Jimmy Kimmel slams idea that race was a factor with Quinta Brunson Emmys stunt

Jimmy Kimmel lies onstage as Quinta Brunson accepts the award for Best Writing in a Comedy Series. The late night host addressed backlash in Howard Stern interview.

Jimmy Kimmel lies onstage as Quinta Brunson accepts the award for Best Writing in a Comedy Series. The late-night host addressed backlash in Howard Stern interview. (Photo: Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

Jimmy Kimmel admitted he misjudged how his stunt at the Emmy Awards would look to viewers at home. The latenight host spoke to Howard Stern about the backlash he received two weeks ago for lying on the ground when Abbot Elementary‘s Quinta Brunson took home the award for Best Writing in a Comedy Series. Kimmel presented the award with Will Arnett, who dragged his “unconscious” friend all the way to the mic.

“I said, ‘Will, wouldn’t it be funny’ — because I know [Jimmy Kimmel Live!] is going to lose to John Oliver – ‘if you just drag me out there and say I was upset, and I had a few drinks, and I’m just kind of unconscious?'” Kimmel said on SiriusXM’s The Howard Stern Show.

Kimmel really committed to the whole comedy bit because he never moved — even when Brunson called him out in her acceptance speech.

“How I visualized this happening is he drags me out, we read the winner, and then I’m just basically just 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, like, in the way,” Kimmel continued.

The Jimmy Kimmel Live! host, 54, maintained there were no racial motives with the routine.

“Some people read racial stuff into this, and everybody has their own perspective, but the fact of the matter is, I think there were six nominees, this was a plan I had no matter who [won],” he said.

Backstage, Kimmel said he and Brunson, whom he called a “friend,” were celebrating her win and they had no idea it was a big deal. Ultimately, Kimmel agreed the whole thing took away from the actress’s special night.

“It did take away from — especially afterwards — because then she had to answer questions about [my prank] instead of just celebrating her Emmy,” he stated. “The idea there was any ill intent is [ridiculous].”

Kimmel said he’s a big fan of Abbott Elementary.

“Weirdly, coincidentally, when I saw the pilot … I called the head of ABC and [said], ‘This is a great show. This is the kind of show you should be making,’ and they also thought it was great and they intended to pick it up,” he recalled. “And then I reached out to Quinta — this was months before the show premiered — and told her how I felt about it. It is interesting in that it was this particular show… almost every time I end up in a situation it comes totally out of the blue.”

Kimmel had Brunson on his show two days after the Emmy Awards as the controversy intensified. He let the actress to use the remaining time from his monologue to finish her acceptance speech. During their interview, she jokingly called out Kimmel, but made it clear there were no hard feelings.

“You know how when you win an Emmy you only have 45 seconds to do an acceptance speech which is like, nothing?” Brunson asked Kimmel. “And then sometimes you get even less time because some dumb comedy bit goes on too long?”

“They said I stole your moment,” Kimmel began. “And maybe I did, and I’m very sorry if I did do that. I’m sorry I did do that, actually. And the last thing I would ever want to do is upset you because I think so much of you.”

“Thank you,” Brunson replied. “It is very kind of you to say that. I honestly was in such a moment of having a good time, like I won my first Emmy. I was up there, like, you know, happy.”

MORE: Highs and lows from the 2022 Emmy Awards