Jimmy Kimmel delivered an offensive performance as host of the Emmys on Sunday. He didn’t dress in blackface or ask women to guess what’s in his pants. No, Kimmel, erstwhile host of “The Juggies,” had all the wit of a middle school principal during the broadcast. His outfit may have said black tie but his jokes said sweater vest. It was offensively lame.
Kimmel, of course, peppered his act with jabs at Donald Trump. He may not have written them, but the jokes were weak. “Of course I’m here all alone. Of course we don’t have an audience. This isn’t a MAGA rally,” he said. As Kyle Smith of National Review observed, “Watching Jimmy Kimmel without an audience really clarifies how untalented he is.” The absence of a laugh track really did him no favors.
“Has the president tweeted at us yet?” Kimmel asked at one point, adding, “Oh, that’s right, it’s Sunday, he’s at church.” There was a painful bit involving a Russian mailman that was apparently playing on the joke that Russia is exerting influence over the Trump administration, which is actually hilarious but not in the way Hollywood thinks.
He also managed to inflame progressives by joking about calling Immigration and Customs Enforcement on John Oliver.
That Jimmy Kimmel ICE joke was repulsive. Christ. #Emmys
— Jhené St. Croix (@yosoymichael) September 21, 2020
god 🤢 that 🤢 jimmy kimmel 🤢 ICE joke 🤢
— E. Alex Jung (probably) (@e_alexjung) September 21, 2020
jimmy kimmel making a “report you to ICE” joke 🥴
— aleksander chan (@aleksnotalex) September 21, 2020
Jimmy Kimmel joking about calling ICE on American citizen John Oliver was a bad look, even as a “sour grapes” gag. Pretty sure only one of them could pass the citizenship test.
— Sean Redlitz (@TheRedlitz) September 21, 2020
Kimmel made other cracks at Trump, most of which I’m sure landed well with the moms of the people who wrote them. Joking about the president is fine—great, even—but Kimmel’s schtick isn’t funny enough to get laughs beyond his partisan boundaries. He actually doesn’t want it to. But it’s not an ideological problem, it’s a quality one.
This is all made more amusing by the fact that Kimmel recently returned from a sudden vacation announced in late June, as protests heated up and his “Man Show” blackface sketch drew renewed criticism. Kimmel’s “Man Show” days involved girls jumping on trampolines, guessing what inanimate objects were in his pants, competing in “The Juggies,” and so much more. Some of it was actually much funnier than what he’s doing now, but doesn’t exactly give him a lot of moral credibility.