NEW YORK (AP) – President Donald Trump never won an Emmy, it's true. But his presence was felt at this year's television awards ceremony more than any actor, writer or producer.
"Saturday Night Live," for which Trump was an endless fount of comedy during his campaign and early presidency, had its best Emmys haul in the show's 41-year history. "The Handmaid's Tale," the Hulu drama about an authoritarian society where some found disturbing echoes in real life, was the most-honored drama Sunday night.
Then there was host Stephen Colbert's string of one-liners about the man he considered the biggest television star of the past year, and former White House press secretary Sean Spicer's jaw-dropping cameo in Colbert's opening monologue.
Trump is a past Emmy nominee, from his time as "Celebrity Apprentice" host. Colbert told the audience that the Emmys may be to blame for his presidency, because Trump might not have run if he'd won an Emmy. Then he got in a dig where he knew it would hurt: "Unlike the presidency, Emmys go to the winner of the popular vote," he said.
Spicer wheeled onto the stage behind a mobile podium – a la "SNL" impersonator Melissa McCarthy – and joked about the Emmys having its biggest audience ever. The reference to his dubious claim about the crowd size at Trump's inaugural struck some on social media as not the sort of thing that should be joked about.
"Saturday Night Live" won a total of nine Emmys Sunday and at last week's Creative Arts Emmys. The cast members who impersonated Trump and opponent Hillary Clinton – Alec Baldwin and Kate McKinnon – both won Emmys for supporting roles in a comedy. The show won the Emmy for best variety sketch series.
– AP Television Writer Lynn Elber and Entertainment Writer Lindsey Bahr in Los Angeles contributed to this report.