Melissa McCarthy Wins Emmy's First 'Best Pageant Ever'

09/18/2011 at 09:15 PM EDT

Emmys: Melissa McCarthy Wins for Mike & Molly at Emmy Awards
Melissa McCarthy on Emmy night

Tina Fey

Tina Fey

Melissa McCarthy: Emmy winner ... and pageant queen!

When the Mike & Molly star, 41, accepted her first-ever Emmy for her outstanding lead actress on the CBS sitcom at Sunday's ceremony, presenters Sofia Vergara and Rob Lowe crowned the comedienne with a diamond tiara and gave her a bouquet of roses to go with her new hardware.

"I'm sorry. I'm a crier," she said as she accepted her award on the stage she shared with fellow nominees Laura Linney, Edie Falco, Amy Poehler, Martha Plimpton and new mom Tina Fey.

The ladies all stood in (funny) solidarity, clutching hands as the winner was announced live at L.A.'s Nokia Theatre, a stunt cooked up between Plimpton and Poehler over dinner recently, the Parks and Recreation star's rep tells PEOPLE.

"I'm from Plainfield, Ill., and I'm standing here, and it's kind of amazing," McCarthy said on stage, fighting back tears.

McCarthy, who also earned overwhelming praise for her role in summer comedy Bridesmaids, also paid homage to her TV show in her emotional acceptance speech.

"I go to work," she said. "[And] I show up early like a dork because I kind of can't wait to see people."

As for having her fellow nominees beside her during her big moment, McCarthy told reporters backstage, "I heard [the plan] first through Martha [Plimpton] but she said, 'Amy [Poehler] has an idea.' Before I heard it I said, 'I am in.' "

Continued McCarthy: "If Amy Poehler thinks something is funny, I will do it."


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