We knew Donald Trump would come up during Jimmy Kimmel’s Emmy Awards opening monologue—it was only a matter of how.
Following an elaborate taped intro that included cameos from The People v. O.J. Simpson’s Malcolm Jamal Warner, Late Late Show host James Corden, Veep’s Julia Louis-Dreyfus, and none other than Jeb Bush (“I’m in between jobs right now,” he joked, sadly), Kimmel took the stage in front of the crowd of television stars.
After a few jokes about how diversity at the Emmys puts the Oscars to shame, Kimmel brought things around to the 2016 presidential race on everyone’s minds. “Television brings people together, but television can also tear us apart,” the host remarked. “If it wasn’t for television, would Donald Trump be running for president? No. He would be at home right now, quietly rubbing up against his wife, Malaria, while she pretends to be asleep.”
Not ready to move on quite yet, Kimmel asked the question many have agonized over for the past year: Who is “responsible” for Donald Trump’s rise? Is it the media? Republicans? No, Kimmel said, “I’ll tell you, because he’s sitting right there. He pointed to Mark Burnett, the British-born reality TV producer who helped create The Apprentice and its even more culturally destructive The Celebrity Apprentice.
“Thanks to Mark, we don’t have to watch reality shows anymore, because we’re living in one,” Kimmel said, as the camera lingered on Burnett’s uncomfortable face. “Thank you for coming all the way from England to tear us apart with your intricate plot. It worked, you sneaky little crumpet muncher. I’m going on the record, he’s responsible if Donald Trump gets elected, and if he builds that wall, the first person we’re throwing over it is Mark Burnett.”
“Are we ready to make the Emmys great again?” Kimmel asked before introducing the night’s first presenters.