As white men are often wont to do, Jimmy Kimmel took up all the air space during Sunday night’s Emmy Awards, when he played dead on stage while Quinta Brunson accepted her award for Writing for a Comedy Series—becoming the third Black person and second Black woman to ever win the Emmy for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series. Kimmel was apparently nursing the wounds of having lost the Variety Talk Series Award for the 13th time, and needed to lay down to cope…at the exact moment Brunson was trying to accept her award.
And while Brunson played nice and told press backstage that she “didn’t mind” the late night show host’s bit, even waxing a tiny bit poetic about how much she owes him (one of our “comedy godfathers,” as she says), her Abbott Elementary co-star Sheryl Lee Ralph certainly didn’t have any problems with giving Kimmel a piece of her mind—and to his face, for that matter.
During the Abbott Elementary Television Critics Association panel this afternoon, the Abbott star admitted to being “confused,” by the prank and said that once she realized who it was, she was “shocked.” “I was like, ‘Ooh, the disrespect.’ I love Jimmy Kimmel, but I’m sorry. I told him to his face, and he understood,” Ralph said.
While we may never know if Kimmel was purposefully trying to outshine Brunson, or if he was simply being a sore loser, fans have almost resoundingly disproved of the now-controversial bit. As for Brunson, she still seems to be running with it: The showrunner posed for a photo with her shiny gold Emmy, with a scorned but smiling Kimmel poking out from behind the gaps of the trophy.
I guess we’ll see how it all plays out tonight, when Brunson appears on Jimmy Kimmel Live!. Who knows? Maybe her presence will finally make the show Emmy-worthy.