‘Abbott Elementary’: Quinta Brunson Says ‘the People Who Worked on This Show Deserved’ Emmy Nomination

The ABC comedy Abbott Elementary has seven Emmy nominations for its first season. The show is nominated for Best Comedy, four of its cast, creator Quinta Brunson for both writing and acting, and Casting Director Wendy O’Brien. Brunson says she’s glad everybody who worked on Abbott Elementary has Emmy nominations to celebrate.

'Abbott Elementary' Emmy nominee Quinta Brunson sits in a student desk
Quinta Brunson | Scott Everett White/ABC

Brunson was a guest on Vanity Fair’s Little Gold Men podcast on July 19 discussing her Emmy nominations. She said the nomination for the show includes everybody who worked on Abbott Elementary. Season 2 premieres Sept. 21 on ABC. 

The most important ‘Abbott Elementary’ Emmy nomination to Quinta Brunson

Brunson is gracious about her nominations for writing and starring in Abbott Elementary. But, she gives everybody who worked on the show credit for landing that Best Comedy nomination.

“I’m over the moon that the show is nominated because I felt like we did really, really good work this year,” Brunson said on Little Gold Men. “It felt like recognition that we didn’t necessarily need but recognition I felt the people who worked on this show deserved. So many people really put their all into it and the show nomination makes it feel like we can celebrate every single person who worked on the show.”

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Many TV reporters thought Abbott Elementary was a lock for a Best Comedy nomination. Brunson didn’t let that go to her head, though. 

“I just was not that concerned about me,” Brunson said. “If I was nominated, that was great. If I wasn’t, that would’ve been fine. The worry was really the show. I know everyone’s saying they felt it was a lock but I don’t know, you never know. There are so many shows on TV, so many shows and you just never know.”

Tyler James Williams was also happy for the rest of ‘Abbott Elementary’

Brunson said she did not watch the Emmy nominations live. People texted her updates, so when her phone kept vibrating, she got the sense that more than one part of the show was honored. Her co-star, Tyler James Williams, was equally selfless.

“So I’m texting with Tyler while it’s happening and he’s saying congratulations to me,” Brunson said. “And he’s like, ‘Oh my God, Sheryl and Janelle got it too.’ We’re just raving about that. He didn’t even know that he had been nominated and I texted him like, ‘Tyler, Tyler, Tyler, you’re Emmy nominated.’ He totally was not predicting that and he was over the moon.’”

Though he’s selfless about it, Brunson is happy to see Williams recognized for Abbott Elementary.

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Tyler’s done such good work for years and asks for nothing in return. It’s not like he even cares that much. He cared about Sheryl and Janelle and me and the show of course. He wasn’t necessarily like, ‘I hope I’m nominated.’ He just didn’t think that would happen, nor was he striving for that. It’s just a good representation of somebody who’s done comedy so well for so long. It’s so cool that he did this as a child and is still doing it now and still doing incredible work. I think it proves that comedy takes an innate skill. And him being able to do it so well as a young person and then grow up into who he is now and still execute, it validates what we do a little bit.”

Quinta Brunson, Little Gold Men, 7/19/22

Sheryl Lee Ralph and Janelle James deserved their Emmy nominations too

The other two Abbott Elementary actors nominated for Emmys are Sheryl Lee Ralph and Janelle James. Those were two co-stars Brunson was pulling for. 

“With Sheryl, I was just so emotional,” Brunson said. “Sheryl reminded me of this but I grabbed her hand at the beginning of the first season and told her, ‘Sheryl, we’re going to give you Emmy-worthy material.’ While seeing it on set, I was like I’m going to write you material that makes you impossible to ignore. And this is her first one. She’s been working for 50 years. It’s a big deal, just a big deal for her.”

James is a newcomer by comparison. Brunson still thinks she deserves it. 

Janelle just outright deserved it. I don’t know if that’s cocky to say but I don’t feel anyone gave a better comedic performance on TV than that woman. It’s one thing, there’s all this it’s her first time so maybe she won’t get it. Other actresses maybe deserve it more. No, she did incredible work and deserves to be recognized for it. I feel that way about my entire cast. I feel Lisa Ann Walter did incredible work and so good that she makes it look easy. Same thing with Chris Perfetti with Jacob. I’m just over the moon that so much of our cast was nominated and that the show was so we can all celebrate together. 

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