Former White House press secretary Sean Spicer surprised the audience at the Emmys Sunday night when host Stephen Colbert brought him on stage during the opening monologue.
“Unfortunately, at this point tonight there’s no way to know how big this audience is. I mean is there anyone who can say how big the audience is? Sean do you know?” Colbert asked during his monologue, beckoning Spicer to the stage.
Spicer came onto the Emmy stage behind a mock White House press podium to announce, “This is the largest audience to witness the Emmys, period. Both in person and around the world.”
The joke is in reference to when Spicer said that Trump’s inauguration had the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration — which was not, in fact, accurate. The Los Angeles Times reported that 30.6 million viewers tuned in to watch the broadcasted inauguration. That’s seven million fewer viewers than Obama had for his in 2009. And Trump’s inauguration didn’t come close to beating the record for the most-viewed presidential inauguration. That record is held by President Reagan, whose inauguration garnered 48.1 million viewers in 1981.
(The Atlantic also has a good side-by-side photo comparing the crowd at Trump’s inauguration to the crowd at Obama’s first inauguration.)
The Emmy audience was shocked at Spicer’s appearance, especially Melissa McCarthy, who impersonated Spicer on “Saturday Night Live” multiple times last season.
“Melissa McCarthy everybody. Give it up,” Colbert said as Spicer exited the stage, a nod to McCarthy’s recurring impersonation of Spicer.
McCarthy wasn’t the only one surprised. Viewers had mixed reactions to Spicer’s presence at the Emmys that ranged from outrage to amusement.
Here are some of the top reactions to Spicer’s presence on the award show:
Are you watching what @SeanSpicer confirmed is the largest #Emmys ever, period? What are you waiting for? https://t.co/Fa37TDorZB pic.twitter.com/MGHlTN3JdO
— The Late Show (@colbertlateshow) September 18, 2017
Harvard fellowships, Emmy appearances, huge speaking fees: there’s just gonna be no penalty for working in Trump’s White House, huh?
— Jon Favreau (@jonfavs) September 18, 2017
So, the ‘joke’ of bringing Spicer out at the Emmys was that he consistently lied from the podium?
— Chris Cillizza (@CillizzaCNN) September 18, 2017
HE SERIOUSLY DID THAT. THEY GOT #SeanSpicer TO COME.
NOW WATCH: Briefing videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.