by McKenna Aiello | Thu., Sep. 15, 2016 5:00 AM
Quick! Who won the Emmy for Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series during the 2010 telecast?
You might be unable to recall that awards show trivia at the drop of a hat (For the record, it was Bryan Cranston in Breaking Bad), but there is a chance you haven't forgotten Jimmy Fallon's totally epic opening number alongside the cast of Glee even six years later.
So when the curtains close on television's most hotly-anticipated evening every September, our memory of the lengthy winners' list may fade, but it's the comedian at the forefront of the spectacle that keeps us tuning into the Emmys year after year.
From Ellen DeGeneres' historically poignant performance following the 9/11 terrorist attacks to Neil Patrick Harris' jazzy song and dance number in 2009, we've rounded up five of the most incredible Emmys opening and monologues below:
Jimmy Fallon (2010):
If you've ever wanted to relive the mania that was America's obsession with Glee in the early '10s, look no further. The Ryan Murphy-helmed Fox series was nominated for a whopping 11 Emmys that year, so it's no wonder the late-night host tapped its stars, including the late Cory Monteith, for an opening number that has since become an essential time capsule in understanding that hilarious (and arguably embarrassing) era of television. Not to mention Jimmy's finale rendition of "Born to Run" by Bruce Springsteen. Rock on, Fallon.
Ellen DeGeneres (2001):
If we learned anything from the 2001 Emmys, it's that laughter is truly the best medicine. DeGeneres had quite the task ahead of her when she hosted the twice-rescheduled awards show amid one of the nation's most unimaginable tragedies, 9/11. The comedienne handled the situation with poise, striking an expertly-achieved balance between humor and remorse. "They can't take away our creativity, our striving for excellence, our joy," she told the audience. "Only network executives can do that."
Neil Patrick Harris (2009):
With four Tonys, two Emmys and one Academy Awards telecast under his belt, NPH has become a tried and true hosting talent when it comes to upping the "It" factor of any given awards show. To put it simply, he's a sheer delight onstage, and the 2009 Emmys was no exception. The How I Met Your Mother alum had the entire Microsoft Theater in complete stitches with his opening song and dance number that touched on his admiration for Mad Men stars Christina Hendricks and of course, Jon Hamm.
Conan O' Brien (2006):
The beloved comedian returned to the Emmys' hosting spot for a second time in 2006, this time with an not-to-be-missed opening skit parodying television's biggest shows at the time. We saw Conan marooned on a deserted island à la Lost, only to find himself smack dab in the middle of The Office and later as an animated South Park character. What can we say; we're suckers for a classic awards show mashup.
Jimmy Kimmel (2012):
Pair Kimmel with Christina Hendricks, Mindy Kaling, Lena Dunham, Connie Britton, Kathy Bates and Zooey Deschanel and what do you get? Pure Emmys gold, that's what. In a move some considered somewhat racy for the otherwise squeaky clean program, Jimmy pushed the envelope ever so slightly with this hilarious opener. It's safe to say the late-night host has his work cut out for him ahead of Sunday's telecast, where he'll host the Emmys for a second time.