Jimmy Kimmel Opens Up About What Happened After Getting Called Out For Ruining Abbott Elementary’s Big Emmys Moment ‘In A Way’ He ’Didn’t Imagine

Abbott Elementary had two entries on the 2022 Emmy winners list this year. Both moments were memorable, however the discourse surrounding them had two very different tones. Sheryl Lee Ralph gave an incredible acceptance speech, that I know made me tear up. While Quinta Brunson’s win for writing the show was clouded by Jimmy Kimmel laying on the stage while she gave her speech. While Brunson has cleared up the situation with Kimmel, the late-night host has spoken out about what happened that night. 

Kimmel and Will Arnett came out on stage to present the best writing for comedy shows, well actually, Arnett dragged Kimmel out onto the stage to present the category. Arnett ended up doing all the talking while Kimmel played dead. The talk show host explained the bit further on The Howard Stern Show, saying: 

I said, ‘Will, wouldn’t it be funny because I know we’re gonna lose to John Oliver, if you could just drag me out there and say I was upset and had a few drinks. And I was kind of just unconscious?’ How I visualized this happening is: He drags me out, we read the winner and I’m just basically out of the shot and it’s not really a factor. But the stage was very different. The stage was like a catwalk. So, I was kind of in the way, which in [a] way I didn’t imagine I would [be].

What Kimmel is referencing is the Outstanding Variety Talk Series category, which Last Week Tonight With John Oliver has won since 2016. Oliver won again this year, so Kimmel decided to play dead, however, he didn’t realize viewers had thought the bit went too far. 

While Brunson put a kibosh on the drama when she appeared on Kimmel’s show later that week, people on Twitter did not like what Kimmel did. The host elaborated on this point while chatting with Stern, saying: 

Now, some people read racial stuff into this. You, know, everyone has their own perspective. But I think the fact of the matter is there were six nominees and this was a plan I had for no matter who got it. I imagined I would be out of the shot.

The other shows nominated in this category included Barry, Hacks, Only Murders in the Building, Ted Lasso, and What We Do in the Shadows. Kimmel then explained his connection to Brunson and what happened after her speech, saying:

Now, Quinta Brunson happens to be a friend of mine. She gives a speech, we go backstage, I’m very happy for her. We have a nice conversation. Super happy. We have no idea that anyone is upset… then like later at the party learn that people are saying, ‘You stole the moment,’ I do understand that. It did take away from — especially afterwards — because then she had to answer questions about that.

In the same interview, Kimmel mentioned that he loves Abbott Elementary and he called Brunson before Season 1 to tell her how much he liked it. Overall, both the talk show host and the Abbott Elementary creator have said this bit was in good fun and it wasn’t in bad faith. 

Both Kimmel and Brunson’s shows are mainstays on the 2022 TV schedule. Jimmy Kimmel Live! airs every weeknight at 11:35 p.m. ET and Abbott Elementary on Wednesdays at 9 p.m. ET, both on ABC, or you can stream either show with a Hulu subscription.   

Riley Utley
Weekend Editor

Riley Utley is a Weekend Editor at CinemaBlend. She spent many years working in local journalism across the country writing about art, news and sports. One of her favorite films is When Harry Met Sally and she walks around constantly quoting Ted Lasso.