Jimmy Kimmel was photographed Sept. 7 at 'Jimmy Kimmel Live!' in Los Angeles.
Jimmy Kimmel was photographed Sept. 7 at 'Jimmy Kimmel Live!' in Los Angeles.
Wesley Mann

Emmys Host Jimmy Kimmel Lets Loose on His Bizarre Diet, Penis Pics and Why He Has All of Letterman's Neckties

Read the interview, watch the videos and listen to the podcast as Kimmel sits down with longtime pal Tim Goodman, THR's chief TV critic, to talk about his hatred of the phrase "late-night landscape" and why he refused to campaign for an award this year ("It makes you feel like a real piece of shit").

The interview below clues you in to how I met Jimmy Kimmel for the first time many years ago. What's most important is what happened after that, which we didn't really get into during the chat: He never changed. Fame didn't change him. He wasn't nice to critic schmucks one day when he was barely known and acting like we were a cancer 10 years later when he got his ABC late-night show. He was the same to me back then as he is now. And while I actively try not to become friends with people in the business (it's entirely possible that I would hate their next project — I mean, look at my job — and that could make things awkward), it's not always possible. You meet people through the years and become friendly. Because they're nice. Because they are fundamentally good people. And they stay that way. Even — and especially — when there's no gain for them. Those are the ones that stick.

I've known Kimmel since 1999, but it's not like our families hang out or he has an extra room at his house for me. (Honestly, nobody likes me that much and I don't like a lot of people anyway.) But we've kept in touch and been social and I have truly, through the years, enjoyed — and championed — his work. On the eve of the Sept. 18 Emmys, which Kimmel, 48, is hosting again, I flew down to Los Angeles from the Bay Area to have a chat in his office. Circumstances had caused us to miss hanging out or having dinner at the most recent Television Critics Association summer tour and a couple of recent outings to L.A. were too brief to get together, so this was a nice catch-up.

Listen to Tim Goodman's full interview with Jimmy Kimmel as a podcast below.

You've been doing this for a super long time, and tonight you had Tom Hanks on the show, which is great and probably easy but —

Well, it isn't easy, actually. In a way you can only fail when Tom Hanks is on because he is maybe the best guest there is. He's a great guest, and on top of that he is a big, big star and so people are excited. So really it's like if somebody threw a ball to you underhanded, you better hit it.

Circling back to how long you’ve been doing this, there have got to be times when you’re out there just thinking, "Oh, for f—'s sake, just give me something. Play with me, work with me a little bit." You don't have to give me names …

It happens every once in a while. Probably not as much as you might imagine. Sometimes I'll feel like an interview was fine or whatever and people go, "Oh boy, I saw you with so and so last night, that must have been tough." (Laughs.) And then I'm like, "I guess it was bad, I need to look back at that." But I usually feel bad for them because I do it every night and I get many shots and a lot of them, you get six and a half, seven minutes. If you're the second guest you come out and you have to be entertaining in that time, and a lot of times it takes them five minutes just to get warmed up in the conversation. And then a lot of them are actors and you wonder what they're like in an audition and how they're able to make an impression quickly. There are some people that don't seem to have any personality of their own, and it's confusing sometimes. And then there are people who are completely crazy, and I mean totally off their rockers, and you wonder why anyone would hire them when there are so many actors out there. Why saddle yourself with a maniac, you know?

I look at it as such a grind.

I look at your job as a grind. I feel more sorry for you than me. I mean really.

I do, too.

You have to watch so many television shows and you couldn't have known there would be this many.

No.

When did you start doing this?

Man, ages ago.

What year was it that you started writing about television?

I think I started in '97.

So you had, what, The Drew Carey Show and, like, what else were you covering at that time, Felicity or something like that?

Yeah there were like 12 things on the air.

Tops, you had eight hours a week of television to watch. I was watching that much on my own.

Right.

And then the rest you were filling with Giants games.

Absolutely.

I don't know how you enjoy shows. Is the mindset different when you’re watching something to review it? Do you put that out of your head and then come back to it afterward? Or are you like, "Oh my God, I gotta watch 15 f—in' shows tonight?" That must be what it's like.

That’s very much what it's like, yeah. The insanity part of it is that there's way too much for one person to do, there's too much for two people to do, and it's endless.

Do you watch at night or do you watch in the daytime?

Both. You have to, yeah.

Do you put the show you want to see, that you think is going to be good, on first or do you save that one for last?

No, you put on the one that you definitely want to watch first.

