“I know going in, 50 percent of the people are gonna hate me,” Jimmy Kimmel told The Daily Beast ahead of Sunday night’s entirely virtual Emmy Awards. That may help explain why he decided not to hold back in his opening monologue.
The late-night host, who has plenty of experience telling jokes without an audience present after spending years as a radio host and a few months broadcasting his show from home this spring, acknowledged the unprecedented nature of the night up top.
“You know what they say, you can’t have a virus without a host,” he joked as old footage of celebrity award-show crowds laughed and applauded along. “What’s happening tonight is not important. It’s not going to stop COVID, it’s not going to put out the fires, but it’s fun. And right now, we need fun. My god do we need fun.”
“This has been a miserable year,” he continued. “This has been a year of division, injustice, disease, Zoom school, disaster, and death. We’ve been quarantined and locked down, confined to our homes like prisoners in a dark and lonely tunnel. And what did we find in that dark and lonely tunnel? We found a friend who is there for us 24 hours a day. Our old pal, television.”
If viewers were confused by the seemingly packed audience, they could be forgiven. It took several minutes for Kimmel to acknowledge the bit. After joking of the most-nominated show of the night, “Isn’t Watchmen also what Jerry Falwell Jr. was into?” the camera cut to Kimmel himself in the crowd.
“But wait, if I’m down there, how am I up here?” he asked. “That would mean that no one is in the audience. That would mean that I’m up here all alone. Just like prom night.”
“Of course I’m here all alone. Of course we don't have an audience,” Kimmel revealed. “This isn’t a MAGA rally, it’s the Emmys!”
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