Harris made a big splash opening the Emmy Awards in 2009 with a striking song and dance number, showing off his Broadway chops better than Billy Crystal at the Oscars. He looked great in a tuxedo and manages to work a devilish charm while teasing Hollywood’s A list stars. The “Put Down the Remote” number was a big hit for Neil and started the evening off on a great note.
One of the funniest numbers to ever appear on the Tony Awards was this number from this year’s Tony Awards. Neil was joined by Andrew Rannells, Laura Benanti, and Megan Hilty, who all sang about leaving New York for prime time television careers only to find their shows cancelled after one season (two, in Benanti’s case). The clever parody of Broadway songs was just a brilliant mashup about the reality of the entertainment industry. It also underscored Neil’s rare position in Hollywood as someone who is able to straddle both theater and television successfully.
The opening numbers for the Tony Awards seem to get grander every year, and NPH started off this year’s number with a sly joke about Shia LeBeouf’s aborted Broadway career before launching into a montage of tributes to the honorees. He showed off the sweet side of his voice in the reference to “Once” and delivered on his promise for a bigger and better opening. He even manages some cheerleading moves and dances alongside Mike Tyson!
NPH made a sly jab at the awards by joking that it was great of them to have a gay man hosting the show two years in a row, and then said “You’re doing great, Jimmy,” to Jimmy Fallon. Jimmy plays along with a cute expression, and the audience’s love for NPH is obvious.
NPH is joined by multiple Tony-winner Audra McDonald for this pretty amazing closing number from the 2013 Tony Awards. Who knew that NPH could rap, too? It seems like he can do just about anything!
Tony Awards, 2011, Opening Number
NPH introduced himself in this opening number as “teen heartthrob Neil Patrick Harris,” and then spun out a fantastically funny number about how Broadway is “Not Just For Gays Anymore.” It’s not Brooke Shields’s finest moment, but the shots of other famous celebrities in the audience like Al Pacino and Bono were cheery and adorable. There is something about NPH’s energy that makes everyone want to join in the fun.
Emmy Awards, 2009, NPH vs. Jon Cryer
Even when he loses an award he is nominated for, NPH manages to find the funny. In this moment from 2009, he congratulates Two and a Half Men star Jon Cryer, who had just beaten Neil to win an Emmy. Cryer gamely responds from the press room, and it is a light and silly moment. This type of natural humor makes the audience feel like Neil is a beloved friend rather than a cool, unapproachable star, and it is part of what makes him so likeable and entertaining as a host.
Keely Herrick is a freelance writer. Her work can be found on Examiner.com. “