While presenting the Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series category on Monday, September 13, copresenter Will Arnett dragged Jimmy, 54, on stage. Will, 52, joked that the Jimmy Kimmel Live host had passed-out drunk after losing his category to John Oliver.
Jimmy committed to the bit and remained on the stage as he continued to pretend to be unconscious. He didn’t leave his spot on stage until after Quinta, 32, finished her moving acceptance speech.
As the moment played out in real time, several viewers rushed to social media to slam the late night talk show host for the bit.
“Quinta Brunson deserved better than giving her acceptance over Jimmy Kimmel’s ‘dead’ body,” one fan wrote on Twitter. “Jimmy Kimmel owes Quinta an apology but the messed up part is every image of her accepting her award has his ass in it. White men really are insufferable,” another added.
Following the awards show, both Jimmy and Quinta shared their takes on the bit.
“I had my eyes closed, I had no idea where I was. It was one of the weirdest things that’s ever happened to me,” Jimmy jokingly told Entertainment Tonight about the moment.
He went on to praise the Abbott Elementary star. “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,'” he recalled, adding, “She’s a lovely person as well.”
Meanwhile, Quinta said she wasn’t initially bothered by the bit. “I know Jimmy Kimmel, and I don’t know, I feel like the bit didn’t bother me that much. I don’t know what the internet thinks,” she told members of the press while backstage at the awards show.
The first-time Emmy winner then noted that Jimmy was one of the first people in Hollywood to support Abbott Elementary.
“Jimmy gave me my first big late-night spot. He was one of the first people to see Abbott Elementary. He was the first person to message me on Instagram. He was so excited it was going to be on ABC. I was happy it was Jimmy. He’s one of the comedy godfathers. I’m a huge fan of Will Arnett, so I was wrapped up in the moment,” Quinta said. “Tomorrow, maybe I’ll be mad at him.”
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