Inside the TCA Awards: Phoebe Waller-Bridge Is the Best, Michelle Williams Shouts Out ‘Full House’

Plus: Some advice from our favorite “Russian Doll,” John Oliver takes a(nother) shot at HBO, and Desus & Mero do “Desus & Mero”

tca awards 2019

The 2019 TCA Awards have all been handed out, but there was more to see Saturday than just some trophy presentations. TheWrap was in attendance at the Beverly Hilton’s International Ballroom, where Showtime late-night hosts Desus & Mero emceed the annual summer event.

Here’s what else we witnessed:

We’re All Winners!
Well, not really — but here’s the complete list of people who did win.

Take a Seat, Desus & Mero
Our hosts performed their monologue on a pair of chairs with some booze at the ready betwixt them. Desus Nice wore a traditional tux with the bowtie undone. The Kid Mero rocked a nice suit and tie beneath his trademark ball cap. Mero was quick to point out that he even wore his lone pair of dress socks for the occasion. Nice touch.

The two opened the show with a modification of their premium-TV schtick, only this time rolling clips from TCA Award-nominated programs and cracking wise about them. The game audience of critics and network executives was warm for the fellas, though, truth be told, the actual jokes left quite a bit to be desired.

Later, the guys returned to throw out Little Debbie Honey Buns to the attendees. Those sticky Frisbees sure could fly.

PWB Is a G-O-D
Phoebe Waller-Bridge, creator and star of Amazon Prime Video’s “Fleabag” charmed the (jumpsuit) pants off the TCA when she honored us with her presence to accept multiple awards on behalf of her comedy series Saturday night. Waller-Bridge beamed when her speech for Individual Achievement in Comedy — her first trophy of the night — was proceeded by the “Fleabag” theme music, which she cooed “takes me back to the confessional.”

No, she didn’t bring the Hot Priest with her, but her British charm was more than enough to make up for His Holiness’ absence.

Waller-Bridge proved herself even sweeter to the crowd when she requested Amazon Studios execs Jennifer Salke, Albert Chang and Vernon Sanders join her to accept the final award of the night, “Fleabag’s” trophy for Program of the Year award: “Please come up. It will mean a lot to me if you do.”

Michelle Williams Warms Our Cold, Tired Hearts
“Dawson’s Creek” alum Michelle Williams was incredibly touching in her acceptance speech for Individual Achievement in Drama. The “Fosse/Verdon” star told the story of when she was 10 and only wanted to be on a TV series like “Full House” (she also title-dropped “MacGyver” and “Murder, She Wrote”), if just for the loving on-screen family.

Well, Williams eventually got the support she always wanted on her FX miniseries, pointing out that she and male lead Sam Rockwell, the TV brother she always wanted, were paid equally. That got a big applause break from the roomful of those who help lead the way for such financial parity in the entertainment industry.

John Oliver Mocks the One Nice Thing We Have, Demands Answers From His Own Network
The TCA was given the chance to get ready ahead of the annual awards with a special day of pampering at the Beverly Hilton, courtesy of Hulu — an activity HBO late-night host John Oliver finds hilarious.

During a pre-taped acceptance speech for Outstanding Achievement in Sketch/Variety Shows, Oliver poked fun at the idea of critics getting “pedicures with the cast of ‘The Handmaid’s Tale.’”

Ever the equal-opportunity insulter, he also made sure to rip his own network while thanking TCA for the prize.

“When is ‘Confederate’ coming?” he wanted us to ask his HBO bosses. “I think we all want to know that.”

Fortunately for HBO Entertainment chief Casey Bloys, his executive session at the lengthy TCA press tour was, like, a week and a half ago.

First announced by HBO in July 2017 — and not mentioned very much since — the series from “Game of Thrones” creators D.B. Weiss and David Benioff envisions an alternate reality in which the South successfully seceded from the Union and slavery still exists. The still-in-development show received immediate backlash on social media, getting #NoConfederate trending on Twitter, as some called the concept of the project racist.

Natasha Lyonne Offers Some Sage Advice
When the “Russian Doll” team stepped up to the mic to accept their award for the Outstanding New Program, the co-creator and star took her moment in the spotlight to wax philosophical with a sense of humor — much like her Netflix time-loop comedy does.
“Live a little because we’re all gonna die,” Lyonne said, a clear nod to the continuous plight of her character, Nadia.
Lyonne and fellow co-creator Amy Poehler also announced Season 2 of “Russian Doll” will be based on “2001: A Space Odyssey” — which we’re 99.9% sure is a joke. Maybe.