Emmys: Read Jimmy Kimmel's Opening Monologue
"I’ll tell you, the Emmys are so diverse this year, the Oscars are now telling people we're one of their closest friends."
Jimmy Kimmel opened Sunday night's 68th Emmy awards with a prediction that Game of Thrones and The People v. OJ Simpson would win most categories, but the late-night host also made sure to add his two cents about several other topics.
In his opening monologue, the comedian took jabs at Jeffrey Tambor's winning streak (the Transparent actor won his second Emmy for the show this year), the Hollywood diversity controversy and Mark Burnett's position in helping Donald Trump become a reality TV star and presidential nominee.
Read the transcript of his full monologue below:
I want to do one quick thing before we get started. Just give me one moment if you would. Where is Jeffrey Tambor? Jeffrey? There you go (gives him award). All right, that saved us 22 minutes. What else? The rest of you, if your show doesn’t have a dragon or a white Bronco in it, go home now. I would also like to acknowledge the winner of tonight’s plus-one contest, Sarah Paulson, who played Marcia Clark and actually brought Marcia Clark with her tonight. That’s a guest. Because everyone in L.A. knows, if you want to win, sit next to Marcia Clark.
Hi Marcia, this must be very strange for you. I mean, are you rooting for O.J. to win this time? The whole gang from the show is here. John Travolta is here. Welcome back to television, John Travolta, we’re happy to have you. So quick question for you: If you win are you going to thank O.J.? I mean how do you handle that? Technically, you wouldn’t be here without him right? Especially, you Cuba. Cuba Gooding Jr. was so good in The People v. O.J. Simpson. He played O.J. so well I now believe Cuba may have done it.
Tonight is the night, we come together to celebrate all the amazing shows we’ll never get around to watching. On television, glorious television. Television has the ability to make us laugh, and cry — and, during certain key parts of Game of Thrones, masturbate. Oh that’s what I’m talking about. Jon Snow. Hi, Jon Snow. You’re my freebie, you know.
I’m so glad they brought Jon Snow back to life. That was a nice surprise. After 68 years, television still manages to surprise us. I never imagined my favorite TV mom would be Louie Anderson. But he is. Louie plays — If you haven’t seen him, he plays Zach Galifianakis’ mother on the show Baskets. Originally, they were going to cast a woman for the role, but it's very hard to find an actress over 50 who needs a part. So they went to Louie. Fortunately for everyone in this room there are more shows and more roles than ever before and more diversity than ever before.
This year's nominees are the most diverse ever. And here in Hollywood the only thing that we value more than diversity is congratulating ourselves on how much we value diversity. I’ll tell you the Emmys are so diverse this year, the Oscars are now telling people we’re one of their closest friends. We’re not, by the way. But in all seriousness, this is a very positive thing and I think we need to stop and take a moment to appreciate how far we’ve come. In fact, if you are a person of color in our audience tonight. Especially if you’re a nominee, please, find a white person right now, go ahead, it shouldn’t be hard. I see a bunch of them right here. Just take a moment to reach out and say thanks for your bravery. There ya go, make a rainbow connection. I think we’ll. Isn’t that beautiful. Isn’t that nice.
Television brings people together. But television can also tear us apart. I mean if it wasn’t for television would Donald Trump be running for president? No, he would be at home right now quietly rubbing up against his wife, Malaria, while she pretends to be asleep. Many have asked, "Who is to blame for Donald Trump, the Donald Trump phenomenon?" And I’ll tell you who because he is sitting right there. That’s right. That guy. Mark Burnett, the man who brought us Celebrity Apprentice. Thanks to Mark Burnett, we don’t have to watch reality shows anymore because we’re living in one.
Thank you, Mark. Thank you for coming all the way from England to tear us all apart with your intricate plot. It worked. You sneaky little crumpet muncher, you. Who do you have lined up to fill the spot on the supreme court? Miley Cyrus or CeeLo? I’m going on the record right now. He’s responsible. If Donald Trump gets elected and he builds that wall, the first person we’re throwing over is Mark Burnett. The tribe has spoken. One other little piece of business. We’re going to be doing things a little different this year.
We have a new rule this year: For the first time ever, you must be present to win. If we call your name and you are not here to accept, the Emmy goes to the next name on the list. It’s called the Maggie Smith Rule. And if you don’t know who Maggie Smith is, she’s been nominated for the Emmy nine times, she’s won the Emmy three times. How many times do you think she’s showed up here to get the Emmy. That’s right, no times. This year she had a Sunday ceramics class that she couldn’t get out of.
When Maggie Smith hears she’s nominated for an Emmy, she has the same reaction the rest of us have when we get those 20 percent off Bed Bath & Beyond coupons in the mail. Right in the garbage. And she goes to other award shows. She showed up at the Oscars to get an Oscar. She showed up at the Tonys. She goes to the Soul Train Awards every year. But is she here in the audience tonight? Well, I don’t see her. She’s Downton Absent is what she is. For the ninth time. What is wrong with us? Why do we keep nominating this woman?
She’s treating us like the People’s Choice Awards. I have a message for you, Lame Maggie Smith if you’re even bothering to watch. If you want an Emmy, you better hop on a plane right now and get your Dowager Count-Ass over here.
All right are we ready to make the Emmys great again? OK, let's some pointy trophies out, what do you say? Here to present tonight’s first award, which means they are that much closer to getting Black-ish-out-drunkish, please welcome Emmy nominees Anthony Anderson and Tracee Ellis Ross.