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Emmys: Jimmy Kimmel’s Best Opening Monologue Jokes

·Senior Writer, Yahoo Entertainment
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  • Jimmy Kimmel
    Jimmy Kimmel
    American talk show host and comedian
  • Jeffrey Tambor
    Jeffrey Tambor
    American actor and voice actor
  • Marcia Clark
    Marcia Clark
    American prosecutor, author, and television correspondent

Perhaps conscious that he may have held the ceremony up with his pre-Emmy carpool shenanigans, Jimmy Kimmel tried to move the statue distribution along by giving repeat nominee Jeffrey Tambor — who won the Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series trophy last year for Transparent — his Emmy right off the top. “That saved us 22 minutes,” he joked, adding, “The rest of you, if your show doesn’t have a dragon or a white Bronco in it, go home now.” Tambor wasn’t able to keep his Kimmel-gifted statue though; while honoring his former co-star, the late Garry Shandling, he admitted that they took that Emmy back. (But don’t worry — he received it again about an hour later.)

Related: Yahoo TV’s Complete 2016 Emmy Coverage

With two white Bronco jokes already on the board, Kimmel continued to poke fun at the multi-nominated FX series, The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story. Pointing out that Sarah Paulson, nominated for Outstanding Lead Actress for portraying Marcia Clark, brought the real-life Clark to the ceremony, he asked Simpson’s former nemesis: “This must be very strange for you. Are you rooting for O.J. to win this time?”

Eventually, Kimmel remembered there were other shows besides American Crime Story under consideration, and he made sure to be an equal opportunity offender. Speaking of Louie Anderson’s acclaimed performance in FX’s Baskets as Zach Galifianakis’s mother, he pointed out: “It’s very hard to find an actress over 50 who needs a part, so they went to Louie.”

Related: Emmys 2016 Red Carpet Arrivals

Diversity on television was Kimmel’s next target: “The only thing we value more than diversity is congratulating ourselves on how much we value diversity.” But he brought the crowd together when he asked, “If you are a person of color in our audience right now, find a white person and take a moment to reach out and say, ‘Thanks for your bravery.’” Aziz Ansari and Ty Burrell took his advice, exchanging a lingering hug in front of the stage.

It was only a matter of time until the topic of Donald Trump raised its (orange) head, and Kimmel knew just who to blame for the country’s current state of affairs: Mark Burnett, who gave the real estate tycoon a major television platform in the form of The Apprentice. “Thanks to Mark Burnett, we don’t have to watch reality shows anymore — we’re living one. 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.”

Finally, Kimmel made his pitch for what he’s calling the Maggie Smith Rule, which basically means that you have to be present at the Emmys to win an Emmy. Named for the Downton Abbey star, who has won three Emmys during her storied career and showed up to accept exactly none of them. “She’s Downton Absent,” Kimmel said with mock fury. “I have a message for you: If you want an Emmy, you better hop on a plane right now and get your Dowager Count-ass over here.”