In a way, it's investment counseling. We didn't pay for TV in the past. But now it’s like, I have to decide if I am gonna spend $12 a month on Netflix or $10 on HBO or whatever — and you are like Consumer Reports.

I was trying to map it back, I think you and I met back when you were doing The Man Show.

Was it that long ago?

It was that long ago, yeah. There was a TCA event where you guys were there and you'll probably remember this —

I do remember this, yes.


Kimmel as Jon Snow f
rom Game of Thrones.

There was a woman who took great offense — and I was sitting right next to her — and grilling you guys, and of course you were just laughing and having a good time with her and at her expense because she didn't get it. But I think that's kind of when you and I hit it off a little bit.

I remember exactly what she said to me and Adam Carolla. We had on the show these girls, they jump on trampolines and whatever — that was the bouncy foundation from which it was born. So we had these dancers on the show that we called the Juggy Dance Squad. The reason we called them that, besides the obvious reason, was Steve Martin's book Cruel Shoes is one of my favorite books and he wrote a story in the book called "She Had the Jugs." And it was a very — he was like, yes she was witty, she charmed everyone she met, she was smart, but most of all, she had the jugs. And he kept going back to that sentence. And I always loved the word "jugs" and I just got a kick out of it. It's just silly enough and just kind of perfect for the show. I hoped it would have been seen as tongue-in-cheek. And this woman said, "I have a question, what's the difference between calling a group of big-breasted women 'the Juggy Dance Squad' and calling a group of African-American women 'the Darkie Dance Squad'?" And there was a long …

I remember this. Man, your memory is solid.

I remember when people say stupid things. I can't remember my ATM code but this I can remember. And we pounced on her and I think rightly so. And then, after we finished pouncing and it seemed like all the critics were on our side, one of the other critics followed on and said, "What is the difference?" (Laughs.)

That’s like our group.

And I was forced to explain the difference.

We'll pile on, there's no doubt about it, even if it's just for sport.

It was crazy. And also it's especially crazy because I think almost, if not everyone, almost every one of those women electively decided to have breasts put into their bodies. They weren't natural breasts. And so it just seemed … that was my introduction to the Television Critics Association.

It's kind of funny that you're going to host the Emmys again, and you're nominated. I think you're overdue for a victory, by the way.

Oh thank you. You're the only one that thinks that but thank you. (Laughs.)

I did predict that.

And I appreciate it. (Laughs.)

So here we are, all these years later, but at the time you were moving from The Man Show and then you — I remember when the ABC announcement came and I called up a friend of mine, Bill Goodykoontz, whom you know —

Yeah, I know Bill from Arizona.

Arizona Republic. And we were on the phone, and we were like, "Is this right?"

That was my reaction too.

Right? Did ABC just hire Jimmy Kimmel to do this? And now here you are all these years later. I mean how? And the transformation has been pretty impressive.

I watch some of those early shows, every once in a while I'll see a clip on YouTube or something, and I just don't know. There is no way if I was running ABC I would have kept me on the air. This guy doesn't know what he's doing, his producers don't know what they're doing, the guests are ridiculous, they have no business being on television, and we're just gonna take this off now and extend Nightline for another 90 minutes if we have to.

I think there was some talk of that.

There was, yeah, there was always talk of that. There was a lot of talk about a lot of things and somehow each time we were at death's door, some magic little cloud appeared over our heads and saved us. And I could almost mark each one of those times because there were probably six or seven times where the show was going to get canceled and I would've welcomed it at that time because I really just was out, I was spent. We were on from 9:05 to 10:05 every night [live on the East Coast] Monday through Friday, and I'd go home, I'd go to sleep, I'd wake up, I'd come right back in here, and it was brutal.

Yeah I remember that. I think I talked to you somewhere in that phase you were going through where I think you were kinda done.

I was begging for guests. I would have to get on the phone and I'd call, I'd go through my friends on my phone, anyone who was in my phone got a phone call. David Alan Grier, Sarah Silverman, Adam Carolla, Anthony Anderson was one of those guys. And luckily people weren't really paying attention so they didn't realize that Adam appeared the first year on the show 75 times. I think people thought he was still my co-host.

Did you ever expect to be doing it this long?

No, never. Never, never, never would I have imagined I'd be doing it this long.

I feel like — when I watched it tonight — that that's gotta be a grind.

