Sean Spicer’s Emmys Cameo Was Stephen Colbert’s Idea

One of the most talked about moments at the Emmys last night was Sean Spicer’s surprise cameo, and now we’re beginning to learn how this came about.

According to a new report from CNN, the Spicer cameo was all Stephen Colbert’s idea, and it came together just a few days ago. As Spicer was getting ready to appear on Jimmy Kimmel Live! last week, Colbert wondered whether the former White House press secretary would play along with an Emmys bit too. One of Colbert’s producers then pitched the idea.

Spicer was already in Los Angeles to tape Jimmy Kimmel Live! last week. After being interviewed on that show, he went back home briefly but then returned to California for a secret dress rehearsal, at which the stage was emptied so nobody would know about Spicer’s cameo and it wouldn’t leak ahead of time.

Sean Spicer at the Emmys

Sean Spicer at the Emmys. | Frederic J. Brown | Getty Images

While speaking with The Hollywood Reporter, Spicer explained how he ended up at the Emmys.

“I had a conversation with Stephen [Colbert] and his executive producer,” he said. “They came up with a concept, and I thought it was kinda funny. I said I’d be there.”

The bit in question involved Stephen Colbert wondering how many people are watching the Emmys, only for Sean Spicer to roll out with his podium and declare that “this will be the largest audience to witness and Emmys, period, both in person and around the world.” This was a reference to Spicer’s false claim in January that Donald Trump’s inauguration was the most well-attended in history.

Stephen Colbert at the Emmys

Stephen Colbert at the Emmys. | Frederic J. Brown/Getty Images

While the joke seemed to go over well in the room, not everyone at home was happy, complaining that the Emmys was letting Spicer off easy and laughing off months of attempts to delegitimize the press. A flood of opinion pieces about this cameo were published on Monday morning, including The Washington Post’s “Sean Spicer’s yucky cameo at the Emmys” and The Daily Beast’s “Sean Spicer at the Emmys: Don’t Make This Guy a Folk Hero.” Celebrities like Zach Braff, Jenny Slate, and Alyssa Milano also chimed in.

According to CNN, Colbert and his producers knew there would be a backlash, but “Colbert thought it would be funny and surprising, and that’s what mattered most.”

In general, though, Stephen Colbert seems to be one of those people who isn’t ready to forgive Sean Spicer, as he told Jimmy Kimmel last week.

“He wants to be forgiven, but he won’t regret anything he did, and you’ve got to regret something you did to be forgiven,” Colbert said.