Jimmy Kimmel is one of the most popular and beloved late night talk show hosts on television today. He has been hosting Jimmy Kimmel Live! on ABC since 2003, entertaining viewers with his witty interviews and comedy skits. There are many reasons why Jimmy Kimmel has developed such a loyal fanbase over the years.
His Humble Beginnings
Jimmy Kimmel did not have a glamorous start in show business, which makes him relatable. He was born in Brooklyn, NY in 1967 and grew up in Las Vegas. After high school, Kimmel attended University of Nevada Las Vegas and Arizona State University but did not graduate. He got his start in radio, hosting a Sunday night interview show on Seattle’s KZOK-FM as “Jimmy the Sports Guy.”
In the late 90s, Kimmel landed a job as the co-host of Comedy Central’s game show Win Ben Stein’s Money, which helped launch his television career. It was a hit and won Daytime Emmy awards. Kimmel was not an overnight sensation by any means – he worked his way up with stints on various radio shows and television programs. His humble beginnings make Kimmel’s success story more satisfying for fans to watch.
His Charming Personality
Part of Kimmel’s appeal is his relaxed and charming personality. He comes across as everyone’s fun-loving friend. Kimmel has a casual interview style where he often jokes around with guests while asking them thoughtful questions. He is able to get guests to open up and show sides of their personalities that other late night hosts cannot.
Kimmel also has a mischievous sense of humor that shines through in comedy bits and sketches on his show. For example, he loves pranking his celebrity guests and crew members in lighthearted ways that endear him to audiences. Kimmel maintains an air of authenticity in how he presents himself on television.
His Sharp Wit
Of course, being a late night host requires being quick-witted and funny. Jimmy Kimmel has established himself as one the quickest comic minds on television. He always has hilarious jokes ready for his nightly monologues that satirize current events and pop culture. Kimmel also thinks on his feet during interviews when guests say unexpected things.
His interactions with sidekick Guillermo are fan favorites, with the two often engaging in funny back-and-forth banter. Jimmy Kimmel Live even features comedy skits that allow Kimmel and his crew to showcase their comedic skills through characters and impressions. Kimmel’s sharp, timely humor keeps audiences laughing and entertained.
His Emotional Side
As much as Jimmy Kimmel loves goofing around, he also has a sentimental side that he shares with viewers. This gives his show some heartfelt moments amidst the comedy. Kimmel has gotten choked up on air when delivering serious monologues about topics like healthcare and gun violence that are important to him. These monologues often go viral, spreading Kimmel’s messages beyond his nightly audience.
Kimmel has also shared his own personal experiences on his show. He’s spoken emotionally about his young son Billy’s congenital heart defect and the medical issues he has faced since birth. These kinds of segments resonate with viewers, who feel like they get to see the real Jimmy Kimmel and not just the funny late night persona.
He Takes Risks
Jimmy Kimmel has never been afraid to take risks with his show’s format and content. He is always looking for ways to shake up the late night talk show formula. For instance, he moved Jimmy Kimmel Live! to the historic Howard Hughes Hollywood lot to film before an outdoor crowd. Traditional late night shows at the time were based in New York or Los Angeles studios.
Kimmel has hosted editions of his show before or after major live events like the Oscars or the Super Bowl. He filmed two episodes in Brooklyn to bring himself back to his NYC roots. Kimmel even aired an entire episode without an audience in 2020 during the pandemic – something completely unprecedented in late night TV. His willingness to experiment keeps the show fresh.
He Features Unique Guests
While Jimmy Kimmel books traditional big name guests like Matt Damon, he also highlights people with interesting stories and talents that other shows might not feature. His segment “Jimmy Kimmel Live: I Told My Kids I Ate All Their Halloween Candy” shows the shocked reactions of children who believe their candy has been eaten, and has become a viral annual tradition.
Kimmel has featured YouTube stars and social media influencers on his show long before other late night hosts. He even interviewed his Aunt Chippy before she passed away to tell her funny stories and give her the spotlight. By having unique guests, Kimmel can create one-of-a-kind viral moments that audiences love.
He’s An Animal Lover
Jimmy Kimmel’s huge soft spot for animals endears him to viewers. He concludes almost every show with a segment focused on an adopted pet in need of a home. Kimmel’s own dog Weezy made frequent appearances on the show before sadly passing away.
