Abbott Elementary Star Called Out Jimmy Kimmel's ‘Disrespect’ After Controversial Emmys Bit, But Quinta Brunson Put A Kibosh On The Drama

Janine in all yellow for Abbott Elementary
(Image credit: ABC)

Considering this year’s Emmy Awards ceremony hit an all-time low with TV viewers — hitting under 6 million total for the first time — a large part of the population missed out on seeing Abbott Elementary proudly repping broadcast TV amongst a plethora of streaming and cable series. The ABC comedy was at the heart of one particularly controversial moment, with late night host Jimmy Kimmel somewhat railroading Quinta Brunson’s historic win and acceptance speech. The moment drew all kinds of reactions, including a light scolding from star Sheryl Lee Ralph, but it appears as if Brunson has already buried the hatchet after popping by Jimmy Kimmel Live!, with her Emmy in hand. 

Jimmy Kimmel's Emmy Night Joke

Quinta Brunson became the second Black female to win the Emmy for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series, following Lena Waithe’s win for Master of None back in 2017. But before that happened, Will Arnett and Jimmy Kimmel took the stage for a quick bit that left Kimmel laid out on the floor, under the guise that he’d drank himself into a stupor after once again losing out in the Outstanding Talk Show category. When the Abbott Elementary creator took the stage to humbly and happily accept her honor, she had to step over Kimmel’s body, and he offered no response when she politely exclaimed, “Jimmy, wake up, I won!”

While not the most dramatically rude move, Kimmel’s lack of awareness in the moment had fans up in arms, as his joke took precious time away from the winner’s acceptance speech, which is obviously already a pressing issue for anyone getting on the mic. And though Brunson herself largely brushed it off in backstage interviews, her co-star and fellow winner took a slightly more accusatory tone.  

How Sheryl Lee Ralph Reacted

Everybody should know by now not to get on Sheryl Lee Ralph’s bad side, but Jimmy Kimmel certainly seemed to secure a spot in the proverbial doghouse where the Sister Act 2 vet is concerned. According to Variety, when she was asked backstage at the Emmys about how her co-star’s speech played out, Ralph said:

I didn’t know what was going on. I was like, I wish he’d just get up off the ground. Then I realized it was Jimmy, and I was like, Ooh, the disrespect. I love Jimmy Kimmel, but I’m sorry. I told him to his face, and he understood.

Though fellow Abbott star Lisa Ann Walter said she thought it landed okay in the room, Ralph wasn’t on that same wavelength. Of course, it was quite the emotional night for her, as she became only the second Black woman to win out for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy, and delivered one of the most captivating acceptance speeches in recent memory. 

How Quinta Brunson Squashed Things With Jimmy Kimmel

Regardless of whether she won Emmys that night or not, Quinta Brunson had already locked in an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live! for Wednesday night, but her spot absolutely would have been different had she not won. Her first way of taking back the spotlight from Kimmel was to "interrupt" the end of his monologue and vaguely call him out, at which point he stepped to the back of the stage so that the Abbott star could take the mic and finish her list of thank-yous.

After their actual sit-down interview began, Kimmel ran a clip from the Emmy telecast and followed it up by admitting it was a "dumb comedy bit," and apologized several times for taking her historic moment away from her, saying he hoped she understood that he had absolutely zero intentions to make her upset in any way. Which she classily responded to with:

I do. Well, Jimmy, let me just say thank you. It is very kind of you to say that. I honestly was in such a moment of just having a good time. Like, I won my first Emmy. I was up there, you know, happy! I was wrapped up in the moment and just having a good time. I don't know. I didn't see any of that. I saw you, and I saw Will Arnett, and my Emmy, and I was just like, 'Oh my God, I'm having so much fun.' But thank you, that's kind. But honestly, I had a good night.

So while I'm sure there will still be a bunch of Brunson stans who will still give JImmy Kimmel the evil eye whenever he's on-screen, at least everyone can take comfort in knowing the Emmy winner isn't holding any grudges about it. And even if she is, deep down, she can probably just squish those thoughts with that big ol' trophy. 

Check out the full Jimmy Kimmel Live! interview below!

Abbott Elementary is taking over a new time slot in ABC’s Fall TV schedule when its super-sized Season 2 arrives, as it will premiere on Wednesday, September 21, at 9:00 p.m. Head to our 2022 premiere rundown to see when everything else is hitting the small screen soon.

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native and an Assistant Managing Editor with a focus on TV and features. His humble origin story with CinemaBlend began all the way back in the pre-streaming era, circa 2009, as a freelancing DVD reviewer and TV recapper.  Nick leapfrogged over to the small screen to cover more and more television news and interviews, eventually taking over the section for the current era and covering topics like Yellowstone, The Walking Dead and horror. Born in Louisiana and currently living in Texas — Who Dat Nation over America’s Team all day, all night — Nick spent several years in the hospitality industry, and also worked as a 911 operator. If you ever happened to hear his music or read his comics/short stories, you have his sympathy.