It's like being an athlete in that when you're young you have a ton of energy and a lot of enthusiasm and you kind of float on that, on that athletic ability or whatever it is. And then as you get older you figure out how to do things, you become more conservative in the way you approach things. I know I can write a six- or seven-page monologue in two hours. I know I can. I know I could probably do it in an hour if I really, really had to. And so you have a confidence and also a routine. And then on top of it you have people around you who know what they're doing. Whenever there is a new late-night host I always will call and say — if I get in touch with them — I'll say you have to have at least a few people who've done this before because if everybody is learning it's going to be an uphill battle.

Do you reach out and give advice?

I don't seek people out but I tend to run into people and yes, I will, if they want it, I will. I don't force it on them but — maybe I do, I don't know. (Laughs.) I don't know.

You're kind of the elder statesman now.

Well I'm — yeah.

Conan is actually the elder.

Yeah Conan and I guess I am. I do have a practical approach to this stuff and that's probably the most important thing.

You were shocked when you got the job, right?

Totally. You always assume when you hear about companies doing research and doing audience testing and all of these things that — I mean, none of that was done. I went into a meeting with the president of ABC, Lloyd Braun at the time, who was looking for a late-night talk show. Nobody knew he was looking for a late-night talk show, and I didn't know I was meeting about a late-night talk show. In fact, my agent told me — [ABC] lied to him too — they said, "We want to put a variety show on Thursday nights and we're interested in maybe Jimmy hosting it," and I had no interest in that because I knew it wouldn't work, I knew it would be terrible. But my agent said you have to go. I said, just tell them I'm not interested but thank you. He said, "You have to. It's the president of ABC. He doesn't take meetings like this. You have to meet with him." So I said "OK, fine." And I went in and the whole time we talked about late night, never once did he mention that he was looking for a show. I went home and they called my agent and they said we're interested in hiring Jimmy to host the late-night show. And my pal Adam Carolla, his wife was Lloyd Braun's assistant at the time. And she called me and told me about it before anybody knew. And I thought, there must be a mistake. It happened so quickly. And there was no — it seemed like there was no thought put into it. (Laughs.) Other than Lloyd Braun and Bob Iger each sat down in their respective offices and watched a long highlight reel that somebody put together and they decided, "OK, yeah, this is the guy."


Kimmel as Elliot Alderson from
Mr. Robot.

It's like they didn't really do their background check.

But Michael Davies, who is a producer, was a very big supporter of mine. He helped us with The Man Show — we pitched it to ABC originally. And also, you have to remember at that time they had had success with blue-collar-type shows and they saw me as a guy who fit in alongside guys like Drew Carey and Jim Belushi and that kind of thing. And they had Monday Night Football at the time. It was a relatively male network. And then things changed about a year and a half, two years in when Grey's Anatomy became a huge hit and suddenly it became a very female network. And suddenly my antics were out of place.

Yeah but you survived that though.

I did. I don't know how, but I did.

Now we're in this crowded world, I'm not gonna use the phrase that you and I talked about not using …

Yeah, the phrase that every — no, I think we should say it because I am now —

Let's not say it.

I don't know what to do because every interview I do the guy who interviews me, or the woman, will use the words "late-night landscape" as if it's a thing. I don't know, somebody picked this up and they run with it, "the late-night landscape." It's just a way of getting me to talk about the other shows. "What do you think about the late-night landscape?" It's like, what?

Now it's like a happier place and there's more people there. It's crowded. In some ways it's harder, in some ways it's easier, I would think.

No. It's harder, definitely. It's harder. And there is more competition but there is also less competition because you don't have real time-slot competition anymore. Anybody can watch anything at any time. So an idea where you had to choose between David Letterman and Jay Leno, no one has to make that choice anymore. You don’t have to, you could watch one right after the other, you could have them both on at once if you wanted to. It's so available. And of course the vast majority of our audience is now watching online, they're watching clips of the show. It's just like the record industry. They're not buying albums anymore, they're buying the singles. And in our case they're not even buying the singles, they are just watching the singles.

Once it was just those two and now there's what, 30, maybe 35 people hosting shows?

Yeah, but you also have to look at it this way: On the one hand it was nice when there were only two; on the other hand, if there were only two, I probably wouldn't be one of them.

Yeah, well you're not going anywhere, they're not gonna fire you.

No, I mean unless I do something terrible, which I could. Sometimes I'll sit there with my phone in the middle of the night and I taunt my wife. I say, "I could tweet this one word and it's all over."

It's all over.

And then I could just go fishing forever. (Laughs.) I just do it to scare her.

Well yeah, barring a stray tweet or some kind of scandal that we don't know about, you're not gonna go anywhere.

