The late-night host took the stage alongside Will Arnett at the 74th annual Emmy Awards ceremony. The two presenters’ appearance involved the “Bojack Horseman” alum dragging Kimmel’s seemingly lifeless body across the stage. The focus of the act poked fun at Kimmel’s loss since he didn’t win the award for variety talk show earlier during the ceremony. Arnett joked to the crowd that Kimmel had taken advantage of the ceremony’s bar and had too much to drink.
The move sparked controversy online as viewers criticized Kimmel’s decision to remain on the floor onstage while Brunson accepted the gold statuette.
The “Abbott Elementary” star and showrunner opened up in defense of Kimmel while backstage, telling the press that she didn’t take offense to the gag.
“I know Jimmy Kimmel, and I don’t know, I felt like the bit didn’t bother me that much. I don’t know what the internet thinks… I know him… Jimmy gave me my first big late-night spot and was one of the first people to see ‘Abbott,'” she said to press backstage. “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.”
“So in that moment I think I was just really happy that it was Jimmy up there. I kind of consider him one of the comedy godfathers… Tomorrow maybe I’ll be mad at him. I’m going to be on his show on Wednesday, so I might punch him in the face. I don’t know what happens,” Brunson joked.
Brunson took home her first Emmy award on Monday night after winning for best writing for a comedy series. She is the third Black person, and second Black woman, to win writing for a comedy series after Larry Wilmore (“The Bernie Mac Show”) and Lena Waithe (“Master of None”).