Sean Spicer may have spent Emmys night snapping selfies with some of Hollywood’s biggest stars, but according to comedian Billy Eichner, President Donald Trump’s former White House press secretary was largely ignored by the celebrity talent backstage in the Emmys greenroom — save for one young actor.
During an appearance on Conan Wednesday night, Eichner dished about Spicer’s activities behind-the-scenes at the awards show after he made his surprise appearance during host Stephen Colbert’s opening monologue.
“No one would talk to Sean Spicer,” Eichner, 39, claimed. “The only person who would talk to him, I’m not kidding, is Young Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory spinoff. He’s talking to Sean Spicer and no one else would talk to Sean Spicer.”
Eichner is talking about Iain Armitage, the 9-year-old social media star and Big Little Lies alum who is leading the new CBS prequel sitcom Young Sheldon, a childhood version of Jim Parsons‘ brilliant-but-quirky Big Bang Theory character.
While Armitage also snapped a selfie with Spicer, which he later tweeted and then deleted, Eichner claims the child actor wasn’t sure whether the man he just met was the former Republican National Committee communications director himself or the Emmy winning actress who played him on Saturday Night Live.
“Even Young Sheldon comes up to me and Jim Parsons and says, ‘Is that the real Sean Spicer?’ Like, even Young Sheldon thought it might be Melissa McCarthy, he was very confused,” Eichner recalled. “And then when we said, ‘Yes it’s the real Sean Spicer,’ even Young Sheldon rolled his eyes like, ‘Oh s—.’ “
“Young Sheldon has seen it all,” added Eichner.
In Armitage’s defense, he wasn’t the only celebrity thrown by Spicer that evening. Many were shocked to see the controversial political figure appear onstage at the 2017 Emmy Awards, where he came out behind a White House-like podium and cracked a joke about the crowd size, saying, “This will be the largest audience to witness an Emmys, period, both in person and around the world.”
Though celebrities like James Corden, LL Cool J, Dolly Parton and Colbert himself seemed happy to pose for photos backstage with the man who was Trump’s mouthpiece, critics on social media — including several reporters and White House correspondents — later bashed the appearance, saying it was “disgraceful” to give Spicer a platform after he “lied to the American people” from his West Wing lectern in the White House press briefing room.
A Washington Post headline even pleaded: “Please don’t normalize him.”
Aaron Blake, a senior political reporter for Washington Post‘s “The Fix,” tweeted: “Sorry to be a spoilsport, but I don’t think it’s funny that Spicer is tacitly admitting to his falsehoods and using it for image rehab.”
Added CNN White House correspondent Kaitlin Collins: “Is it supposed to be comical that the former White House spokesman is now tacitly admitting that he lied to the American people?”
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For his part, Colbert — who according to CNNMoney was the brains behind the cameo — said he and his producers knew there would be blowback.
“To be fair, everyone was kissing ass last night at the Emmys,” he said. “I just happened to kiss the biggest one there.”
As for Spicer himself, he seemed to think his cameo went well. He told Entertainment Weekly after the show that “everyone has been very gracious,” even though “it’s not exactly a Republican crowd.”
He also said that Trump was happy with how the cameo turned out. “He was very supportive,” Spicer told Good Morning America‘s Paula Faris of his former boss. “He thought I did a great job. It was very reassuring.”