You know what I'm gonna do later? I'm gonna text you a picture of my penis and then I'll let you decide whether I remain on television or if I sail into the sunset.

Oh yeah — no, they would fire me. You'd live long and be rich and I wouldn't have enough money to go fishing. We talked a little bit about how the changes — how the job has changed you and stuff. You got thinner, by the way.

You know what, actually?

You're a food guy and I want to get into that but how did you — you're looking great.

I starve, number one. And really that's number one — and one through 10.

Is that really true?

I do. I don't eat two days a week. And people are fascinated by it but it works. If you cut two days of food out of your life you will lose weight.

That is the worst diet idea ever.

That's what it's called, The Worst Diet Ever. TWDE.

You really don't eat two days a week?

Yeah.

That's really hard to do.

Uh, yeah I know.

Do people know that you're such a food guy?

Well people who know me know it.

I think I found out when I went to Austin and you knew I was going to Austin and you emailed me the list of your food choices in Austin. And the level of precision in the note-taking remains astonishing. I mean, you didn't just say, "Oh, hey, go here and here's the address." You clocked every time you'd gone there, what you had, different meals. You gave me your recommendations for what to eat at a number of places, not two places, but a ton. I've been back three times since and I haven't been able to get to them all. You really love it.

I love it. I have a motto that my wife and I have that called "no meal wasted." And so especially when we travel we want to make sure we look ahead and figure out where the good places to go are. And also, I like to send an email like that because I want these places to stay open and be rewarded for their excellence. I think that in a lot of places the reason they don't have good food is because they don't demand it and they don't support it when it exists. And so I love it, and I love cooking, I like talking about cooking, I love chefs and a lot of my friends are chefs, and I just like that kind of culture and lifestyle.

Have you reached out to Colbert?

Colbert I've known for a long time. I was on his show. I would never be bold enough to offer him advice. I think he was doing such a great job on his show, it'd be a joke for me to offer him any advice. But if somebody asked me for it or if they seem like they want it, I will definitely share what I have learned.

I love that guy and it pains me to see he's struggling. And it's weird cause it's like, "We want you not to be the person that you were on Comedy Central, we want you to be you." And then it's like, "You know, you being you is not really working out. Let's bring that guy back." To me, that's weird and messed up in some strange way.

I know Stephen and I don't think he pays it as much mind as other people do. He is doing the show the way he wants to do it and that's all you can do.

And there is a learning curve to it, right?

Oh boy, look at me, my learning curve was (laughs) was wicked. It was filthy, as they say in baseball. But all this stuff is on the outside and Stephen I think doesn't pay a lot of attention to it. And as long as you feel like you're doing good work in your community of co-workers, I think you can be satisfied and not necessarily as stressed out as people might imagine you are.

I know it doesn't really happen this way but I kind of like the idea of five or six late-night talk show hosts getting together and having a little chat.

At the Emmys is the only time it really happens.

Well it couldn't happen on one of your days when you're not eating, right? You'd have to plan around that.

I will say I'm pretty religious about the not-eating thing but I will take any excuse then. It's like, "Oh well, yeah but there's hamburgers here" or "It's Labor Day."

The last time Kimmel hosted the Emmys — in 2012 — he pulled in 13.2 million viewers.

I'm guessing these two days float? I'm fascinated by this, by the way. Do they float?

They move a little bit. Yeah.

You can't just say I’m not eating Monday and Friday or something like that.

No, it's Monday and Thursday are my non-eating days, yeah, so today’s one of them. Although I did eat today. (Laughs.) Sometimes I get hungry. (Laughs.)

You think? I would too. Well you're looking good. One of the other things that's new for you now is that you're a parent now. How is that?

You know what, the truth is I really don't pay much attention to my kid so it hasn't affected my life at all. (Laughs.)

That's good.

As busy as I was and I felt I was, the addition of a 2-year-old into my life has really added four hours into my day, you know? I get home usually around 6:30, 6:45 and she'll stay up till probably around 8:30. And she wants my undivided attention and then in the morning too. And every day I go to work she cries. It's terrible. She just doesn't want me to leave. She is very fond of me and vice versa.

As a dad myself, I can tell you that there are a lot of people who say they are good dads and are putting the time in but they're mailing it in.

