In an era where apparently no one watches awards shows, but loves to talk about them—we’ve turned to Jimmy Kimmel for answers about their biggest controversies. The late night host stopped by The Howard Stern Show on Tuesday, where he addressed both the immortal Oscars slap and his own Emmys blunder.
Howard Stern asked Kimmel about his onstage presence during Quinta Brunson‘s Emmys speech where he intended to be asleep at her feet as part of an ongoing bit. Accurately predicting he would lose the variety-talk-series category to John Oliver, Kimmel had pitched the idea of being dragged onstage by fellow presenter Will Arnett afterward. But Kimmel said he miscalculated how the stage layout would impact his idea of him in reality. “How I visualized this happening is, he drags me out, we read the winner, and then I’m just basically just out of the shot, and it’s not really a factor,” he explained. “But the stage was very different. The stage was like a catwalk. So, I was kind of, like, in the way.”
Kimmel continued, “Some people read racial stuff into this, and everybody has their own perspective, but the fact of the matter is…this was a plan I had no matter who [would win].” He then acknowledged that, despite his best intentions, the ensuing chatter may have minimized Brunson’s victory. “It did take away—especially afterward—because then she had to answer questions about [my prank] instead of just celebrating her Emmy,” he said. The pair previously made peace when Brunson appeared as a guest on Jimmy KimmelLive!
When asked how he would’ve handled another major awards show moment, the Oscars altercation between Will Smith and Chris Rock, Kimmel said: “I would’ve gone right out onstage because somebody needed to go out there at that time. And I think that was one of the drawbacks of having three hosts [Regina Hall, Amy Schumer, Wanda Sykes], it wasn’t clear who should go out there and go handle it.” Kimmel did just that when he hosted in 2017, the year Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty wrongly presented best picture to La La Land, instead of the true winner, moonlight, despite the fact that “no one told me to go out on stage,” he said.
Kimmel, who previously riffed on the slap during his late-night monologue, continued, “I think I probably would have started talking to Will Smith, who was still sitting there. I think I would’ve been like, ‘What are you doing?’ That would’ve been my first step,” he said. As for Rock, Kimmel said he has spoken to him since the incident, but isn’t disclosing details. “I don’t want to share what he told me because I don’t think it’s my story to share,” he said, “but he was surprised by it.”