Quinta Brunson Cries While Accepting Best Comedy Actress Emmy for ‘Abbott Elementary’ From Carol Burnett

“Abbott Elementary” star and creator Quinta Brunson took home the Emmy for best actress in a comedy series on Monday night.

“I don’t even know why I’m so emotional. I think, like, the Carol Burnett of it all,” Brunson said, beginning to choke up at the top of her acceptance speech. Burnett, smiling at the remark, had presented the award — the second major prize of the evening.

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“Thank you so much. I love making ‘Abbott Elementary’ so much. And I am so happy to be able to live my dream and act out comedy. I say that every time. I just love comedy so much. I’m so happy to be able to get this. I didn’t prepare anything, because I just didn’t think — oh god,” Brunson said, before continuing. “I love my mom, my dad, my sisters, my brothers, my entire family so much. I love my husband. I’m so happy. I love my cast. I love ‘Abbott Elementary.’ Thank you so much.”

This marked Brunson’s second nomination in the category, beating out a strong field of performers that included Christina Appelgate (“Dead to Me”), Rachel Brosnahan (“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”), Natasha Lyonne (“Poker Face”) and Jenna Ortega (“Wednesday”).

Brunson’s win also makes her the second Black woman ever to win in the category after Isabel Sanford for “The Jeffersons” in 1981.

On the hit ABC sitcom, Brunson plays Janine Teagues, an optimistic second-grade teacher, and follows her daily interactions with her students and colleagues at a Philadelphia elementary school.

At the previous Emmys, Brunson became the first Black woman ever to be nominated for comedy series, lead actress and writing in the same year, representing the freshman season of “Abbott Elementary.” Brunson went on to win for writing, becoming the second Black woman to win after Lena Waithe for “Master of None.” Notably, Brunson’s co-star, Sheryl Lee Ralph, became the second Black woman to win supporting comedy actress for “Abbott’s” first season following Jackée Harry from “227” in 1987.

Brunson’s only the seventh Black woman to be nominated in lead comedy actress since the category’s inception in 1966. The others are Diahann Carroll (“Julia”), Sanford, Nell Carter (“Gimme a Break!”), Phylicia Rashad (“The Cosby Show”), Tracee Ellis Ross (“Black-ish”) and Issa Rae (“Insecure”).

“Abbott Elementary” was a leader in the field coming into Monday’s Emmys ceremony, with eight nominations across all categories. See the full list of winners.

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