The Emmy Awards have opened without a host as promised, but Homer Simpson, Anthony Anderson and Bryan Cranston shared the show’s kick-off duties, while Ben Stiller took jabs from Bob Newhart.

“I’m still alive,” Newhart told Stiller, who introduced him as part of a wax museum comedy hall of fame that included Lucille Ball and other late legends.

An animated Homer Simpson made a brief appearance on stage until he was abruptly crushed, with Anderson of “black-ish” rushing in to, as he vowed, rescue the evening.

He called in Breaking Bad star Cranston on stage to tout the power of television from its beginning to the current golden age.

“Television has never been bigger. Television has never mattered more. And television has never been this damn good,” Cranston said.

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The first award, for best supporting actor in a comedy, went to Tony Shalhoub for The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.

Shalhoub’s co-star Alex Borstein then won the best supporting comedy actress award, with the early honours for the show coming on a night that could belong to HBO’s Game of Thrones which has a record 32 nominations.

The fantasy saga collected 10 awards at last weekend’s creative arts ceremony for technical and other achievements.

AAP