The 74th Peabody Awards, held Sunday in New York, was a night of firsts: the awards’ first evening ceremony, its first red carpet, the first podcast awarded a Peabody—and a first kiss between Tina Fey and Amy Schumer, which happened onstage when Fey presented Schumer with a Peabody for Inside Amy Schumer.
“I really wanted to come down here tonight, and in a Madonna kind of way, try to like feed off her youth and maybe suck her soul out in a very awkward, staged lesbian kiss,” Fey said before Schumer went on stage. “But when I pitched that idea to Amy’s camp, they came back with such an immediate yes that it kind of grossed me out.” The kiss happened anyway, to cheers from the audience. (After all, no award show is complete without an impromptu makeout session.)
The Peabody Awards, which celebrate excellence in broadcasting and electronic media storytelling, announce their winners weeks in advance, which meant guests arrive in a light mood—despite the flash flood warnings and downpour that nearly soaked through the red carpet Sunday night.
“God, it’s like the world is ending. This is the fanciest thing I’ve ever been to, but I guess the world is gonna end so it doesn’t matter,” Schumer told EW, laughing. “But no. It’s really cool, we’re all so proud of the show.”
Other show creators echoed her comments. “It’s honestly somewhat disarming and humbling to be here,” The Americans’ co-showrunner Joel Fields said. “We look at the history of these awards and we look at the other honorees tonight and it means either a grave mistake has been made, which we hope not, or we’re in some really remarkable company.”
That company included scripted dramas like Cinemax’s The Knick and Sundance TV’s Rectify, documentaries tackling subjects like ISIS and Ebola, shows celebrating Latino voices (including Jane the Virgin), and audio programming from WNYC and Serial. Sarah Koenig and her team accepted the podcast’s award from Cecily Strong, who famously impersonated Koenig in a sketch on Saturday Night Live. Before introducing Koenig, Strong did her impression again, telling the crowd, “It’s the Peabodys; it’s that kind of night.”
Inside, host Fred Armisen—who previously won a Peabody in 2011—acknowledged the reimagined nature of the Peabody Awards in his monologue. He asked his fellow attendees, including Neil DeGrasse Tyson—who was there to accept a Peabody for Cosmos—to put up with a dumbed-down version of the prestigious award. “When they announced I was gonna be hosting, people were like, ‘Oh, that’s the Peabodys, that’s like, all brainy and intellectual,’” he said. “You know what, I say ‘no.’ We do not have to take this. We can be idiots too.”
Though it was a longer show than planned—the ceremony took about three and a half hours to finish—most guests stayed behind even after all the awards had been handed out. Schumer mingled with a line of guests waiting to take pictures with her, while John Oliver, who accepted a Peabody for Last Week Tonight, chatted with Charlie Rose, who presented him with his award.
As for Armisen? Though he stood on stage for the entire show to introduce each winner with a clip before their acceptance speeches, he wasn’t worn out by the evening’s end. “I enjoyed it,” he told EW afterward. “What made it fun for me was Amy Schumer, who was sitting right in front of me… It was like being in a classroom. I had great time.”
Highlights from the award ceremony will air on Pivot June 21.