Jimmy Kimmel is still reckoning with the reaction to his failed Emmys comedy bit earlier this month, which wasn’t funny and ended up drawing attention away from winner Quinta Brunson.
In case you missed it, Jimmy and Will Arnett (The LEGO Batman Movie) came out to present the award for Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series. Arnett dragged Kimmel on stage, saying that he had too many skinny margaritas after losing his category again. So Will goes on to present the award while Jimmy just lays there.
After Quinta was announced as the winner, Kimmel didn’t react, sticking with the bit and laying on the stage as she gives her acceptance speech. The internet wasted no time letting the talk show host know how out of bounds he was, noting how disrespectful it was and that it was yet another example of white men taking a moment away from Black women.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, during an appearance on Howard Stern’s SiriusXM show, the Oscar host explained what his original plan was, how it changed on the day and discussed his regret for putting a damper on Quinta’s big moment.
“How I visualized this happening is he drags me out, we read the winner, and then I’m just basically just out of the shot, and it’s not really a factor,” he told Stern. “But the stage was very different. The stage was like a catwalk. So, I was kind of in the way, in a way I didn’t imagine.”
Look, I’m no comedy or TV production expert, but if you get to the event and the set up is different, why don’t you just change your plans? Even as you watch the first part of the show and realize you might be on camera, why not come up with something new? Jimmy and Will are comedy TV vets who are perfectly capable of adjusting on the fly.
“Some people read racial stuff into this, and everybody has their own perspective, but the fact of the matter is … this was a plan I had no matter who [won],” Kimmel added.
First of all, the fact that Jimmy didn’t know how this would look, speaks to his incredible amount of privilege because race never factored into his mind. Secondly, this bit would have been bad no matter who won. As someone who started as a comedian/writer, Jimmy of all people should know that this was an important moment for all the nominees and they deserved to get it without interference.
In the immediate aftermath of the whole debacle, Quinta had to share her Emmy-winning moment with Jimmy, acknowledging his nonsense on stage and answering questions about it later in the evening.
“It did take away—especially afterward—because then she had to answer questions about that instead of just celebrating her Emmy,” Kimmel said.
On the Wednesday following her big win, Brunson went on Jimmy Kimmel Live! to promote Season 2 of Abbott Elementary and the host offered her a public apology.
“People said I stole your moment and maybe I did, and I’m sorry I did do that,” he told Quinta. “Also, the last thing I would ever want to do is upset you because I think so much of you. I think you know that. I hope you know that.”
While he can’t give the Abbott Elementary star/creator that Emmy-winning moment back, hopefully the fact that he seems to sincerely regret the entire affair means we can all move on and just enjoy a very funny TV show.