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Jimmy Kimmel's Emmys opening: Here are the 5 best moments

If you're late getting to the Emmys, you could do worse than getting a lift atop a fire-breathing, flying dragon.
/ Source: TODAY

When Jimmy Kimmel hosts the Emmy Awards, everything is fair game, and everyone is in the line of fire. (And sometimes, that's literal, especially if you're Ryan Seacrest on the red carpet and Kimmel is swooping in astride one of the "Game of Thrones" fire-breathing, flying dragons.)

Seacrest wasn't the only one to end up scorched by Kimmel's pretaped opening sketch or his later zingers aimed at everyone from Maggie Smith to Mark Burnett, with a big thumbs-up for Sarah Paulson, though. Here are our five favorite moments from that opening sequence and monologue ... and make sure you've got a fire extinguisher nearby as you read along:

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1. Wham! Bam! Thank you, James Corden

We loved that Kimmel had such trouble getting a ride to the ceremony, forcing him to get lifts in O.J.'s Ford Bronco ("American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson") and with "GOT's" Daenerys Targaryen as she piloted Drogon. But our favorite pickup was "Late Late Show's" James Corden, getting Kimmel to sing along in an edition of Carpool Karaoke — and the two re-enacting Wham!'s "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go" classic video, complete with "Choose Life" T-shirts. Our '80s meters were off the charts.

MORE: Sarah Paulson brings the real Marcia Clark as her date to the Emmys

Jimmy Kimmel, host of the 68th Primetime Emmy Awards, sending zingers all over the theater.Reuters

2. Jeb! Bush, between jobs

"Are you nominated?" asked the chauffeur behind the wheel of Madame President Selina Meyer ("Veep") when Kimmel slid inside the presidential limo briefly. "Wow, what's that like?" Owch! A brave move from onetime Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush, who noted that he's "in between jobs now" before booting Kimmel to the curb.

3. Blame, or credit, where due

Bush wasn't the only political reference of the opening; once on stage Kimmel made sure to point the finger at uber-reality producer Mark Burnett, the man behind bringing "The Apprentice" to US shores and giving host Donald Trump a platform he could leap from into his presidential run. "If it wasn't for television, would Donald Trump be running for president?" asked Kimmel, calling the British-born Burnett a "sneaky little crumpet muncher." He then added, "If Donald Trump gets elected and he builds that wall, the first person we're throwing over is Mark Burnett."

MORE: Emmys 2016 red carpet: See the best-dressed stars!

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4. Downton ... absent

Beloved Maggie Smith was not spared Kimmel's comments, either. The "Downton Abbey" star, who played the Dowager Countess in the now-ended series, has been nominated nine times for Emmys (she has three wins), including Sunday night. But Kimmel was miffed she'd never come out to the show. "New rule," he announced. "For the first time ever, you must be present to win ... It's called the 'Maggie Smith Rule.' ... If you want an Emmy, you'd better hop on a plane right now and get your Dowager Count-ass over here."

Sarah Paulson with Marcia Clark before the show.Jordan Strauss / AP

5. Plus-one contest winner

But one of our favorite moments of the night was having Kimmel give out a big thumbs-up to "People v. O.J." star Sarah Paulson, who played Marcia Clark on the series ... and who came with Clark, who was one of the prosecutors in the real trial, as her guest for the night. "Are you rooting for O.J. to win this time?" Kimmel asked Clark.

"Are we ready to make the Emmys great again?" Kimmel asked the crowd as his monologue ended. Well, we think he just did!