In this op-ed, Natasha Mulenga argues that Jimmy Kimmel disrupted Quinta Brunson’s historic Emmy win, and criticizes his decision to lie onstage during her acceptance speech at the Emmys 2022.
The 74th annual Primetime Emmys were a night of firsts. Squid Game was the first non-English drama to win for an Emmy for directing. Sheryl Lee Ralph deservedly won her first Emmy after 30-plus years in the business. And last night was the first time we’ve seen a white man lie down on the stage and refuse to move when a winner received their award.
In case you’re confused by the bizarre nature of that last sentence, let me fill you in: Quinta Brunson won her first Emmy in Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series for the pilot episode of Abbott Elementary, the sitcom she created and the episode she solely wrote. The presenters of her award were actor Will Arnett and late night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel — who, pretending to be unconscious, had been dragged onstage by Will as part of a bit.
“Jimmy couldn’t be here tonight,” joked Will, standing over Jimmy’s body. “This is like the 13th time that he’s lost and he just got into the skinny margaritas back there… you okay there, buddy? Yeah, he’s good.”
However, Jimmy refused to get up, even after Quinta was announced the winner, even after she received her award and started to give her acceptance speech. Writer and comedian Natasha Rothwell, who was seated adjacent to the stage, was seen in the background looking appalled by Jimmy’s antics… as were many on social media.
Quinta Brunson’s Emmy win holds a lot of weight, especially for the Black community. Quinta has shared that the mission of her sitcom Abbott Elementary is to humanize teachers and humorously highlight the difficulties of the public school system in her hometown of Philadelphia, and those like it. Abbott has been wildly successful in its first season, and Quinta revealed that she redirected the show’s Emmy marketing campaign funds to donate to real teachers and their classrooms.