Michael Che gave out "reparation Emmys" to black actors, and joked that Bryan Cranston would be "bagging groceries" like Geoffrey Owens if he wasn't white

By Julie Mazziotta
September 17, 2018 10:12 PM
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Credit: NBC

Michael Che wants to correct a few past Emmy Awards wrongs.

The cohost of the 2018 awards show gave out “reparation Emmys” to a half dozen black actors who never took home the prize during their shows’ runs.

“You know, as a black comedian, for so many years, our TV legends and heroes have gone unrecognized,” Che, 35, said. “So this year as host, I took it upon myself to finally right some of those wrongs.”

In a pre-tapped skit, Che gave out real Emmy trophies to Marla Gibbs (The Jeffersons), Jimmy Walker (Good Times), Kadeem Hardison (A Different World), Jaleel White (Family Matters), Tichina Arnold (Martin) and John Witherspoon (The Mayans Bros.).

Che also commiserated about the lack of Emmys for The Wire with Jermaine Fowler.

“Did you know that nobody from The Wire ever won an Emmy?” Fowler asked him at a cafe in the sketch.

Check out all of PEOPLE’s 2018 Emmys coverage here

“I know, and Bryan Cranston won like six for Breaking Bad,” Che said.

Fowler then made a reference to Geoffrey Owens, the former Cosby Show actor who was pulled into a online controversy when he was photographed working at a Trader Joe’s.

“You know he only won because he’s white, right? If he was black he’d probably be bagging groceries somewhere,” Fowler said, as Cranston himself jokingly scowled in the background.

RELATED VIDEO: Geoffrey Owens on Being Shamed for Working at Trader Joe’s: ‘No One Should Feel Sorry for Me’

In the skit, Che also answered questions from Arnold about how he got the Emmy, telling her he “stole it from Bill Cosby.” The Saturday Night Live star also told White, aka Steve Urkel, that his character “was the OG black man.”

“Without you there’d be no Donald Glover, no Kanye West,” Che said. “There’d be no Obama.”

“Did I do that?” White responded, his signature phrase.

The 70th Primetime Emmy Awards, hosted by Michael Che and Colin Jost, are airing live from the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles on NBC.