All the best of gallows humor was there, with references to low viewership, pleadings for viewers not to use the remote, reminders to watch the show again next year.
A couple of years ago, "30 Rock"'s Tiny Fey thanked the "dozens and dozens" of viewers who watched her low-rated TV show. Sunday night Ricky Gervais, founder/producer of "The Office," thanked TV syndication for the big checks that arrive in his mailbox.
"They say syndication is not what it used to be," he said. "Take another look. Audit." He noted the joke probably only resonated with the 5,000 or so in attendance, and "not for the 5,000 people sitting at home."
The Emmys act seems to follows that of self-deprecating comics, a little old-style Woody Allen.
But what the Emmys don't realize is what Woody Allen said when out of character. He noted once that even though a stand-up comedian might seem to be bombing, when the audience seems quiet, "you actually aren't doing as bad as you think."
Probably the same is true of TV. Sure broadcast ratings are down on average, and viewers are time-shifting more, or going to other digital media, but TV does surprise.
NBC scored big results from last summer's Olympics; the Super Bowl hit another new viewership record this past year; Fox's TV usage has never been higher; and "Family Guy" still gets almost 200,000 complaints because of content, according to reports.
All this is good news. Everyone cares in one way or another.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus -- who was a presenter with Amy Poehler -- said: "Amy and I are honored to be presenting on the last official year of network broadcast television."
The show might have seen a rise in ratings because of going back to a traditional single-host format with Neil Patrick Harris. A more honest analysis makes it a funnier show to watch, even if only 5,000 -- or maybe a few more -- people get the joke.