Emmy nominees for lead actress in a comedy series Tina Fey, Martha Plimpton,… (Mario Anzuoni / Reuters )
Hey, Amy Poehler, jump the gun much?
At Sunday night's Emmy Awards, it seemed as if Poehler, nominated for lead comedy actress, marched purposefully onto the stage to pick up a trophy she thought was hers. Or believed should be?
The assembled audience inside the Nokia Theatre didn't seem to know if Poehler had gone rogue, making a statement with feet planted on the stage and defiant expression on her face. Her body language said, "That hardware's mine!"
The question mark continued as each nominee — "30 Rock's" Tina Fey, "The Big C's" Laura Linney, "Nurse Jackie's" Edie Falco, "Raising Hope's" Martha Plimpton and "Mike & Molly's" Melissa McCarthy — made her way to Poehler's side. The glittery line of powerhouse female comics stood gleefully beside presenters Rob Lowe and Sofia Vergara.
As it turns out, the "Parks and Recreation" star's moment was part of a planned setup that brought all six nominees excitedly running to the stage in a pageant-style riff, a first-of-its-kind comic bit for the award show. It ended when McCarthy actually did win. Her coronation included a tiara, long-stemmed red roses and tears — real ones! — that followed through on the theme.
"Holy smokes. Wow, this is my first and best pageant ever," a breathless McCarthy said. "I'm from Plainfield, Ill., and I'm standing here and it's kind of amazing."
A short time later, Mike Shoemaker, formerly of "Saturday Night Live" and current writer-producer on "Late Night With Jimmy Fallon," put out a tweet that confirmed a prearranged stage rush.
"My brilliant friend Amy Poehler pulled that whole thing together," Shoemaker wrote. "What a great moment."
McCarthy talked about it backstage. "I think I heard it first through Martha [Plimpton]," she said. "She said, Amy has an idea. Before I heard it, I was like, I'm in. Amy Poehler says something is funny? I'll do it."
Its not Poehler's first Emmy gag. Two years ago, she talked her fellow nominees into donning goofy glasses as their names were read. Kristen Wiig went with a monocle, Elizabeth Perkins wore coke-bottle lenses and Poehler chose an eye patch.
McCarthy, a fan favorite and breakout star from the raunchy summer comedy hit "Bridesmaids," has helped propel "Mike & Molly" to solid-performer status on CBS' schedule. It's her first leading turn on TV after having played a number of sidekicks and supporting characters on shows such as "Samantha Who?" and "Gilmore Girls."
The actress, who logged time at the Groundlings improv troupe in Los Angeles, has been cast in another risque comedy, Judd Apatow's spinoff to the mega-hit "Knocked-Up." She'll also be seen in the film "The ID Theft." In that project, she'll star opposite Jason Bateman in a role originally written for a man but reworked for her. Fans are still flocking to her "Bridesmaids" outtakes on the website FunnyOrDie, where she hilariously and profanely tosses out bridal party ideas.