After Spicer's Emmy Cameo, the Knives Come Out
He thought it was 'kinda funny,' but critics aren't laughing
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 18, 2017 1:40 PM CDT
Sean Spicer speaks at the Emmys on Sunday.   (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)
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(Newser) – Sean Spicer's surprise cameo at the Emmys Sunday night continues to be a big talker, and it seems that all praise or criticism can be directed to host Stephen Colbert. It was Colbert himself who raised the idea at a planning meeting, reports CNN. The host then helped pitch it to Spicer, who signed on. The move may have generated laughs, but it also has triggered plenty of controversy. Details:

  • The appearance: Watch the video here. Spicer jokes about the broadcast being the most watched in history, spoofing his own boast about President Trump's inauguration. To keep the cameo secret, producers cleared out the venue for a super-secret rehearsal before the show.
  • Not worried: The Hollywood Reporter talks to Spicer, who says Colbert and a producer pitched him the concept, and he accepted because he thought the idea was "kinda funny." He said he didn't consider the negative criticism that might follow. "I was more worried about the logistical reactions," he said. "I've never wheeled a podium before." THR adds that Spicer enjoyed celebrity status afterward, and getting mobbed for photos.

  • Blowback: At Slate, Christina Cauterucci calls the cameo "a sickening, cynical laugh grab," and one that will mainly benefit Spicer. It was better when people laughed at Spicer during Melissa McCarthy's skewerings, writes Cauterucci. "Laughing with him only dulls the senses to his deeds."
  • Not a 'folk hero': In a piece headlined, "Don't Make This Guy a Folk Hero," Kevin Fallon at the Daily Beast writes that Spicer doesn't get to be in on the joke. He "openly lied to the American public, participated in the stonewalling of the free press, and then shrugged his shoulders and copped 'the boss made me do it' as his defense,'" writes Fallon. He was "spineless" when it mattered and shouldn't be rewarded for it.
  • Surprise: Audience member reactions were memorable, with Anna Chlumsky's getting lots of attention. People rounds up more images, including that of McCarthy.
  • Alec Baldwin's take: The Trump impersonator cuts Spicer some slack when asked about the sketch afterward. "Spicer obviously was compelled to do certain things that we might not have respected ... in order to do his job," he said. "But I've done some jobs that are things that you shouldn't admire or respect me for, either." See Baldwin's response here.
  • Praise from Kellyanne: In an appearance on Fox, White House adviser Kellyanne Conway said she was glad to see Spicer in good spirits, per HuffPost: "I'm very happy for him. This is something that a lot of folks in Hollywood sometimes lack, which is introspection and good humor."
  • Low ratings: Early numbers from Nielsen suggest the show might end up being the lowest-rated Emmys ever, reports the Hill. The CBS broadcast had an 8.2 overnight rating, the equivalent of about 11.2 million viewers. That's down about 2% from last year's show hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, the previous record low. Larry O'Connor of Mediaite thinks ratings are tanking because the show has become so political.

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