Jane Lynch Talks About Hosting the 2011 Emmy Awards

She might play a mean-spirited cheer-leading coach on the hit series Glee, but the real-life Jane Lynch is a gracious hostess with the mostess. The actress will be emceeing the 2011 Emmy Awards on Fox on Sept. 18 at 8 PM ET. We chatted with Lynch about the sensational show, her many wardrobe changes, and what tips her Glee alter-ego would give her.

Last year at the Emmys, one of the big hits was the opening number with you and Jimmy Fallon and the whole Glee gang. At this point, are you able to confirm any sort of follow up to that in your version of the Emmys?
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.

Wondering if you’ve had any input from previous Emmy hosts regarding what you can expect and if they gave you any hosting tips?
No, I haven’t had—and I know several of them. I know Neil, and Ellen, and Jimmy, and Jimmy sent me flowers, but not really. No, nobody has given me any tips.

If Sue Sylvester were to give you advice on hosting the gig, what would her tips be?
'Find a way to give all of the awards to yourself,' I think, would probably be her advice.

Who’s helping you with your material for the telecast?
Jill Soloway, who’s a good old friend. 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 are kind of my touchstones and Jill’s directing the thing we’re doing today that she has written it. And it’s just great to be working with her. I’m in good hands.

Can you just tell me if there are any changes in the way the awards are presented?
There was talk about this and they kind of haven’t bothered me with 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?
What I’m concerned about is that I do well and that I 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 Emmys last year, and on 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 good hands.

What concerns me is that 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. But the little bites that we get to do something fun and funny, I feel responsible for making them fun and entertaining.

You’re nominated yourself. Do you think that’s going to affect your nerves on that night?
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 if you had to bet your house on something, who do you think is definitely going to win something this year?
Oh I have no idea. I have no idea, and I can’t say I’ve given it one ounce of thought.

What is it that you think makes for a good host?
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 is to move it along.

Are you going to see you in a multitude of wardrobe changes throughout the ceremony?
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.

I was wondering when you were young were you an awards show type of person? 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?
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 for people —you know when someone gets up there and doesn’t know what to say or isn’t articulate. I would just suffer for them. Sometimes there would be such horrible musical numbers. I remember one year just a terrible music number with Snow White and I was hiding under my couch. I was so embarrassed.

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?
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.