“Welcome to the Pandemmys. It’s great to finally see people again. Thank you for risking everything to be here. Thank me for risking everything to be here. You know what they say, you can’t have a virus without a host,” the 52-year-old late-night host began as the camera cut to old footage from past Emmys to make it look like the Staples Center was full of stars. “Why are we having an awards show in the middle of a pandemic? And what the hell am I doing here? This is the year they decide they have to have a host? Why is a question I’ve been asked a lot this week. And I get it, it might seem frivolous and unnecessary, but you know what else seems frivolous and unnecessary? Doing it every other year.”
Kimmel continued: “This has been a miserable year. It’s been a year of division, injustice, disease, zoom school, disaster and death. We’ve been quarantined and locked down, confined to our homes like prisoners. What did we find in that dark and lonely tunnel? We found a friend who is there for us 24 hours a day. Our old pal, television.”
While the audience was filled with cardboard cutouts of the celebs, Kimmel wasn’t completely alone. In addition to Jennifer Aniston joining him in-person to announce the first award, Jason Bateman did a bit with the host.
“I’m a clean guy. I’m a big washer-upper. Smell my hands. They’re like a garden,” the actor quipped trying to convince Kimmel to let him stay. “I haven’t left the house for six months. I want to be here, I want to eat shrimp with the cast of The Crown. I want Mario Lopez to ask me about my pants. Let’s go!”
ABC announced in June that Kimmel was set to host the 72nd Emmy Awards. Jimmy Kimmel Live! is up for Outstanding Variety Talk Series. A week before the show, Kimmel joked that Sunday’s telecast would be the “lowest-rated Emmys of all time” due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“I can imagine we’re going to have even more nominees watching this thing fully baked on marijuana edibles,” he quipped to Deadline. “Since I don’t need them to laugh, it’s fine. I guess it’s going to be some combination of the Emmys and Big Brother because we don’t know for sure how it’s going to work. … My hope is that they are surrounded by their families so that we have genuine emotion and excitement when they win, and that’s what I’m hoping because we’re certainly not going to have that in the empty Staples Center.”
Kimmel continued: “It’s not like a nightly talk show where you do something, and you continually make adjustments. You kind of have to get it right the first time, but I think the key for me is to forget about the fact that I’m in a giant room and you know, that I’m not going to have to project to the back of the room. That I’m just, in this case, literally talking to people in their homes, and keep it intimate even though we are in this gargantuan venue.”