Jimmy Kimmel kicked off the 72nd annual Primetime Emmy Awards by acknowledging how "frivolous" it was to hold an awards show in 2020.
"The big question I guess we should answer is, why would we have an awards show in the middle of a pandemic? No, seriously, I'm asking: Why would we have an awards show in the middle of a pandemic? And why the hell am I here?" he joked.
Kimmel, who emceed the socially distanced award ceremony — the "Pandemmys" — from a nearly empty Staples Center in Los Angeles, argued that the Emmys provided lightheartedness in a year filled with darkness.
"What's happening tonight is not important — it's not going to stop COVID, it's not going to put out the fires. But it's fun, and right now we need fun. My God, we need fun," he said.
The Emmys also give us a chance to acknowledge how much we've all relied on television in 2020, Kimmel said.
"This has been a miserable year. This has been a year of division, injustice, disease, Zoom school, disaster and death," he said, adding that we've all been living in quarantine like "prisoners" in a "dark and lonely tunnel."
"And what did we find in that dark and lonely tunnel? I'll tell you what we found. A friend, who's there for us 24 hours a day —our old pal television," said Kimmel.
"The world may be terrible, but TV has never been better," he added.
When the "Jimmy Kimmel Live" host began his monologue, viewers saw an audience of Hollywood stars cheering and laughing. But, he soon revealed that were actually watching footage from past ceremonies. Kimmel then demonstrated that he was surrounded by nothing but cardboard cutouts of the night's nominees.
Oh, and Jason Bateman.
When Kimmel spotted the tuxedoed "Ozark" star hiding out in the front row, he told him he could stay as long as he laughed at his jokes.
Bateman deliberated for a moment.
"Huh, I'm out," he deadpanned. "I'm gonna call the car."