Will Arnett and Kimmel were tapped to present the Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series award on Monday, and couldn't help but create a performative moment for the telecast. The joke began when Will Arnett dragged an immobile Kimmel onstage, joking that this is the "13th time in a row that he’s lost and he just got into the skinny margaritas back there."
After Arnett announced Brunson as the winner, she attempted to inform Kimmel that he could move now that she had collected the Emmy award, saying, "Jimmy, wake up. I won." However, Kimmel continued to lie on the stage while Brunson gave her speech at the mic, and didn't leave until she was finished.
Online commentators slammed Kimmel for taking the bit too far, and possibly overshadowing Brunson's Emmy moment. The Abbott Elementary creator's win was a historic one as Brunson became the second Black woman to ever win an Emmy for the Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series category, and the first to claim the award individually.
After taking home TV's highest honor, Brunson posed for a photo op that perfectly capped off the polarizing moment. The image shows Brunson holding up her Emmy award in front of Kimmel's face. Writer Evan Ross Katz posted the photo to Instagram with the caption, "And I oop."
"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," Brunson said.
"Honestly, 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," Brunson continued. "Tomorrow, maybe I’ll be mad at him.”
Brunson is set to be a guest on Wednesday's Jimmy Kimmel Live! She joked, "Maybe I'll punch him. I don't know. We'll see what happens."
"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,'" Kimmel recalled, adding, "She's a lovely person as well."
When asked about the now-viral comedy bit, Kimmel said he was just as lost as he looked. "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," the famed talk show host revealed.
The 74th Primetime Emmy Awards, hosted by Kenan Thompson, were broadcast live on NBC and Peacock. Check out the full winners list and complete Emmys coverage.