Kimmel partnered with the World Wildlife Fund to raise awareness about endangered species. He got emotional on air when saying goodbye to Cecil the lion after the beloved Zimbabwean lion was killed by a hunter. Kimmel’s animal advocacy aligns with values that many audience members share.
In summary, Jimmy Kimmel has become so beloved due to his humble beginnings, charm, humor, emotion, risk-taking, unique guests, and animal activism. He connects to audiences through all of these elements, making him one of the most popular late night hosts in recent decades. After 19 years on the air, his fanbase remains as devoted as ever.
What are Jimmy Kimmel’s Most Popular Comedy Sketches?
Jimmy Kimmel Live features hilarious pre-taped comedy sketches that showcase the writing staff’s creativity and Jimmy’s knack for physical comedy. Here are some of the most popular sketches that have generated millions of YouTube views:
Celebrities Read Mean Tweets
This recurring viral segment features celebrities reading actual cruel tweets about them posted online and reacting to them. Jimmy Kimmel Live helped pioneer mean tweets videos, which get massive views.
I’m F**king Ben Affleck
In this star-studded video, an all-star cast of Matt Damon’s friends (including Brad Pitt, Harrison Ford and Cameron Diaz) record messages revealing they had relations with Ben Affleck to get back at Damon for saying he was f**king Ben Affleck in Jay Z’s “Bounce” music video.
Kimmel sends his “Cousin Sal” out on the street to ask pedesstrians ridiculous fake trivia questions like “what color is the yellow brick road?” Their confused responses are hilarious.
Lie Witness News
In this segment, Jimmy Kimmel Live asks random pedestrians questions about fabricated current events to reveal how many people pretend to stay informed about topics they don’t actually know anything about.
Celebrities Read Texts from Their Moms
Kimmel has stars like Chris Evans, Samuel L. Jackson and Jennifer Aniston read and react to funny text message conversations they have had with their mothers.
Celebrities Get a Spray Tan
In these videos, stars visit a fake tanning salon run by Kimmel’s crew and end up getting sprayed all over with brown liquid in a tanning booth gone wrong as part of the prank.
I Told My Kids I Ate All Their Halloween Candy
Every year, Jimmy Kimmel challenges parents to pretend they ate all their kids’ Halloween candy, then post video of their children’s outraged horror and despair when they discover it’s all gone.
Clips from TV and politics are deviously edited to insert bleeps and blurs over words to make innocent conversations sound profane and raunchy.
Jimmy Kimmel’s Most Memorable Pranks on Staff
As a legendary prankster, Jimmy Kimmel has pulled off some particularly hilarious stunts over the years with his long-suffering staff as targets:
Fake Studio Fire
While filming promos for the Oscars, Jimmy had crew members pretend there was a major electrical fire on the studio roof that started raining debris down onto the set and even made part of the wall explode into flames. The horrified reactions from his staff were priceless.
Parking Lot Car Attack
Jimmy hired a monster truck to come barreling into the parking lot outside his show’s studio and violently “attack” the cars of producers and writers, crushing them like a deranged monster. Their stunned disbelief when seeing their car wrecks was caught on tape.
Terrifying Snake Scare
Jimmy planted a massive live snake inside a staffer’s desk drawer and had it pop out when he opened it to pull the ultimate prank on the snake-phobic employee who freaked when he saw it.
Fake Earthquake Chaos
To trick his staff, Jimmy had crew members rock furniture and equipment back and forth off camera to simulate a major California earthquake striking the studio in the middle of a taping – sending everyone into panicked disarray trying to take shelter.
Covered in Powdered Sugar
Jimmy dumped massive barrels of white powdered sugar on producers from above a doorway where it was rigged up, covering them head to toe in the sticky mess when they walked under it to elicit shock and laughs.
Top 5 Jimmy Kimmel Live Musical Performances
A huge part of the appeal of Jimmy Kimmel Live is the amazing musical guests the show attracts. Here are 5 of the most memorable musical performances in the history of the show:
Kanye West Makes His TV Comeback
After controversy over Taylor Swift, Kanye West gave his first TV performance in months on Jimmy Kimmel Live in 2010. He performed “Power” and “Runaway” to signal his comeback and the crowd went wild.
