Jimmy Kimmel Will Quit The Late Show If He Can’t Make Trump Jokes
Jimmy Kimmel revealed he would leave late-night hosting if he was forced not to tell Donald Trump jokes.
Jimmy Kimmel just signed on for three more seasons of his ABC late-night show Jimmy Kimmel Live!, but the host admitted that he once almost stepped away from the show. Variety reports that in an interview with the “Naked Lunch” podcast, the comedian was asked by the network to cut back on his jokes about Donald Trump. Jimmy Kimmel said that wasn’t the direction he wanted to take his work, and would leave if forced to stop telling Trump jokes.
Kimmel said that around eight years ago when Trump was rising to power, he was approached by network executives who pointed out that his grilling of the then-presidential candidate was alienating Republican viewers. Jimmy Kimmel agreed that this was, and is, probably true. “I have lost half of my fanbase, maybe more. Ten years ago, among Republicans, I was the most popular talk show. At least according to the research, they did.”
However, the comedian alludes to a higher purpose in his work that includes calling the former president out for practices he says are unethical and criminal. “I couldn’t live with myself [if I didn’t grill Trump],” he said. So, he expressed this to ABC by indicating that another host would be a better fit for the show under those conditions.
Jimmy Kimmel also had a lot of praise for fellow late-night hosts such as Stephen Colbert and Trevor Noah, who have also been vocal in their opposition to Donald Trump and their reporting on his malfeasances. Their late-night shows have been relentless in their criticism, from Trump’s alleged ties to Russia based on comments during the primaries to recent developments including a raid and seizure at Mar-A-Lago. Many of them, Jimmy Kimmel included, are in disbelief that the former president hasn’t already been jailed.
“I still believe, even after living through the O.J. [Simpson] trial, that justice triumphs in America,” he explained of his decision to sign on for three more seasons. He wants to still be on the air when Donald Trump goes to jail, he said and is hopeful this will be soon. It is clear that ABC is willing to give him creative control over this aspect of his comedy.
Jimmy Kimmel began in radio in the 1990s, specializing in sports, stunts, and lowbrow humor. After a few years at the well-known California station KROQ, he met fellow comedian Adam Carolla, and together they created The Man Show for Comedy Central. The duo also co-hosted and co-produced the comedy game show Win Ben Stein’s Money.
David Letterman was a huge influence on Jimmy Kimmel as a teenager and in the early years of his career, so comedy hosting for a late-night show was a significant dream the comedian fulfilled in 2003 when he began hosting his own. Jimmy Kimmel Live! has aired continuously since, making its star the longest-running late-night host of all that are currently active. With 19 years behind him already, Jimmy Kimmel only follows Jay Leno, Conan O’Brien, Johnny Carson, and David Letterman for the greatest number of years hosting a late-night talk show, and three more years would put him ahead of Leno.
This longevity makes him an institution in late-night, so it is understandable that ABC was willing to work with him. The fact that Donald Trump has either committed or been responsible for many questionable events has also given the comedian a lot of material to work with. Audiences would have lost all that if ABC hadn’t agreed to let Jimmy Kimmel tell the jokes he wanted to tell.