Not everyone appreciated the surprise appearance of Sean Spicer at the Emmy awards tonight (Sep. 17).
The former White House press secretary appeared behind a rolling press podium (a nod to Melissa McCarthy’s impression of him on Saturday Night Live), after host Stephen Colbert asked if there was any way they could measure the size of the crowd watching the show at that moment. Colbert set up the joke, and Spicer arrived as the punchline.
This Emmys audience, he insisted, was the largest to ever watch the awards, both in person and around the globe.
The bit was a reference to the first introductions many Americans got to Spicer, when he held an impromptu press briefing the day after Donald Trump’s inauguration as US president. Spicer wanted to counter media reports about the size of the crowd that attended. It was, Spicer angrily proclaimed, “the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration—period—both in person and around the globe.”
Spicer’s appearance at the Emmys was certainly unexpected. The celebrities in attendance gawked when he rolled out. Colbert and Hollywood have openly mocked and criticized the Trump administration, including dozens of times in the monologues, skits, and acceptance speeches at the Emmys tonight. Spicer, though he resigned in July, is still associated with the Trump team.
Instead of laughing at the gag, some found it troubling that Spicer came out and essentially joked about lying to the American people, and that he seemed to be enjoying a rehabilitation in the public eye.
Moments after Colbert welcomed Spicer back into the public eye, he cracked an apt joke about the former press secretary. He mentioned the HBO show Wizard of Lies, ”which,” he said, “I believe was the Sean Spicer story.”