Late night host Jimmy Kimmel said that he almost quit his ABC show when executives asked him to make fewer jokes about former President Donald Trump.
The hosts of the “Naked Lunch” podcast questioned if the star if the comedian was ever asked to “lay off” jokes about the right on his show, and Kimmel said top ABC brass “hinted” at it nearly eight years ago.
“I said listen, I get it, I don’t disagree, you’re right. I have lost half of my fanbase, maybe more,” he conceded. “Ten years ago, among Republicans I was the most popular talk show host… At least according to the research they did.”
“I get it if that’s what they want to do. I said, ‘If that’s what you want to do, I understand and I don’t begrudge you for it, but I’m not going to do that,” the liberal funnyman continued. “If you want someone else to host the show, then that’s fine, that’s okay with me. I’m just not going to do it like that.’”
The “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” host said executives knew he was serious, and he made the decision, because he couldn’t live with himself if he couldn’t mock Trump.
“I love this country too. That flag doesn’t belong to them, this is ours and when I see somebody coming in and ruining, I’m going to say something about it, and that’s it.”
Former fans had several theories why the show has hemorrhaged viewers. “Jimmy Kimmel lost half his fanbase because he outed himself as a corrupt hypocrite,” one person wrote.
“Maybe it’s because he went from being a comedian to being a spokesman for the DNC,” another added.
“I’m all for political jokes but Jimmy takes it to far. Constant trump bashing gets old,” someone pointed out.
Others compared Kimmel to late-night hosts of year’s passed, including Johnny Carson and David Letterman.
“Johnny Carson was the best. He chided both sides and did it with good-natured humor,” a “Tonight Show” fan posted. “These hosts today have no sense of decorum. Their insults are partisan and show no finesse when delivered which turns off many would be fans.”
“Make jokes,” another advised. “Letterman made jokes too but letterman made jokes on all sides. Kimmel didn’t make jokes. Kimmel made an hour long show filled with hate.”
In the same interview, the former “Man Show” host said that he recently extended his contract with ABC in part because he wants “to be on the air when Donald Trump goes to jail.”
“I still believe, even after living through the O.J. [Simpson] trial, that I still believe that justice triumphs in America and I know there are a billion different examples to the contrary,” Kimmel said. “But there just seem to be too many different cases against him…. How can you commit this many crimes and be this unethical and be this terrible and get away with it?”
He concluded that Trump is trying to “draw this out until he dies,” and that he believes the former president would be “perfectly okay” if democracy dying is a consequence of saving himself.