UPDATE with video: Jimmy Kimmel roasted Hollywood’s diversity pretensions, Maggie Smith’s no-show pretensions, O.J. Simpson profiteering pretensions, and Mark Burnett gifting America with GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump, in a scorched earth opening monologue that included one of the rawest can’t-forget-it images of Trump yet heard on network television.
In an elaborate opening video gag, Kimmel made the world’s longest commute to the Emmy theater, including a white Bronco ride, hitchhiking with Ty Burell’s Modern Family clan, and Carpool Karaoke-ing with James Corden, before finally hitching a ride with First Lady Selina Meyer. She makes him get up front with the driver: Jeb Bush.
“I’m in between jobs now. You can make $12 an hour driving for Uber!” Bush marveled, asking Kimmel if he’s nominated for an Emmy tonight. He is.
“Wow, what’s that like?” Bush wondered, advising Kimmel, “If you run a positive campaign, the voters ultimately will make the right choice.”
“Jimmy, that was a joke,” Bush snapped, ordering Kimmel out of the car, shouting, “and shave that wig off your face you godless Hollywood hippie!”
During his opening, Kimmel handed an Emmy to Transparent’s Jeffrey Tambour. “That saved us 22 minutes.”
“The rest of you, if your show doesn’t have a dragon, or a white Bronco in it, go home now,” Kimmel advised. He also gave Sarah Paulson the win for the best date, having brought Marcia Clark, who she played in FX’s The People v. O.J. Simpson, Because everyone in LA knows if you want to win, sit next to Marcia Clark,” Kimmel snarked, eliciting the night’s first collective groan.
“Hi Marcia… are you rooting for OJ to win this time?” he added.
“Tonight we celebrate all the amazing shows we’ll nenver get around to watching,” Kimmel enthused. “Television has the ability to make us laugh and cry and, in certain parts of Game of Thrones, masturbate.”
Noting this year’s crop of nominees is the show’s most diverse ever, Kimmel explained, “and here in Hollywood, the only thing we value more than diversity is congratulating ourselves on how much we value diversity.” This year is so diverse “the Oscars are now telling people we’re one of their closest friends.”
Television also brought us Donald Trump, Kimmel finally got around to mentioning, which took much longer than some of us had speculated.
If it weren’t for television, Kimmel said, Trump would be at home, “quickly rubbing up against his wife, Malaria, while she pretends to be asleep.”
While the camera threw to Mark Burnett in the crowd, Kimmel told viewers that’s the man to blame, for bringing us NBC’s reality series The Apprentice and starting Trump on his road to the White House. “Thank you for coming from England to tear us all apart with your intricate plot, you sneaky little crumpet muncher,” Kimmel said pointedly. He asked Burnett if Miley Cyrus or CeeLo Green will be our next Supreme Court justice – Burnett also being EP of NBC’s reality competition series The Voice.
“If Trump is elected and he builds the wall the first person we’re throwing over it is Mark Burnett,” Kimmel promised.
Kimmel had promised not to go to too heavy into politics with tonight’s opening monologue “unless something crazy happens that…weekend, because I think people have probably had an ass full of that kind of stuff on every show for the last 18 to 94 months.
It did. So he did.
Kimmel became part of the election cycle narrative when he had Hillary Clinton open a pickle jar to demonstrate her state of health, only to be accused in some quarters of having pre-opened the jar for her (The proof? No pop!). And earlier, Kimmel made presidential race headlines when Trump visited his late night show during which Kimmel delivered a challenge to debate on TV from then Dem candidate Bernie Sanders.
Kimmel tweaked his opening monologue right up until show time: