Like most people, I didn’t watch the 2022 Emmy Awards. Heck, I didn’t even know when the Emmys were. But, as has been the tradition over the past few years, I’ve learned about the Emmys a day or so after the fact due to some controversy that we’re all supposed to care about, despite it having no bearing on our lives.
This year’s Emmy Awards didn’t disappoint.
It turns out that Jimmy Kimmel, who had lost an Emmy earlier in the evening, decided to do an on-stage bit where he was passed out, requiring co-host Will Arnett to, quite literally, drag him onto the stage to present the award for Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series. In his infinite wisdom, Kimmel remained on the floor even after Abbott Elementary’s Quinta Brunson was announced as the winner and accepted the award.
The social media backlash was swift, and on Wednesday night Kimmel had Brunson on his late-night show, during which he apologized for stealing the spotlight from her. Kimmel called it a “dumb comedy bit,” which it was, and added, “I’m sorry I did do that, actually. And also, the last thing I would ever want to do was upset you because I think so much of you. And I think you know that — I hope you know that.”
Brunson handled it graciously.
— Jimmy Kimmel Live (@JimmyKimmelLive) September 15, 2022
The bit was stupid, and Kimmel was right to apologize, but was the moment really deserving of all the controversy it generated? For starters, Brunson didn’t seem as bothered by it as everyone else, and dwelling on the stunt more than her win overshadows her actual achievement. As you could have guessed, much of the outrage over the incident centered around the fact that white male Jimmy Kimmel had stolen the spotlight from a black woman, whose victory has been dubbed “historic” for being the first black woman to win in the category.
As such, there are endless tweets accusing Kimmel of being racist. But when Kayne West literally came on stage and interrupted Taylor Swift as she accepted the award for Best Video by a Female Artist at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards, no one accused him of being racist. Kimmel goes all in on a bit and he took this one further than he should have, and “racist” is the main bandwagon the outrage mob jumps on.
Has it ever occurred to these people that maybe Jimmy Kimmel just isn’t funny?