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Masturbation Monologue Shocks Emmy Officials With AM-Emmys-List

August 26, 1991

PASADENA, Calif. (AP) _ Comedian Gilbert Gottfried’s unscripted, off-color monologue during the 43rd annual Emmy awards left show officials struggling Monday to develop policies to keep it from happening again.

″They were absolutely taken by surprise and shocked,″ said Murray Weissman, spokesman for the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. People at a post-show gala were ″buzzing about the bad taste of it,″ he said.

Gottfried’s routine about masturbation and Pee-wee Herman actor Paul Reubens’ recent arrest on an indecent exposure charge was seen live on the East Coast but cut from tape-delayed broadcasts in later time zones.

″Masturbation’s a crime, I should be on death row 3/8″ Gottfried said. ″To think that by age 14 I was already Al Capone 3/8″

Weissman said the academy may assign a full-time liaison to next year’s show producer to ″represent the academy’s interests.″

Fox Broadcasting Co. wouldn’t comment on the incident Monday.

Gottfried’s remarks threatened to overshadow Fox’s first ratings victory since it took over telecasting the awards from the three major networks in 1987.

Preliminary figures showed Fox’s Emmy broadcast was the most-watched program on television Sunday night. The three-hour ceremony earned a 15.5 rating representing 7 million homes, its highest marks on Fox. After the awards gala moved to Fox, ratings plummeted. Last year’s show was the lowest- rated of any Emmy broadcast.

Sunday’s highest number of awards went to NBC’s venerable barroom comedy ″Cheers,″ which won four Emmys and tied with ″Hill Street Blues″ for the second-most honored show in Emmy history. Both have 26 statuettes. ″The Mary Tyler Moore Show″ with 29 has the most.

Among trophies presented to ″Cheers″ were one for best comedy series and one each to stars Kirstie Alley and Bebe Neuwirth.

Miss Alley also made some provocative remarks - which went uncut - when she thanked actor-husband Parker Stevenson ″for giving me the big one for eight years.″

Her statement became a running joke for the rest of the show.

Upon accepting the best comedy actor prize for his work on CBS’ ″Evening Shade,″ Burt Reynolds thanked actress-wife Loni Anderson ″for giving me the big one for 10 years.″

Dennis Miller, one of the show’s three hosts, closed the program, saying: ″Well, it’s time for all of us to go home and get a little big one.″

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