Sheryl Lee Ralph Confronted Jimmy Kimmel After His Quinta Brunson Emmys Bit: 'The Disrespect'

Abbott Elementary star Sheryl Lee Ralph questioned Jimmy Kimmel's decision to lie on stage while Quinta Brunson accepted an Emmy: "I was like, 'I wish that man would just get up off the ground"

Sheryl Lee Ralph was not amused by the bit Jimmy Kimmel chose to do at Monday's 74th Primetime Emmy Awards while her Abbott Elementary creator and costar Quinta Brunson accepted the award for outstanding writing in a comedy series.

Ralph opened up about the moment — and even said she confronted Kimmel afterward about it.

"Ooh, the disrespect!" Ralph said, according to reporters at a Television Critics Association summer press tour panel on Wednesday. "I told him, too, to his face, and he understood."

For those who missed it, Kimmel, 54, played dead onstage while Brunson, 32, accepted her milestone award. Despite Brunson's prompts for him to stand up, Kimmel committed to the gag by lying on the floor motionlessly during her speech.

It was a comedy bit carried over from when Kimmel announced the category with Will Arnett, the actor dragging the Jimmy Kimmel Live! host on and off the stage as they both pretended Kimmel had grown too drunk to coherently present after his show lost to Last Week Tonight with John Oliver.

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Though it may have elicited laughs at first, viewers at home complained online about Kimmel's presence for Brunson's big moment, many slamming him for distracting from her win.

Sheryl Lee Ralph, Jimmy Kimmel, Quinta Brunson
Momodu Mansaray/Getty; Michael Buckner/Variety via Getty

Ralph, for one, didn't understand it at first. "I was absolutely confused," the actress, who also won an Emmy for her supporting work on the comedy series, said on Wednesday. "I was like, 'I wish that man would just get up off the ground.... And then I realized it was Jimmy Kimmel."

She appeared to be the only one in the cast who vocalized her concern. "That's just me," she said on the panel, after her Abbott Elementary costar Lisa Ann Walter said she found the humor in it and thought Kimmel's bit played "funny" in the room.

As for Brunson, she's reportedly told the TCA attendees that she and Kimmel have talked since then. She's appearing on Jimmy Kimmel Live! on Wednesday night and teased she expects they'll have "a good old-fashioned time."

After her win on Monday night, Brunson told reporters in the Emmys press room that Kimmel being on stage at her feet wasn't initially upsetting.

"I don't know. I don't really... I know Jimmy Kimmel and I don't know. I felt like the bit didn't bother me that much," she said. "I don't know what the internet thinks, but I don't know."

Quinta Brunson accepts the Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series award for 'Abbott Elementary' onstage during the 74th annual Primetime Emmy Awards
Mike Goulding/UPI/Shutterstock

The Abbott Elementary creator went on to note that Kimmel has been a major advocate for he ABC sitcom's since he first saw that the network had picked up her series.

"I know him. Honestly, it was kind of... Jimmy gave me my first big late-night spot and was one of the first people to see Abbott, and one of the first people... He Instagram messaged me that he saw this comedy and thought it was one of the greatest comedies of all time, and he was so excited it was going to be on ABC," Brunson said Monday night. "So, I think, in that moment, I was just really happy that it was Jimmy up there. I kind of consider him one of the comedy godfathers. I'm a huge fan of Will Arnett, so I was wrapped up in the moment."

Still, Brunson admitted she didn't know how she would feel the morning after — or during her visit to his show a few days later.

"I don't know. Tomorrow, maybe I'll be mad at him," Brunson said. "I'm going to be on his show on Wednesday, so I might punch him in the face. I don't know what's going to happen."

Quinta Brunson; Jimmy Kimmel
ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images; PictureGroup for The Walt Disney Company/Shutterstock

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For Kimmel's part, he called Brunson "unbelievably talented" as he spoke to Entertainment Tonight at a Walt Disney company afterparty Monday night.

"She is so unbelievably talented. And I saw her pilot before it came out on ABC, and I wrote to her, and I was like, 'I don't know how we got this, but congratulations. You made a pilot that any network would be ecstatic to get,'" Kimmel said to the outlet. "She's a lovely person as well."

Kimmel did appear to acknowledge Brunson at one point during the bit, giving her a thumbs up from the floor. But he also suggested to ET that he didn't know his location in proximity to Brunson. "I had my eyes closed, I had no idea where I was," Kimmel said. "It was one of the weirdest things that's ever happened to me."

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