Lynch: No, I haven't had-and I know several of them. Jimmy Fallon sent me flowers, but not really. No, nobody has given me any tips.
If Sue Sylvester were giving you tips on hosting the gig, what would Sue's tips be?
Jane Lynch: Well somehow find a way to give all of the awards to yourself, I think, would probably be her advice.
Can you tell me who's writing your-I'm sure you're writing some of it yourself, but can you tell me who's helping you with your material for the telecast?
Jane Lynch: Yes, Jill Soloway, who's a good old friend. We worked together on "Real Live Brady Bunch," and lived in the basement of her house for several years when I was younger. I've known Faith, her sister, and Jill for a long time. In fact, Faith is a wonderful songwriter and will probably be adding something. She's coming in for the last two weeks. Well she should be coming in soon. So Faith and Jill Soloway are kind of my touchstones and Jill's directing the thing we're doing today, and she's written it. And it's just great to be working with her. I'm in good hands.
Are any of the "Glee" folks pitching in jokes or anything?
Jane Lynch: Not yet. We've kind of been hunkering down with just getting what the show's going to look like and what will be in it, but we will be reaching out, I think, very, very soon.
Can you just tell me if there are any changes in the way the awards are presented?
Jane Lynch: There was talk about this and they kind of haven't bothered with me on it, but I think we're going to have some little things you haven't seen before that we'll introduce. All of the major categories-you know there's four major categories; drama, comedy, reality, and TV movie miniseries, and I think we're going to do something a little unique to launch those parts of the show.
Is there any aspect of hosting the show that particularly concerns you going in?
Jane Lynch: What I'm concerned about is I do well and don't make a fool of myself. I mean I trust my writers and everybody working on the show knows what they're doing. I've worked with this crew on The Emmy Awards last year, the Do Something Awards. Every time I've done an awards show, it's the exact same crew. They know what they're doing so I really feel like I'm in good hands. What concerns me, I want it to be interesting and funny and also serve the purpose of the show, which is to honor television and people in it, and make sure we keep the eye on that. But the little bites that we get to do something fun and funny, I feel responsible for those that those need to be entertaining.
How has working with Mark Burnett been so far and has he roped you into participating in any of his reality shows down the road?
Jane Lynch: He has not asked me for that, but he has just been the best producer. He has been a dream producer. He's gotten at a lot of money. He's really, really-there are things that creatively we wanted to do, and he said, "Just do it," and our people at Fox worked very well with Mark Burnett. It's just been a dream in that regard. We're getting everything we want, and it's just great. Not that we need like billions of dollars, but they have been really great in okaying our material and our little bits that we want to do. So Mark Burnett's just been great.
You spoke a little bit on your trying not to make a fool of yourself, but overall what is the goal when you're hosting an awards show? Is it more do you want to make a splash or are you really simply looking to avoid disaster?
Jane Lynch: No, I think you want to make a splash. I'd be lying if I didn't say that, "I want it to be the best award show ever." But we want it to be special. It's such a coveted spot, and it's like the biggest evening in television they call it. So you want to do it justice. I know I do. I'm humbled by it, and from being in this business long enough I think if you look at the big picture and you shoot past the doing and go to the results, I hope this is fabulous that you're not going to do very well. So I'm just staying in the moment and knocking out what I need to knock out and doing my best for each moment of it, and you take it a piece at a time. But I'd be lying if I didn't say I hope it's really a splash.
Obviously you're nominated yourself. Do you think that's going to affect your nerves on the night?
Jane Lynch: I think my nerves will mostly be focused towards doing the show. It's almost a relief not to have to think about having been nominated. I'm although very, very honored to be nominated and especially honored to be in the group that I'm in. I think they're just amazing actresses and there's such good television. And the network has some really good television too. It's not just HBO and Showtime, the shows that I usually watch, but I'm watching the network television a lot these days.
If you had to bet your house on something, who do you think is definitely going to win something this year?
Jane Lynch: Oh I have no idea. I have no idea, and I can't say I've given it one ounce of thought.
You mentioned that you've gone out to the "Glee" folks about participating. Any teases that you can give about how you see the cast participating in the show?
Jane Lynch: No I wouldn't do that. I wouldn't say that because first of all we haven't finalized it and I don't want to give anything away.
Are we going to get to see a 360 view of your talents in your hosting job?
Jane Lynch: You know I don't set out to do that and I don't think Jill Soloway or any of the writer's are setting out to do that, but we've got some things that are definitely different. But I didn't set out to like, "Let's show what I can do."
What is it that you think makes for a good host? Like what sort of qualities are you hoping to take on that you've seen work for others?
Jane Lynch: It's about the awards and the people who are getting the awards, and it's about entertaining in between but remembering that it's a night of celebration of this industry, and that's what we remind ourselves before every meeting that we have. You know that's what we're here for and my job as the hostess to move it along and just that kind of that background energy of "isn't this wonderful? Look what we're celebrating."
Now what was the most unexpected challenge of this gig? The thing that you never thought about when you said, "Yes," that you've been surprised about?
Jane Lynch: Oh, nothing's been a surprise yet. The particulars of what we're doing are all new and exciting, but I have not been surprised yet, like, "Oh my God I have to do that." So far I don't have to be propelled onto the stage or anything. So far it's like, "Okay, I can do that. I can do that."
