The host, 48, kicked off the hilarious opener by inserting himself into a clip of O.J. Simpson’s infamous 1994 white Bronco car chase, a nod to FX’s hugely successful and acclaimed miniseries The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story. He then joined the Modern Family cast in the car and later joined James Corden for a “Carpool Karaoke” session. (Cue Wham’s “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go,” including a brief tribute to the classic 1985 video!)
Kimmel’s road to the Emmys was a tough one. Veep’s Julia Louis-Dreyfus (as Selina Meyer) refused to give him a lift and, in the bit’s most jaw-dropping cameo, previous GOP presidential hopeful Jeb Bush played a chauffeur.
“I’m in between jobs right now. You know you can make $12 an hour driving for Uber?” Bush said. “Here’s what I know: If you run a positive campaign, the voters ultimately will make the right choice.”
Other appearances included Game of Thrones’ Emilia Clarke (as Khaleesi, atop her dragon) and Ryan Seacrest.
Ahead of the show, the Jimmy Kimmel Live! host joked that his daughter Jane, 2, helped with his opener. “Last minute #Emmys punch up with my best joke writer,” he captioned an Instagram pic of the two tweaking his script.
This is Kimmel’s second time hosting the star-studded event — and he’s also nominated. He’s up against James Corden (The Late Late Show), Jerry Seinfeld (Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee), John Oliver (Last Week Tonight), Bill Maher (Real Time) and Jimmy Fallon (The Tonight Show) in the Variety Talk Series category.
Earlier this month, Kimmel explained why he refused to campaign for an Emmy. “It makes you feel like a real piece of s–t, in a way,” he told The Hollywood Reporter. “People shouldn’t vote for you because they like you or they met you at a bowling alley; they should vote for you if they think you’re the best one. And I don’t see myself doing that kind of thing ever again.”
Read more of Kimmel’s best monologue jokes below.
— “Sarah Paulson, who played Marcia Clark, actually brought Marcia Clark with her tonight as a guest. Because everyone in L.A. knows if you want to win, sit next to Marcia Clark. … Marcia, are you rooting for O.J. to win this time?”
— “Cuba Gooding Jr. played O.J. so well [in The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story]. I now believe that Cuba may have done it.”
— “Hi, Jon Snow! You’re my freebie, you know.”
— “Here in Hollywood, the only thing we value more than diversity is congratulating ourselves on how much we value diversity.”
— “If you are a person of color in our audience tonight, please find a white person and take a moment and reach out and say, ‘Thanks for your bravery.’” (Aziz Ansari and Ty Burrell hug.)
— “Television can also tear us apart. 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.”
— “I’m trying to figure out if ‘Topple the patriarchy’ is a good thing for me or not. A lot of people wonder what Transparent is doing in the comedy category because they have Nazis and stuff on the show. You have to understand: Transparent was born a drama but identifies as a comedy.”
— “I have to believe that Johnnie Cochran is somewhere smiling up at us tonight.”
— “I don’t want to be those guys when Kanye [West] finds out they beat Beyoncé.”
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