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Bill Cosby Was Announced as Next Emmys 2016 Presenter and No One Knew How to React (Especially Tina Fey)

No jokes are off-limits tonight. When the 2016 Emmys returned from a commercial break on Sunday, September 18, host Jimmy Kimmel had the announcer introduce Bill Cosby as the next presenter and no one in the audience knew how to react.

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“Ladies and gentlemen, four-time Emmy Award winner Dr. Bill Cosby,” the announcer said.

The cameras cut to Ellie Kemper making a nervous and confused expression. Then, they showed Tina Fey looking completely frantic and making a comment to Amy Poehler.

Tina Fey
Tina Fey

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After the audience had a moment of panic, Kimmel, 48, walked out and revealed that he was behind the joke. “Don’t worry, he’s not really here. I just wanted to see what you guys would do,” the comedian said.

Cosby, 79, has stayed out of the public eye after dozens of women have come forward since late 2014 claiming that the disgraced actor drugged and sexually assaulted them. He is scheduled to stand trial in June 2017 for a sexually assaulting former Temple University employee Andrea Constand.

However, Cosby’s lawyer Brian McMonagle has denied Constand’s allegations. “Mr. Cosby is not guilty of any crime and not one single fact presented by the Commonwealth rebuts this truth,” McMonagal said. “Though the court decided the government reached the low threshold required for today’s preliminary hearing, we have no doubt this case ultimately will be resolved in Mr. Cosby’s favor.” 

Jimmy Kimmel speaks onstage during the 68th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards.
Jimmy Kimmel speaks during the 68th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards. Kevin Winter/Getty Images

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While the bit seemed to fall flat with the crowd, social media had mixed reviews. “Seeing everyone’s faces were hilarious when Bill Cosby’s name was announced,” one Twitter user wrote, while another tweeted, “Still feeling disturbed by the Bill Cosby reference #Emmys #NotFunny.”

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