Are we going to see you in a multitude of wardrobe changes throughout the ceremony?
Jane Lynch: You know when people asked me when I first got the gig if I'd be changing my dress every time I came out I was like, "Absolutely not." But I will be changing my dress every time I come out.
Can you personally relate to any of the storylines from the kids from "Glee?" Like have you seen anything from your youth come out, like play out on the show?
Jane Lynch: In the beginning with Tina, although I never stuttered, but she was always in the background and then every once and a while she'll step out and show what she's got, and I was kind of like that. I kind of hid, and then I would sneak out and go, "Look at me. Look at me." Of course my trajectory did not at all parallel what Kurt is going through, but I knew what it was like to be, you know have a really big, dark secret that even your best friend didn't know about. And that's so debilitating in high school and makes you feel so separate and alone. And Chris Colfer, as the young man and also the character, Kurt, has been so courageous in kind of stepping into his life and saying, "This is who I am Lima, Ohio, and take it or leave it." And they say, "We'll take it," which is kind of nice.
Do you have any upcoming singing, dancing performances on "Glee" this season?
Jane Lynch: Not that I know of. I haven't so far, and we're in episode three.
You get a little glamorous at the award shows and "Glee" you get to wear sportswear. If you could choose what you wore the most, what would it be, the glamorous or the sportswear?
Jane Lynch: Well as long as I look good in it I'd pick the sportswear. As long as it fits right.
Are you going to return in any previous shows because a lot of the shows you've been on like "Psych" and "Two and a Half Men" you've really stolen the show. Are there any opportunities for you to maybe go back to some previous characters and maybe appear again?
Jane Lynch: I love doing a bunch of them. I did a Two and a Half Men last year so that was really nice. The answer is I don't know, but I would like to. I sure would like to. It's hard to arrange schedules for that sort of a thing because we're all in production at the same time, but especially Criminal Minds, I would love to do it.
You made it sound like we're in the very early stages of planning out the Emmys, but can you tell us three things that we definitely will not see you do?
Jane Lynch: I probably won't wear a tracksuit. I probably won't do an elaborate dance number-what else won't happen? I hope you won't be bored.
A while back Ryan Murphy said that the "Glee" project winner would have a big story line with Sue, has that been confirmed in anything that you've seen so far? Do you know which one of the "Glee" project kids you're going to be working with?
Jane Lynch: We're in episode three, and I've not seen any evidence of it yet.
When you were young were you an awards show type of person? Like when you were a kid did you watch things like the Oscars, and Emmys, and Grammys? Did you find it exciting? Or were you the type of kid who just never would've watched any of that stuff?
Jane Lynch: I did watch it, and it filled me with anxiety. I had this kind of empathetic response, actually it was probably projection, but I was embarrassed for people. I feared people's-you know when someone gets up there and doesn't know what to say or isn't articulate or something. I would just suffer for them. Sometimes there would be such horrible musical numbers. I remember on year just a terrible music number with Snow White and I was like hiding under my couch. I was so embarrassed.
Now has your attitude-once you got into the business and started perhaps being nominated, perhaps winning these types of awards, has your attitude towards them changed at all?
Jane Lynch: Yes. They're easier to bear when you're there. They really are. They're easier to deal with because it's just a bunch of people sitting around, usually at a table; in the Emmys it's like in a theater, but when you watch it on the television box it seems like this huge, glamorous thing. And it is that huge, glamorous thing, but there's something about the TV lights that make it just this amazingly enchanted thing. But when you're there, you know, just kind of sitting in the middle of it, it doesn't have that feeling. It doesn't have that buzz. It's just kind of, "Oh, you're here doing this." I mean you're excited because you're getting to see all these stars, maybe you're nominated, but it's easier for me to bear to be in it.
Starting out on your career did you dare to dream that you would have achieved the success that you have and to be hosting on the Emmys? That's got to be marvelous for you.
Jane Lynch: I had always hoped that I would become as famous and work all the time, but they were just childhood dreams. And then when I started working in the business, it became all about the love of doing what I love to do, which is acting. So this is all just icing on the cake, and if and when all this hoopla goes away, I will still be acting. Whether I have to do a little play like in Pondale or something, I'll still be doing it. But when it comes right down to it, no, I did not expect it.
Is there anything you would've done over again or differently in your acting career if you could have from the beginning?
Jane Lynch: The only thing I would've changed is the anxiety that I used to have and the suffering and the fear that I wouldn't ever work again. I wish I could've erased that, but other than that I said, "Yes," to everything, even things maybe I should've said no to. And I've loved living the life as an actor.
This is a two-part question that I think is perfect for the last. That is could you give us one good reason why Sue Sylvester would be a better Emmys host than Jane Lynch, and then one good reason why Jane Lynch would be a better Emmys host than Sue Sylvester?
Jane Lynch: I'll say Jane Lynch will be nicer than Sue Sylvester. Sue Sylvester would make the show explosive and there would be something-you would walk away with a show you would never forget if it were Sue Sylvester, but it might be kind of war like and angry and violent. But I think a show with Jane Lynch would be a lot nicer and easier to digest.