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Sheryl Lee Ralph Confronted Jimmy Kimmel After Emmys Bit: ‘The Disrespect, Jimmy’

"I was absolutely confused. I had no idea what was going on," Ralph said of the moment when Kimmel lay on the stage during Quinta Brunson's speech.

Two female teachers eat lunch at a staff room table, with a counter and sink behind them; still from "Abbott Elementary."

Lisa Ann Walter and Sheryl Lee Ralph in “Abbott Elementary”

ABC

Social media lit up after Monday night’s Emmys in response to what many perceived as a misguided bit by Jimmy Kimmel. Kimmel, after being dragged on stage by Will Arnett, proceeded to lay on the floor while “Abbott Elementary” creator Quinta Brunson gave her Emmys speech for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series. Many online felt the moment was offensive and that Kimmel should have gotten up off the floor. (The joke was that Kimmel got drunk before being called up to the stage after losing an earlier Emmy.)

One person who agreed with them is newly minted Emmy winner and fellow “Abbott” star Sheryl Lee Ralph. During ABC’s TCA panel devoted to the second season of “Abbott,” Ralph offered up her thoughts on how the Kimmel bit played in the room. “I was absolutely confused. I had no idea what I was going on,” she said.

Ralph said she kept thinking, “I wish this man would get off the ground. The disrespect, Jimmy. But that’s just me.” Adding with a note of sarcasm, “It was lovely that he was just lying on the floor during her wonderful acceptance speech.” Ralph went on to say she confronted Kimmel after the speech, and while she didn’t disclose what they talked about, she said, “He understood.”

Brunson herself didn’t answer the question about having to give her speech with Kimmel on the floor, but Brunson did remind that she’s set to make an appearance on Kimmel’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live” after the TCAs on Wednesday night. “I’m anticipating we’re going to have a good, old-fashioned time. No matter what it’s important to showcase [that] ‘Abbot Elementary’ is premiering next week,” she said.

“Abbott Elementary” has been a massive success with ABC, and that translated into seven Primetime Emmy nominations and three wins. Ralph’s Emmy win was particularly special, especially considering her many years in the industry. In response to how the Emmy win has affected her, she said during the panel, “It has been so absolutely overwhelming. Since Monday I’ve been on the verge of tears, all day and all night.” She specifically mentioned the number of producers who have reached out to her, and she slyly asked why they haven’t worked with her again.

“Abbott Elementary” Season 2 premieres on ABC next Wednesday.

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