The 2016 Emmys were the most diverse in history, which might explain why you could have mistaken them for a roast of Donald Trump.
Jokes about the Republican presidential nominee took aim at everything from his reality TV resumé and his infamous proposed wall to his charming propensity for racism. Throughout the three-hour broadcast, the best and brightest of the television industry made their feelings towards the preferred candidate of the KKK known. (Trump has yet to respond, but he’ll surely fire off an ill-advised tweet within a few hours.)
In the opening, the unsuccessful GOP presidential candidate picked up host Jimmy Kimmel as his Uber driver and offers him tongue-in-cheek advice on his Emmy nomination: “If you run a positive campaign, the voters will ultimately make the right choice.”
During Kimmel’s monologue, the master of ceremonies went in on reality TV pioneer and Survivor executive producer Mark Burnett for his history with the Republican nominee:
If it wasn’t for television, would Donald Trump be running for president? No. He would be at home right now, quietly rubbing up against his wife Malaria while she pretends to be asleep. Many have asked, ‘Who is to blame for Donald Trump, the Donald Trump phenomenon?’ I’ll tell you who, because he’s sitting right there: That’s right, that guy. Mark Burnett, the man who brought us Celebrity Apprentice.
Thanks to Mark Burnett, we don’t have to watch reality shows anymore because we’re living in one. Thank you, Mark. Thank you for coming all the way from England to tear us all apart with your intricate plot. It worked, you sneaky little crumpet muncher, you. Who do you have lined up to fill the spot on the Supreme Court, Miley Cyrus or CeeLo?
I’m going on the record right now: He’s responsible. If Donald Trump gets elected and he builds that wall, the first person we’re throwing over it is Mark Burnett. The tribe has spoken.
Later, after Mark Burnett accepted the Emmy for Outstanding Reality Competition, Kimmel joked, “That Emmy is going on the hood of Trump’s limousine, isn’t it?”
This isn’t a Trump burn, exactly, but in her acceptance speech, the Outstanding Supporting Actress winner thanked Hillary Clinton, whom she impersonates on Saturday Night Live. The Democratic nominee promptly thanked her right back on Twitter.
The Veep star and fictional TV president couldn’t resist addressing the 2016 election after winning Lead Actress in a Comedy Series for a fifth (!) consecutive year:
I’d also like to take this opportunity to personally apologize for the current political climate. I think that Veep has torn down the wall between comedy and politics. Our show started out as a political satire but it now feels more like a sobering documentary. So I certainly do promise to rebuild that wall and make Mexico pay for it.
Backstage, the Transparent creator—and winner of the Emmy for Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series—didn’t hesitate to draw a line directly from Hitler to Trump:
During the presentation of the Emmy for Outstanding Reality Competition, Mandy Moore said, “Whether physical competition or a talent show, a reality series can lead to fortune and fame.”
“And maybe even the White House,” added co-presenter America Ferrera. “And that’s not even a joke, that’s just what’s happening. So—Tim Gunn, 2020?”
Courtney B. Vance
After shouting out wife Angela Bassett, the actor who brilliantly embodied Johnnie Cochran on The People v. O.J. Simpson wrapped up his acceptance speech for Lead Actor in a Limited Series by bellowing, “Obama out, Hillary in!”
The Master of None star didn’t have a chance to speak when he and the Netflix series’ co-creator Alan Yang won the Emmy for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series, but found a moment to (facetiously) endorse Trump when he presented Outstanding Writing for a Variety Special later in the ceremony:
We’re at the Emmys, folks, but look: it’s an election year, and I want everyone to know that after careful consideration, I’ve decided I’m going with Trump, which is why I’m also recommending we get rid of all Muslim and Hispanic nominees from the ceremony immediately. Wow, this would be so much easier if we were at the Oscars!
Mom, Dad, I know I just thanked you, but you need to be escorted out right now, I’m so sorry. America Ferrera, nice try changing your name to America, you’re not fooling anybody, you’re out.