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2010
SUNDAY, JUNE 13, 2010
Live at Radio City Music Hall

What’s Up, Sean Hayes? The Promises, Promises Star on Stepping Out as Tony Host

What’s Up, Sean Hayes? The Promises, Promises Star on Stepping Out as Tony Host
Sean Hayes

With seven Emmy nominations (one win), six Golden Globe nominations and a whopping 11 SAG Award nominations (four wins) for his work on TV’s Will & Grace already under his belt, Sean Hayes is no stranger to award shows. But this Sunday, the Broadway newbie, who is starring in the hit revival of Promises, Promises, will be playing the role of “host” for the first time in his career when he emcees the 2010 Tony Awards live from Radio City Music Hall on CBS. But he’s not just the face of this year’s show, he’s also a first-time nominee. So, is the pressure getting to him? Broadway.com investigates.

You’re hosting the Tonys! Any nerves?
I’m not really nervous. Should I be nervous?

I don’t know. It’s kind of a high-pressure gig.
I don’t really care because I’ve never had any aspirations to be a host and I’m just going to go in and have a really great time and hopefully everyone else will, too.

Did you watch the Tonys as a kid?
Not really so much the Tonys but, you know, the Oscars. I used to watch those a lot.

What do you think makes a good host? What are the essential elements?
Jokes. Good jokes.

OK, so how are you getting that done?
Oh my God. I haven’t even started! [Laughs.] No, we’re halfway there and we’ve got a few more days. We’re good.

Are you walking around, testing jokes out on people?
Yeah, I like to tell everybody my material before I try it. [Laughs.] No, I have a great set of writers and friends helping me. The great thing about awards shows is that literally the next day, no one can tell you anything about them.

Any thoughts on this year’s awards? Any shows that you’ve liked?
The only thing I saw was Red, which was really good. I haven’t seen anything because I’m in a show.

Yes, speaking of Promises, Promises, we’re outraged that your talented co-star Kristin Chenoweth was snubbed. Did you at least yell at the Tony people before accepting the hosting job?
[Laughs.] People just don’t get it. They want to keep you in a box, so if you challenge yourself as an actor, they get wigged out. Well, at least critics do. But you know, critics aren’t the brightest people. The thing about our show is that people decided it was a hit before the critics did and they didn’t like that.

But it’s a hit! At the end of the day, who cares?
That’s right. We’re in the top five every week.

So can you reveal anything exciting about the Tony show?
We’re going to showcase as many shows currently running as possible to hopefully excite and lure people to New York to support Broadway.

Last year Bret Michaels had that terrible headbang. Any craziness planned for this year?
We’re planning on things going a lot wrong.

Plans to injury anybody?
Not during the show.

Are you personally rooting for anybody? Maybe Sean Hayes?
No. I literally will go home the same person I arrived, with or without an award. It’s wonderful to be recognized, but it’s not why I do it.

There’s always stress about the low Tony ratings. This year, it’s up against the season premiere of True Blood on HBO. Any thoughts on how to get the fang-bangers over to the sunny side of the street?
Um. Yeah, we’re going to be biting people’s necks. I guess? Is that what you’re looking for me to say? Once again…

You’re not worrying about it.
I don’t worry about any of it. I’m there to have a good time and Monday will come and I promise you, nobody will remember what happened on Sunday!

Well, have a great time!
Thanks, pal.