Quinta Brunson is a trailblazer in the entertainment industry, from creating BuzzFeed
content to making history at this month’s Emmy Awards.
This Philadelphia writer, producer, actress and stand-up comedian took her claim to
fame back in 2014 for her viral Instagram series “The Girl Who’s Never Been on a Nice
In addition, she acted and collaborated with BuzzFeed Motion Pictures with several
sketches, such as “The Actual Scariest Things on Earth” and “Being the Only Black
In 2018, Brunson starred in the first season of HBO’s sketch comedy series “A Black
Lady Sketch Show.” In the following years, Brunson starred in shows such as “iZombie,”
“Big Mouth” and “Lazor Wulf.”
“Abbott Elementary” is the hit series that ignited Brunson’s comedy career to Emmy
status. Brunson co-produced, wrote and starred in the show that airs on ABC and has a
98% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
After the show’s first season (and a second on the way), Brunson was the first Black
woman to be nominated three times in the comedy category at the 74th Primetime
Emmy Awards . She received a nomination for Outstanding Comedy Series,
Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series, and Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series.
She is also the youngest Black woman nominated as a comedic actress.
Brunson won the Emmy for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series. However, her
mark on history is taking a backseat to the distracting comedic bit Jimmy Kimmel and
Will Arnett pulled during Brunson’s big win.
Let’s first note that her win placed on the Time Magazine 100 Most Influential People of
Prior to announcing Brunson’s victory, Arnett began dragging Kimmel, who was
pretending to be passed out, on stage while gesturing to the crowd about how Kimmel
had one too many skinny margaritas to cope with as host of the awards show for the
13th time in a row.
To no avail, Arnett attempted to pull Kimmel out of the way to make way for Brunson to
give her speech. “Jimmy, wake up. I won,” Brunson said.
Kimmel replied with a thumbs up without clearing the stage for her.
Kimmel remained “incapacitated” on the floor beside Brunson while she gave heartfelt
'thank you's for the people who made her win possible, even adding Kimmel in her
Sheryl Lee Ralph, who plays Barbra Howard on “Abbott Elementary,” expressed her
displeasure with Kimmel to reporters at a summer press tour panel Television Critics
“I was absolutely confused. I didn’t know what was going on. But I was like, I wish that
man would get up off the ground.’ Ooh, the disrespect. I told him, too, to his face. He
understood,” Ralph said.
To the surprise of many, Brunson was unbothered by Kimmel’s joke. “Tomorrow maybe
I’ll be mad at him; I’m going to be on his show on Wednesday,” she said. “I might punch
him in the face.”
She didn’t end up punching him, but she did interrupt his monologue on the Wednesday
night’s showing of “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” strutting on to the set in a luxurious pink dress,
Emmy award in hand, ready to finish her speech from the week prior.
It was a funny payback moment for Brunson, and this led to Kimmel offering a sincere
apology about his unfavorable bit during Brunson’s moment.
“People got upset, they said I stole your moment, and maybe I did, and I’m very sorry if I
did do that. I'm sorry I *did* do that, actually,” Kimmel said during his sit-down interview
Brunson seems to have taken the joke lightly. Still, it is refreshing to know that even
after humiliating spectacles such as Kanye West and Taylor Swift at the 2009 Video
Music Awards, or this year’s Oscar Awards, people are willing to go to bat for the
principles of respecting other people’s time of recognition for their hard work.