It was a big night for Quinta Brunson at the 2022 Emmy Awards but an awkward gag from late-night host Jimmy Kimmel upstaged her moment in the spotlight, according to many viewers.
Brunson took to the stage to accept the award for Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series for her work on the hit ABC sitcom Abbott Elementary. In doing so, she became only the second Black woman in history to receive an accolade in this particular category after Lena Waithe — and the first to win solo. However, she had to share the moment with Kimmel, and many viewers were not happy.
In a skit, the late-night host had been literally dragged onto the stage moments earlier by Will Arnett to present the Emmy for Outstanding Comedy Writing. The gag saw Kimmel “playing dead,” laid out on the stage as Arnett read out the nominees and eventual winner. But fans took exception when Kimmel remained “dead” on the stage as Brunson came up to accept her trophy.
“Jimmy Kimmel should have left the stage during Quinta’s speech. Highly disrespectful,” tweeted one viewer. Many others shared this sentiment, with one fan writing, “Quinta Brunson deserved better than giving her acceptance over Jimmy Kimmel’s “dead” body.”
Jimmy Kimmel should have left the stage during Quinta’s speech. Highly disrespectful #Emmys
— philip lewis (@Phil_Lewis_) September 13, 2022
— Garin Pirnia (@gpirnia) September 13, 2022
As for Brunson herself, she didn’t seem to mind too much. “Jimmy, wake up; I won,” she said, playing along with the gag. Speaking to backstage press after the show, Brunson stated, “I felt like the bit didn’t bother me that much. I don’t know what the internet thinks!”
By this point, the moment had already gone viral across the internet, with several people expressing their annoyance. “If #QuintaBrunson stepping over #JimmyKimmel who literally laid in her spotlight on the day she won an Emmy isn’t a metaphor for what it means to be a WOC in a white mans world I don’t know what is,” wrote one viewer.
— Heba Gowayed هبة جويد (@hebagowayed) September 13, 2022
“Honestly, Jimmy gave me my first late-night spot and was one of the first people to see Abbott, and he Instagram messaged me that he saw this comedy and thought it was one of the greatest comedies of all time and he was so excited it was going to be on ABC,” Brunson added. “So I think in that moment, I was just really happy that it was Jimmy up there! I’m a huge fan of Will Arnett, so I was wrapped up in the moment.”
That said, she might change her mind when she next sees Kimmel. “I’m gonna be on his show on Wednesday, so I might punch him in the face,” she quipped. “I don’t know. We’ll see what happens.”
Speaking to ET Online‘s Matt Cohen after the show, Kimmel said of Brunson, “She is so unbelievably talented. And I saw her pilot before it came out on ABC, and I wrote to her, and I was like, ‘I don’t know how we got this, but congratulations. You made a pilot that any network would be ecstatic to get,.’ She’s a lovely person as well.”