Mariah Carey Sings “All I Want for Christmas is You”
No holiday season is complete without Mariah Carey performing her iconic hit on Jimmy Kimmel Live. She never fails to get the crowd into the Christmas spirit.
Paul McCartney Plays Beatles Classics
In a huge musical coup, Jimmy Kimmel Live hosted the legendary Paul McCartney in 2015. McCartney played several classic Beatles songs like “Lady Madonna” and “Get Back” to the delight of the audience.
Metallica Rocks “Enter Sandman”
Heavy metal icons Metallica brought the house down with a fiery rendition of their 1991 smash hit “Enter Sandman” that showed they have not lost a step rocking huge crowds.
Ed Sheeran’s “Thinking Out Loud”
Ed Sheeran has become one of the biggest musicians in the world, with his breakout happening after he sang his emotional hit “Thinking Out Loud” on Jimmy Kimmel Live and charmed viewers.
Jimmy Kimmel’s Most Viral Monologues
Jimmy Kimmel often dedicates portions of his opening monologue to major news events or causes he cares deeply about. His impassioned speeches on these topics regularly go viral online. Here are his 5 most viral monologues that got people talking:
On Mass Shootings
This emotional monologue responding to multiple mass shootings had Kimmel nearly in tears, demanding political action to combat gun violence plaguing America.
On Healthcare for Children
Kimmel shared his newborn son’s struggle with a severe heart defect in this impactful, personal monologue making a plea for universal healthcare.
On Killing Cecil the Lion
An angry Kimmel blasted the American dentist who illegally poached and killed the famous Zimbabwean lion Cecil in this environmentalist-themed viral rebuke.
On Storming the Capitol
Kimmel slammed the rioters who violently stormed the U.S. Capitol building in January 2021 in this scathing monologue that was widely shared and praised.
On the Me Too Movement
Kimmel voiced strong support of the Me Too movement against sexual harassment and admitted his own past failings in this monologue that articulated an important cultural moment.
Frequently Asked Questions About Jimmy Kimmel’s Popularity
Who was Jimmy Kimmel’s sidekick for many years?
Jimmy Kimmel’s longtime sidekick and fan favorite personality on the show was Guillermo Rodriguez. Guillermo served as Jimmy’s security guard and on-air sidekick from the show’s premiere until 2020.
What celebrities are regular guests on Jimmy Kimmel Live?
Some frequent Jimmy Kimmel Live guests include Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, George Clooney, Julia Roberts, Tracy Morgan, Cousin Sal, and Kimmel’s ex Sarah Silverman. Kimmel has recurring comedy bits and games he plays with these recurring guests.
What was Jimmy Kimmel’s nickname when he was a radio host?
When Jimmy Kimmel hosted a Sunday night radio show on Seattle’s KZOK-FM in the 1990s, he went by the on-air nickname “Jimmy the Sports Guy” since he mainly talked sports for that program.
How many times has Jimmy Kimmel hosted the Oscars?
As of 2023, Jimmy Kimmel has hosted the Academy Awards ceremony twice, in 2017 and 2018. His combined hosting earned positive reviews for successfully balancing entertainment and honoring cinema.
Is Jimmy Kimmel married? Who is his wife?
Yes, Jimmy Kimmel has been married twice. His current wife since 2013 is writer Molly McNearney, who he met when she was a writer for Jimmy Kimmel Live. He has two children with McNearney and two children from his first marriage.
For almost two decades and counting, Jimmy Kimmel has proven himself to be one of the most talented, funny, emotional, and quick-witted late night talk show hosts on television. Though he started from humble roots working in radio, Kimmel has earned his place as a beloved fixture in the late night landscape through his charming personality, comedy sketches, pranks, animal advocacy and heartfelt but hilarious monologues.
Jimmy Kimmel has shown he truly cares about causes like health care reform, environmentalism and gun violence prevention in a way that resonates with modern audiences. He balances this serious advocacy for social issues with mischievous comedy that pokes fun at celebrities, current events and pop culture. Audiences never know what to expect from Jimmy Kimmel, and that element of surprise is key to his continued popularity and devotion from millions of fans.