Interview: Jane Lynch on Hosting the Emmy Awards, ‘Glee’ and What Would Happen If All the “Hoopla” Went Away

"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."

With Jane Lynch hosting the 63 Primetime Emmy Awards, might we see some of her Glee castmates?

“I bet there will be an appearance,” she said in a conference call to promote her upcoming hosting duties. “I’ve pitched a couple of ideas for the Glee cast.”

Lynch, nominated herself for Supporting Actress in a Comedy, said that since she’s the host, “It’s almost a relief not to have to think about having been nominated. My nerves will mostly be focused toward doing the show.”

She also talked about the upcoming season of Glee and if she would do anything different early in her career.

The 63rd Primetime Emmy Awards will air on Sunday, September 18 at 8 PM ET/5PM PT on Fox.

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 Emmys, 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.

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.

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.

Is the cast of  “Glee” going to be involved at all in the Emmy production?

Jane Lynch: As of now, we’re still putting together those pieces, and I’ve pitched a couple of ideas for the “Glee” cast.  So I bet there’ll be an appearance.

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 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.

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.

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 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.

What is it that you think makes for a good host? 

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.”

Can personally relate to any of the storylines from “Glee?”  Like have you seen anything from your youth come 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, 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.

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.

Can you tell us three things that we definitely will not see you do on the Emmys?

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.

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?  

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?

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.

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