How Phoebe Waller-Bridge and ‘Fleabag’ Owned the Emmys

How Phoebe Waller-Bridge and ‘Fleabag’ Owned the Emmys

Phoebe Waller-Bridge is in a lot of pain, but it hurts so good, she promises.

“I find writing really, really hard and really painful, but I’d like to say just honestly from the bottom of my heart that the reason that I do it is this,” she said onstage at the Emmys Sunday night, giving a sly nod to the statuette she’d just received for best writing in a comedy series for “Fleabag.”

That was her first award during what would become a breakout night for Waller-Bridge, who also starred in the series about the unraveling of a sex-obsessed and grief-stricken 20-something woman.

“It’s just really wonderful to know — and reassuring — that a dirty, pervy, angry, messed up woman can make it to the Emmys,” she said.

Waller-Bridge was back onstage moments later, accepting the Emmy for lead actress in a comedy, beating out favorites that included Rachel Brosnahan (“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”) and blocking Julia Louis-Dreyfus (“Veep”) from breaking the record for most Emmy wins for acting. (Louis-Dreyfus remains tied with Cloris Leachman — both have eight awards.)

During this speech, Waller-Bridge, 34, echoed her earlier sentiment about the challenges of writing, saying that she also finds acting “really hard and really painful.”

“To be nominated with these unbelievable actresses who I have just looked up to and watched and laughed at, with, for so many years means so much,” she went on, before thanking her “‘Fleabag’ family.”

Her streak didn’t end there. “Fleabag,” which streams on Amazon, also won the Emmy for best comedy series, a major upset for “Veep,” which had its series finale in May.

“Well, this is just getting ridiculous,” said Waller-Bridge, accepting her third and final statuette of the night. (She was nominated for a fourth, for outstanding drama series for Season 1 of “Killing Eve,” which she helped write and create.)

“‘Fleabag’ started as a one-woman show at the Edinburgh Festival in 2014, and the journey has been absolutely mental to get here,” she said. “And I just want to say a huge thank you to everyone who has been involved, everyone who is standing behind me here, this unbelievable team.”

She also gave a special shout-out to Andrew Scott, whose character fans simply call “hot priest.”

“Season 2 would not have happened or exploded in the way that it did if it wasn’t for Andrew Scott, who came into this, into our ‘Fleabag’ world, like a whirlwind, and gave a performance of such depth and complexity that just elevated the whole thing for all of us.” (Season 2, by the way, is supposed to be the show’s last.)

Somewhere in between Waller-Bridge’s big night, “Fleabag” earned another Emmy, this time for Harry Bradbeer, who took the award for best directing for a comedy series. “I think for a director, something like ‘Fleabag’ only comes along once in your life,” he said. To Waller-Bridge, he added: “Thank you for coming into my life like some glorious grenade.”

Nancy Coleman contributed reporting.

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