How rude! Or should that be, “How rude?” In an objectively overlong bit at Monday’s Emmy Awards in Los Angeles, Jimmy Kimmel “presented” Abbott Elementary’s Quinta Brunson the award for Writing in a Comedy Series by remaining planted on the ground throughout. The premise of Kimmel’s gag involved co-presenter Will Arnett dragging Kimmel out by the legs and explaining, “He just got into the skinny margaritas back there,” and “He didn’t really want to miss this.”
“Jimmy, wake up, I won,” Brunson said while taking the stage after being named the winner of the category. Then she asked a non-responsive Kimmel to hold her phone. He gave her a silent thumbs-up.
Backstage, facing the press, Brunson said that the bit “didn’t bother me that much.”
“I don’t know what the internet thinks,” she added. “I know him...Jimmy gave me my first big late night spot and was one of the first people to see Abbott. He Instagram messaged me and said that he saw this comedy and thought it was one of the greatest comedies of all time and was so excited it was going to be on ABC. So I think in that moment, I was really happy it was Jimmy up there. I kinda consider him one of the comedy godfathers. I’m a huge fan of Will Arnett. So I was wrapped up in the moment. I don’t know, tomorrow maybe I’ll be mad at him. I’m going to be on his show on Wednesday, so I might punch him in the face.”
(Note: Brunson gave no indication that Kimmel was doing a separate bit when he allegedly referred to Abbott Elementary as one of the greatest comedies of all time.)
Anyway! Outlets like Page Six and the Los Angeles Times reported a “backlash” to the stunt, referring to people complaining about it on Twitter. It does seem likely that without Kimmel, people wouldn’t be talking about Brunson’s speech at all, perfunctory as it was. Her win as a Black woman who created and wrote a beloved new sitcom? Sure. The speech itself? Unlikely. So Kimmel did draw attention to it, but by just lying there, he also siphoned that attention off for himself. It wasn’t great form, but not the biggest deal either.
Meanwhile, Abbott’s Sheryl Lee Ralph, a veteran actor (one might even say legend) and the second Black woman to win the Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series, sang much of her acceptance speech.
Jackeé Harry, the first Black woman to win in the category for her work on 227, welcomed Ralph to the club via Twitter:
In other Emmy news, Zendaya’s second win makes her the youngest two-time Emmy winner in history. And Jennifer Coolidge danced to the music that played her off as she accepted the award for Supporting Actress in a Limited or Anthology Series or Movie.
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