Everyone’s talking bout the Emmys: The glitz, the glamor, the snubs, the flubs, and the ridiculous amount of Ted Lasso and Succession cast members that can fit into one category. It sure was exciting, watching many of the same people as last year win again.
But despite what you might think, the Television Academy didn’t air a repeat of last year’s ceremony. Attentive viewers might have noticed that there was nary a mention of Halston this year. Others noticed that the hilarious Quinta Brunson picked up her first Emmy tonight, earning the award for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series for her work on the Abbott Elementary pilot. The crowd went wild. Well, everyone but late-night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel. He lied on stage like a slug. It was his only defense.
Earlier in the evening, Kimmel lost his 13th Emmy, a bitter pill to swallow. What wasn’t difficult to swallow, according to Kimmel’s co-presenter, Will Arnett, were the skinny margaritas in the back. Arnett dragged Kimmel on stage and did the heavy lifting (in more ways than one) of handing the award to Brunson, who was left kicking Jimmy and saying, “Jimmy, I won.”
It was a ridiculous moment in a rather incident-free (if boring) awards show. But that seamlessness came at a cost. Without a slap or a La La Land, the Emmys gave the netizens of Twitter very little to talk about. The night was so devoid of the usual hiccups that The Hollywood Reporter writes that the bit spurred a backlash against Kimmel. Some on Twitter did not appreciate Kimmel’s alleged disrespect of Brunson’s win and his commitment to a comedy bit. Though, Brunson did get someone to hold her phone for her while she accepted the award.
Still, the criticism is valid. As many noted, all the pictures of Brunson’s first win now feature a lifeless Kimmel, sweating and motionless under the hot lights of the Microsoft Theater in beautiful downtown Los Angeles. This behavior could be construed as yet another example of a wealthy, powerful white man diminishing the accomplishments of people of color, particularly women of color.
Whether or not Brunson was offended is beside the point. It’s understandable why people wouldn’t be annoyed. A new Black artist has her moment in the sun, and now media outlets (such as the one you’re reading) are placing Jimmy Kimmel’s name next to hers. Suddenly, we’re not even talking about what an accomplishment Brunson achieved at such a young age or even what a great show Abbott Elementary is (and it really is). Instead, we’re talking about frickin’ Jimmy Kimmel. For those who just wanted to see an artist they love and respect get the validation they deserve, it’s easy to see why this would be a disappointment.
Nevertheless, Brunson did get the last word on the subject, though.
“I know Jimmy Kimmel. I don’t know. The bit didn’t bother me that much. I don’t know what the internet thinks,” Quinta Brunson told reporters after the Emmys. “ I know him. Honestly, Jimmy gave me my first late-night spot. And was one of the first people to see Abbott. He Instagram messaged me and said it was one of the greatest comedies of all time. He was so excited that it was going to be on ABC.”
“So in that moment, I was just happy that it was Jimmy up there. I kind of consider him one of the comedy godfathers. 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.”
So if we report on Wednesday night that Quinta Brunson assaulted Jimmy Kimmel, we’ll know how she feels about the bit. For now, we’ll consider the beef squashed.