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Television

Jimmy Kimmel, Julia Louis-Dreyfus acknowledge a divisive election year as the Emmys get political

Julia Louis-Dreyfus talks politics
Julia Louis-Dreyfus said during her acceptance speech for lead actress in a comedy: “I think that ‘Veep’ has torn down the wall between comedy and politics.”
(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

This year’s Emmys were much more than just glamour, statues and self-congratulations. The impact of this year’s national election, with all its divisiveness and acrimony, received more than its share of attention.

Host Jimmy Kimmel got the political ball rolling right away in the ceremony’s pre-taped opening. Hitching a ride to the show, Kimmel bounced among rides including the white Bronco from “The People v. O.J. Simpson” and James Corden’s “Carpool Karaoke” vehicle before winding up in the passenger seat beside a “between jobs” Jeb Bush, playing a chauffeur.

“Here’s what I know: If you run a positive campaign, the voters will make the right choice,” the former Republican presidential candidate told Kimmel. When the host exited the car, Bush proclaimed “Jeb, exclamation point!” and pumped his fist as he peeled away with a shot of his familiar “Jeb!” bumper sticker in view. 

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Kimmel later jokingly chastised reality show producer Mark Burnett, contending that Burnett was responsible for the creation of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump due to Trump’s role on NBC’s “The Apprentice,” which Burnett created.

“Thanks to Mark Burnett, we don’t have to watch reality shows anymore — we’re living one,” Kimmel said. “If it wasn’t for television, would Donald Trump be running for president?”

Julia Louis-Dreyfus, however, was more pointed after winning for lead actress in a comedy for the HBO series “Veep.”

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“I think that ‘Veep’ has torn down the wall between comedy and politics,” said a straight-faced Louis-Dreyfus. “Our show started out as a political satire, but it now feels more like a sobering documentary.”

She then quipped, “So I certainly do promise to rebuild that wall and make Mexico pay for it.”

Aziz Ansari, who won for comedy writing with Netflix’s “Master of None,” offered a surprise endorsement while presenting an award later in the show.

“After careful consideration, I’ve decided I’m going with Trump,” the comedian said. “Which is why I’m also recommending we get rid of all Muslim and Hispanic nominees from the ceremony immediately.”

Pointing to his parents in the audience, Ansari said, “Mom, Dad, I know I just thanked you, but I’m sorry, you have to be escorted out right now.”

chris.barton@latimes.com

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chris.barton@latimes.com

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