The Emmy Awards look a little different this year, but Jimmy Kimmel brought the same laughs — to an empty audience. The comedian, 52, hosted the Emmys for the third time on September 20, helming the almost all-virtual awards show by himself from the Staples Center as the nominees watched from their houses in their “designer PJs,” he joked. Jimmy opened with a raucous monologue all about the pandemic, taking aim at this year’s nominees, and a little bit at Donald Trump, of course.
Jimmy tried to pull a fast one on the audience at home by playing old clips of celebrities at past Emmy Awards, who laughed, clapped, and cheered on his jokes. He then revealed that he was actually by himself in an auditorium filled with cardboard cutouts of celebrities. “Of course I’m up here all alone. Of course we don’t have an audience. This isn’t a MAGA rally; it’s the Emmys,” he joked, referring to President Trump’s campaign events where thousands of attendees refuse to socially distance or wear protective masks.
Trump has publicly mocked people for wearing masks during the pandemic and said that he “doesn’t agree” with the CDC’s insistence that wearing them slows the spread of the disease. His events, like the July 4th fireworks display at Mt. Rushmore, and his campaign rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, were filled to the brim with supporters who stood shoulder to shoulder without any PPE. One of his friends and most fervent defenders, Herman Cain, died of COVID-19 shortly after attending the Tulsa rally.
In an interview with Good Morning America prior to the show, Jimmy joked that he was glad he knew in advance that his monologue would be met with silence. “I am nervous about the technical end of it, because it’s not something I know much about, not something I can control,” he said. “Think about just trying to Zoom with your grandparents, and now imagine that we’ve got 150 celebrities who haven’t made themselves lunch in, like, 19 years, many of them, are now trying to connect technically to an awards show. Those are the challenges we’re facing.”