Jimmy Kimmel Wanted ABC to Cancel 'Jimmy Kimmel Live,' But Late Night Wouldn't Have Been the Same Without Him
Can you imagine a world without ABC's Jimmy Kimmel Live? Well, Jimmy Kimmel almost wanted it to happen. The host of the ABC nightly talk show, which is currently filming at Austin's SXSW festival, revealed that he wanted ABC to cancel him during the series' first year in 2003. Wait, what? It's quite an honor to host a late-night talk show like the storied David Letterman and Johnny Carson, but Kimmel wanted to throw in the towel because his first year was very rough. "I was burnt out, exhausted, terrified," he told a packed house at SXSW. "I wanted them to cancel it, so I didn't have to quit." But I'm really, really glad he decided to stick it out.
Kimmel was known for hosting Comedy Central's The Man Show with Adam Carrolla and Win Ben Stein's Money before ABC handed him the reigns to his own talk show, which premiered right after the 2003 Super Bowl. And there was actually nothing planned for that very first episode, so he thought he might "hold up newspaper articles and bullshit my way through my show," Kimmel said. He also noted that sometimes he wouldn't have a guest confirmed mere hours before the show taped in Hollywood.
How far he's come. Today, Jimmy Kimmel Live is a fixture on the late-night talk show scene with some great segments and jokes that I just can't imagine nights — or the internet — without. Here are Kimmel's classic bits — ones I'd definitely have missed if he had been canceled in year one.
Kimmel's long-running — and always hilarious — rivalry with actor Matt Damon has resulted in many great gags: Kimmel's nightly "apologies to Matt Damon, but we ran out of time," Kimmel's former girlfriend Sarah Silverman's "I'm F-cking Matt Damon" viral video, and Damon's own hysterical hostile takeover of Jimmy Kimmel Live, called Jimmy Kimmel Sucks! (above)
Kimmel's recent series of Mean Tweets videos have been incredibly popular — and for good reason. The segment has celebrities read out-loud the mean things that folks tweet about them and it's always hilarious. Most recently, Kimmel had President Barack Obama on his show and they filmed an edition with the commander-in-chief (above) — and it's amazing.
"We gave them about 20 mean tweets, and they picked the tweets they wanted to read," Kimmel said. "[Obama] said, 'These are the meanest tweets you have? I can find a lot more mean tweets than this.'"
In addition to Kimmel's own gags, his loyal sidekick Guillermo Rodriguez gets to go on comedic adventures, too. Rodriguez hosts his own "Hollywood Round-Up," and he interviews celebrities on the red carpet, as well as press conferences. A few weeks ago, Rodriguez filmed a funny segment interviewing celebs on the red carpet at the Academy Awards at the Dolby Theater.
Thanks for sticking around, Jimmy. Keep up the good work.