Jimmy Kimmel Apologizes to Quinta Brunson for Stealing Her Moment During Emmy Awards

Jimmy Kimmel apologized to Quinta Brunson for his actions during her Emmy win for Writing in a Comedy Series for Abbott Elementary. For their presentation, Will Arnett dragged Kimmel to the microphone and, out of breath, joked that the late-night host had too many skinny margaritas following a loss to John Oliver in the Variety Talk category. Arnett announced Brunson as the winner and as she approached the microphone, Kimmel stayed in character and remained on the floor while she gave her acceptance speech (which included a thank you to Kimmel).

This was not well-received by many viewers who took to social media to express their annoyance with Kimmel. Brunson’s co-star Sheryl Lee Ralph addressed the skit during ABC’s TCA presentations, saying:

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“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.”

On Wednesday, Brunson appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live! and the two seemed to hash out the situation. At the tail end of Kimmel’s monologue, Brunson, carrying her Emmy Award, interrupted the late-night host and said:

“You know how, when you win an Emmy, you only have 45 seconds to do an acceptance speech, which is not that much time? And then you get less time because someone does a dumb comedy bit that goes on a bit too long.”

Later in the show, during their sit-down interview, Kimmel apologized to Brunson, saying:

“That was a dumb comedy bit that we thought it would be funny. Then people got upset, they said I stole your moment. And maybe I did. I’m very sorry if I did do that. I did do that, actually. … 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.”

Brunson accepted Kimmel’s apology and went on to say that she was so focused on her first win that she wasn’t bothered by what was going on before adding that she “had a great night.”

Abbott Elementary’s First Season Shines at Emmy Awards

ABC

Brunson is the creator, writer, executive producer, and star of Abbott Elementary, a mockumentary-style series about teachers at a Philadelphia public school. The freshman season earned seven Emmy nominations, including Outstanding Comedy Series, Lead Actress in a Comedy Series and Writing for a Comedy Series for Brunson and Supporting Actress/Actor in a Comedy Series for Tyler James Williams, Janelle James and Ralph. With her three nominations, Brunson made history as the first Black woman to receive comedy nominations in the acting, writing (for the pilot episode), and series categories and as the youngest Black woman ever nominated as an actress in a comedy. The series secured three Emmy wins on Monday, including Brunson, Ralph for Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series, and Outstanding Casting For A Comedy Series.

Ralph’s acceptance speech was a highlight of the evening’s ceremony. The actress celebrated her first Emmy win by singing a snippet of Dianne Reeves’ Endangered Species. The moving moment was followed by an equally touching speech:

“To anyone who has ever—ever—had a dream, and thought your dream wasn’t, wouldn’t, couldn’t come true. I am here to tell you that this is what believing looks like,” she said. “This is what striving looks like. And don’t you ever, ever give up on you!”

Ralph portrays Barbara Howard, an experienced teacher who serves (sometimes unwillingly) as a mentor for young and well-meaning teacher Janine Teagues (Brunson).