Actor Anthony Anderson played it angry, Emmys host Jimmy Kimmel played it nervous and demure — and it made for one of the more noteworthy moments of 72nd annual awards show Sunday night.
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Anderson — star of the sitcom "Black-ish" — walked onstage to present an award and launched into a monologue that Kimmel jokingly indicated wasn't what they'd rehearsed. Anderson cut off Kimmel and forged ahead.
"We have a record number of black Emmy nominees this year, which is great," Anderson said.
Reacting to Kimmel's silence, Anderson quipped to the host, "This is the part where the white people start to applaud."
Kimmel obliged — but that wasn't quite good enough. "And nod," Anderson added. Kimmel did as ordered.
"These Emmys would have been NBA All-Star Weekend and Wakanda all wrapped into one. This was supposed to be the blackest Emmys ever. Y'all wouldn't have been able to handle how black it was gonna be," Anderson said before an empty Staples Center. "But because of COVID we can't even get in the damn building."
Kimmel attempted to interject, but Anderson kept going: "These Emmys would have been so black, it would have been like hot-sauce-in-your-purse black. It would have been Howard University Homecoming black. It would have been you-fit-the-description black."
'Don't whitesplain it to me, Jimmy!'
Once again Kimmel tried cutting in — but to no avail: "We would've had speeches quoting our great poets like Maya Angelou, Langston Hughes, Cardi B. WAP, Jimmy, WAP!" Anderson said in a partially bleeped-out reference to the sexually charged hit song. "But instead of that sexy melanated energy, here I am, alone in a sterilized green room, trying not to sneeze on a llama. What a damn shame."
When Kimmel corrected Anderson that the animal — which appeared earlier in the broadcast, the Hollywood Reporter said — was an alpaca, Anderson hollered at the host, "Don't whitesplain it to me, Jimmy! It shoulda been a pit bull!"
Anderson continued, "I'm still rootin' for everybody black. Because black stories, black performances, and black lives matter. Say it with me, Jimmy." With that the pair chanted the "black lives matter" phrase that's been heard countless times this summer amid protests.
But Kimmel wasn't saying it with enough gusto, and Anderson demanded more: "Louder, Jimmy!" And they chanted the phrase again. But still it wasn't quite good enough.
"Louder, Jimmy!" Anderson hollered at Kimmel. "Say it so that my kids can hear it!"
After a third chant, the finally satisfied Anderson said, "That's right, and because black lives matter, black people will stay at home tonight to be safe. Which is fine, because guess what? Y'all don't know how to light us anyway."
Anthony Anderson Was Looking Forward to the Blackest Emmys Ever