You know you’ve arrived when your name becomes a verb. But this is probably not the kind of fame Kanye West was looking for. Even though he was nowhere to be seen at Sunday night’s Emmy Awards, ‘Ye was on many people’s lips as the phrase “pull a Kanye West” became the go-to shorthand for rude awards-show behavior.
Host Neil Patrick Harris whipped it out just a few minutes into the three-hour broadcast, quipping, “All right, it’s my job to keep things moving tonight. I’m here to ensure everything runs smoothly. Here’s hoping Kanye West likes ’30 Rock.’ ”
The reference, of course, was to West’s bum-rush of Taylor Swift at last weekend’s VMAs, which has very quickly become an online punching bag and super-meme, as well as another badge of dishonor for the very “passionate” rapper.
While talking to Ryan Seacrest for the E!’s red-carpet show, actress Christina Applegate pondered, “I just have to wonder: Who’s gonna pull a Kanye?” And the joke resurfaced when “Survivor” host Jeff Probst, who was up against Seacrest in the reality host competition, warned, “If Ryan wins, I’m pulling a Kanye.”
Veteran actor Ken Howard got in on the action too, while picking up a statue for Best Supporting Actor in a Miniseries for the HBO drama “Grey Gardens.” Going for the rude outburst twofer, he included the “You lie!” outburst from Representative Joe Wilson during President Obama’s speech two weeks ago. “I will make my speech as brief as possible in the hope that it won’t be interrupted by a congressman or a rapper,” he said.
Even Justin Timberlake got in on the action when he came onstage to accept previously announced awards for himself and Tina Fey for their guest stints on “Saturday Night Live.” Deferring to the “30 Rock” star and Sarah Palin impersonator, Timberlake said, “Yo, T, Imma let you finish … I’m gonna let you finish anyway.”
Also joking about a possible Kanye moment, Emmy winner Alec Baldwin told E! before the show that if someone pulled a Kanye on him, he’d roll with it “only if it’s Tracy Morgan. I’m sure there will be a lot of Kanye jokes in the opening. We don’t want to screw that up.”