Cedric the Entertainer pays tribute to ‘best friend’ television with 2021 Emmys opening number

The 73rd Annual Primetime Emmy Awards have begun with a musical tribute to host Cedric the Entertainer’s “best friend” — television — which has gotten us through the pandemic.

Joined by Rita Wilson, LL Cool J and Lil Dicky, Cedric the Entertainer rapped along to the late Biz Markie‘s ‘Just A Friend’ in celebration of what brought everyone together in tough times.

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“I watch you so much I forgot how to read,” Cedric the Entertainer joked, as audience members whipped out microphones and sang along to “TV, you got what I need.” Watch above.

Mandy Moore and her red gown were spotted getting down to the new anthem, as Rita Wilson shouted out Bert and Ernie’s speculated relationship on Sesame Street.

Anthony Anderson, Tracee Ellis-Ross and Mj Rodriguez also joined in on the fun.

Billy Porter, who is nominated for Outstanding Lead Actor In A Drama Series for his role as Pray Tell in Pose, harmonised to the main chorus in his all-black ensemble while audience members danced to the tune.

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This year is the first time the Emmys have been hosted in-person since the coronavirus pandemic, though there are some aspects of the ceremony that are virtual due to capacity limits.

Last year, the Emmy Awards was hosted virtually as Hollywood took precautions against COVID-19.

This year, attendees have been limited to 600 by the TV Academy, and all guests were required to have a negative COVID-19 text, taken 48 hours prior to the ceremony, and show proof of vaccination.

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Cedric the Entertainer joked about the COVID-19 vaccine requirements in his monologue after the song.

“We had to get vaxed to come here,” he said.

“I did not have a reaction like Nicki Minaj’s cousin… I got Pfizer, that’s the Neiman Marcus of vaccines. Moderna is Macy’s. And Johnson & Johnson is TJ Maxx.”

Today’s ceremony is the latest in a long list of celebrations that highlight how show business is moving on from the pandemic, with last week’s MTV Video Music Awards and rescheduled Met Gala kicking off a new wave of face-to-face events.

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