We all expected Quinta Brunson could leave the 2022 Emmys as winner of the award for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series for her runaway hit ABC sitcom Abbott Elementary. What we didn’t—and never could have—expected was for Jimmy Kimmel to steal her moment by lying prostrate on the stage for the length of her acceptance speech. The late-night host pretended to be a dead body, and if the gag was funny when his co-presenter Will Arnett first dragged him onto the stage, it certainly wasn’t when he refused to get up and leave well after Brunson joined him.
Brunson played along with the bit, saying, “Jimmy, wake up, I won” and asking him to hold her phone. Perhaps that’s because, as she noted to the Los Angeles Times later in the evening, Kimmel gave her her first late-night spot and was early to give Abbott Elementary praise. “I think in that moment, I was just really happy that it was Jimmy up there—I kind of consider him one of the comedy godfathers,” she said. “I’m a huge fan of Will Arnett, so I was wrapped up in the moment.” But she also hinted that her feelings about the incident may change. “I don’t know—tomorrow I may be mad at [Kimmel]. I’m gonna be on his show on Wednesday, so I might punch him in the face,” she continued. Overall, though, “I felt like the bit didn’t bother me that much. [But] I don’t know what the internet thinks.”
As she no doubt learned upon checking her phone, the internet had no shortage of thoughts. Many deemed saw the situation as the embodiment of white male privilege.
On the bright side, another Abbott Elementary winner’s acceptance speech couldn’t have gone more smoothly. Sheryl Lee Ralph’s rendition of Dianne Reeves’s “Endangered Species” and reflection on the Academy finally giving her the due she deserved was one for the history books.