First an Emmy winner, next an Emmy host? In conversation at Vulture Festival on November 12, Into It host Sam Sanders chatted with Emmy winner Sheryl Lee Ralph about her Emmy winning work as Barbara Howard in Abbott Elementary. Did we mention she won an Emmy? Of course you knew that. But her unforgettable acceptance speech almost didn’t happen, Ralph shared on-stage. Originally, the woman being no-nonsense Kindergarten teacher Mrs. Howards wanted to play the over-the-top Principal Ava Coleman (hilariously played by Janelle James). Instead, she put her trust in Quinta Brunson during the audition process. “The magic sauce is Quinta,” she praised the series creator and star. “Quinta knew exactly what notes she needed everybody to play and I had to two of the notes that she needed in the character that plays Barbara Howard.”
“You wanna know what?” she continued. “I am so glad I stayed in that lane because I have an Emmy!” As to where her Emmy is in her home? “It’s right by the bed,” she said proudly. “I wake up and I look at it.”
Earlier in the conversation, Sanders told Ralph she “saved” the Emmys for him by belting during her acceptance speech. Ralph has a better idea for how to save the awards show next year. “I’d like to host the Emmys,” she declared, before singing out “There’s No Business Like Show Business” as a pitch for her opening number. Host and another Black woman winning Outstanding Support Actress in a Comedy? “It could happen again next year,” Ralph winked.