LOS ANGELES - What is "Two and a Half Men" with Jon Cryer and without Charlie Sheen? Really good was the Emmy Awards verdict Sunday as Cryer claimed the best comedy actor trophy.
"Don't panic, people. Something has clearly gone terribly wrong. I'm stunned," said Cryer, who on the red carpet before the show has expressed confidence he wouldn't win. Among others, he beat out two-time winner Jim Parsons of "The Big Bang Theory."
Ashton Kutcher, who joined the show after Sheen was fired, wasn't nominated.
Actor Jon Cryer, winner of Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series backstage at the 64th Primetime Emmy Awards at the Nokia Theatre on Sunday in Los Angeles.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus was honored as best actress in comedy for "Veep" and she and fellow nominee Amy Poehler of "Parks and Recreation" pretended to switch their speech notes.
On the drama side, Aaron Paul won best supporting drama actor for "Breaking Bad." ''Homeland" won the best writing award and its leading actor Damian Lewis also won, beating Steve Buscemi, Bryan Cranston and Jon Hamm. Maggie Smith of "Downton Abbey" won for best supporting actress in a drama series.
"Thank you Hollywood for allowing me to be part of your group," said Paul, noting he'd moved from Idaho to pursue his dreams.
"Modern Family" made it look easy as the comedy's Eric Stonestreet and Julie Bowen claimed supporting actor awards, although there was at least a minor backlash online as some questioned whether the show had a deserving season.
Stonestreet was funny and touching as he accepted for his role as half of a devoted gay couple.
"I wouldn't be standing here without Jesse Tyler Ferguson, there is no Cam without Mitch," he said, saluting his co-star. "We get the awesome opportunity to play these two characters on TV and show America and the world what a loving couple we can be just like everybody else."
Then he turned saucy: "I never knew I'd be on TV as a gay man, but I love the pictures of hairy chests you guys are sending me, it's really amazing. Thank you for those."
Among reality competitors, "The Amazing Race" was honored as best reality series, ninth time in 10 nominations for the award. Tom Bergeron of "Dancing With the Stars" won as best host of a reality series.
"Family Guy" creator Seth MacFarlane found presenting can be tricky.
"Oh, the mic's over there," he said, after discovering he was on the wrong side of the stage. "This is what happens when you don't come to rehearsal," MacFarlane said.
Fashionistas noticed yellow was hot, the color of choice for Julianne Moore, a pregnant Claire Danes, Julie Bowen and Hannah Simone from "New Girl."
"Best hair and makeup goes to Claine Danes. Perfect!" tweeted Emma Roberts.
The show started with bathroom humor: A filmed bit with Kathy Bates, Zooey Deschanel and other nominated actresses prepping in the restroom, then discovering a weeping Jimmy Kimmel lamenting a Botox reaction he said would keep him off stage as host.
"You look beautiful," he was reassured. "You look like a 'Real Housewife.'"
Viewers of the skit may have been puzzled by a nude Lena Dunham, the creator-star of "Girls," who's routinely brave about showing skin on the HBO comedy.
Standup comic Louis C.K. won the Emmy for best comedy writing for "Louie."
Kimmel set up one of the night's best filmed comedy bits by musing on what "Breaking Bad" would have been like had it aired in a G-rated, pre-cable era.
The answer: a spoof of the opening to "The Andy Griffith Show," with "Breaking Bad" stars Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul, fully suited up to cook crystal meth, out at the lake with their fishing poles as the "Andy Griffith" whistling theme song was heard.
As a pungent punchline, they shot dead an unexpected witness: a friendly deputy billed as co-star Don Knotts.
HBO came into the night with a leading 17 creative arts Emmys from a Sept. 15 ceremony honoring technical and other achievements. CBS was second with 13, followed by PBS with 11. Discovery received six awards, NBC got five and ABC and the Cartoon Network won four each. Fox received two trophies.
Emmy has to prove herself a winner with the audience. After rebounding somewhat to 13.5 million viewers in 2010 after an all-time low in 2008 of 12.3 million, last year's show drew 12.4 million viewers airing on Fox. The ceremony rotates annually among the four major networks.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.