Jim Parsons Young Sheldon
Actors Jim Parsons (L) and Iain Armitage speak onstage during the 69th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards at Microsoft Theater on Sept. 17, 2017 in Los Angeles. Getty Images

Two versions of one of the most popular comedic characters in recent TV history appeared onstage at the 2017 Emmy Awards in Los Angeles on CBS at the same time Sunday night. It happened when Jim Parsons and the star of “Young Sheldon” presented the award for best writing for a comedy series.

Parsons, of course, plays the role of Sheldon Cooper on CBS’ “Big Bang Theory.” “Young Sheldon” is a spinoff prequel that premieres in November, following the life of Cooper as a child. Ian Armitage plays the nine-year-old version of Cooper, and he gave the award to winners Aziz Ansari and Lena Waithe of “Master of None” along with Parsons.

The two actors had a funny exchange before presenting the award.

“Young Sheldon, here’s a bit of trivia for you,” Parsons said to Armitage. “In 1839, novelist and Edward Bulwer-Lytton coined the phrase ‘The pen is mightier than the sword.’”

When Armitage asked that meant, Parson’s replied, “It means that writers are more self-absorbed than actors,” which drew a laugh from the crowd.

Few actors have been recognized by the Emmys more than Parsons over the last few years. Playing Sheldon won him his first Emmy award for best actor in a comedy series in 2010. He won the award in each of the next four years, though he hasn’t been nominated since.

“It was a moving experience to me to see something I’ve put a decade of my life toward [come to this],” Parsons said at the Television Critics Association summer press tour. “I never felt, in the 10 years that we worked on the ‘Big’ show, that …I can't talk! You don't think you're putting together these kinds of things that will add up to something like [a prequel].”

“When I saw the marketing and all the posters with Iain’s face on them, I texted [Iain’s mom] immediately, ‘prepare’” Parsons said.

If “Young Sheldon” is half as successful as “The Big Bang Theory,” it would be considered a major success. “The Big Bang Theory” will have its 11th season premiere on Sept. 25, and it’s ranked among the most popular shows on TV for much of its time on CBS. It’s been nominated for outstanding comedy series at the Emmys four times, though the show has never won the award.

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