Emmys: Bill Cosby Joke From Jimmy Kimmel Falls Flat

Bill Cosby - Jimmy Kimmel - Split - H - 2016
Gilbert Carrasquillo/Getty Images; Jennifer Lourie/WireImage

Cosby was introduced as a presenter — even though he wasn't there.

Emmy host Jimmy Kimmel stunned the audience at the Microsoft Theater on Sunday night when an award presenter was announced that no one was expecting to see: "Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Bill Cosby."

The crowd emitted a short gasp, and surprised expressions washed over the faces of stars Tina Fey and Ellie Kemper, among others. The moment passed quickly, however.

"He's not really here," Kimmel said, wryly apologetic. "I just wanted to see what you guys would do."

It's safe to assume that the former star of the long-running Cosby Show wasn't anywhere near the award ceremony Sunday night. Cosby has been lying low in the wake of numerous sexual assault allegations, including the drugging and sexual coercion of over 60 women since 1965. Accusers began coming forward en masse in 2014, when a routine by comedian Hannibal Buress drew renewed attention in the allegations.

Many of the alleged crimes fall outside the statute of limitations for criminal legal proceedings, but several civil lawsuits have been brought against the comedian.

However, a criminal trial stemming from an alleged incident in 2004 has been set for June 5, 2017. Cosby, who played beloved TV dad and doctor Cliff Huxtable, faces a maximum of 30 years in prison if found guilty on all three counts and a fine of up to $25,000.