I think there are also levels of good dad-ness. And I wouldn't say I'm at the top of those levels. I mean sometimes I meet guys and I go, "Jesus Christ, dial it down a little bit, you know?" (Laughs.) I know people who have literally quit their jobs to spend more time with their children and I go, wow, my dad used to go to work at 7 o'clock in the morning and he'd come back at 7:30 and we'd kind of see him walk in and then he'd go upstairs and suddenly he'd be in a T-shirt and grumpy. There wasn't much in the way of conversation that went on. But my little brother, who works here now, he's nine years younger than I am, he was a great baseball player and I trained him when I was a kid. One day I saw my dad playing catch with him and I was like, "What are you doing? (Laughs.) What is this? We never played catch."

So the Emmys are coming up. Only you and I think you're gonna win. You actually don't think you're gonna win.

Oh I know I’m not gonna win, yeah.

It's a political year so John Oliver is probably gonna win. I'm just gonna be honest, John Oliver is gonna win and you're not gonna win.

I think so, and I think he does a great show and honestly I don't care that much.

I know.

Mostly I just want to do well as host. I would rather get a laugh than the trophy. I'd rather have a funny — even when I'm presenting or whatever, right? I just want it to go well and afterward everybody to say "Oh, that was funny." That's to me its own reward. (Laughs.)

Oh wow.

You know, you can't put laughter on a shelf, Tim.

Hopefully when people hear the actual sound of this they'll realize how fake that is.

I know, that's what I worry about. Doing a combination print interview and podcast, context is sometimes important.

Yeah, the print version, it's like, "What an ass, did you see what he said about just being nominated and winning?"

I once did a live interview with Bill Carter for a benefit for the YMCA in New York, and as a complete joke I did this long speech about how much I love David Letterman and how much he meant to me and all this stuff, and then somebody said, "What about Jay Leno?" and I said "F— Jay Leno," and I was kidding, you know? It was a follow-up. But of course that got carved out and none of the context was included and I became the monster who said "F— Jay Leno." Just for the record, I did not mean f— Jay Leno.

But for the record, you did eventually go on and f— Jay Leno over regularly.

Well yeah, this was after that. (Laughs.)

Have you guys patched it together?

Not really. (Laughs.) I figure we'll leave well enough alone.

Yeah that's probably best. What were your impressions after having both Hillary and Trump on the show?

First of all, our objective every night is comment on what's going on in the news. So at a time like this, and of course these political seasons are getting longer and longer and longer, what's going on in the news and what people are talking about. Really people at dinner are talking about two things: They're talking about Donald Trump and they are talking about what they are watching on Netflix. Those seem to be the only conversations that are being had.

Stranger Things and Donald Trump.

And if you sit at a restaurant and just listen around you, you'll hear Trump, Stranger Things, Trump, Stranger Things, Narcos, Mr. Robot, Trump. That's really like all we talk about anymore.

You notice you didn't mention any of the ABC shows?

I didn't mention any ABC shows? Ohhhh ...

Give me one that you might have overheard at a restaurant on one of the two days you were actually eating.

I'm hearing people talk about the promos for Designated Survivor a lot.

I'm hearing that too.

I just made that up but I'm glad you're hearing that.

I actually made it up too but I am reviewing it.

But that show is gonna be a big hit and thank God because it's on at 10 o'clock.

It's gonna lead right into you.

Yeah. We need it.

There's a boost there.

Yeah that will be nice.

So Kiefer Sutherland, it's all on his shoulders.

Yeah, I told him that when he was here. I said you have a big responsibility here, you need to help me. We are relying on you, Kiefer. And as far as the candidates go, well, they are both really good guests. They’re both very good guests. And for me, I'm interested in even the most minute details of their lives and their thinking process, and I don't know if it's as interesting to everybody else but if I was given like three hours with Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump, I want to know what they eat for breakfast and I want to know what their daily routine is. I'm interested in all of those tiny little things. I'm not sure why, exactly. I don't know if I'm interested in them because I feel like I might learn something about them or about myself by adding all this stuff up and forming kind of a psychological profile. Donald Trump is a great talk show guest. He is everything you could possibly want. He is totally unguarded, he does not seem to care about offending people, he is so different from almost everybody else. You can ask him anything, he might get mad but you can ask him anything. I have to say it's a pleasure to interview the guy, it really is, because almost everything out of his mouth is interesting.

But was there ever a point when you were talking to him thinking like "I'm skewering you or I'm kind of making fun of you," this is a little wink-wink, and he's either a) not getting it or b) not caring?

That's my whole life. I mean really that's what I've been doing since I was a teenager. The first thing I ever did in any kind of show business was a college radio show on Sunday nights in Las Vegas at KUNV. I was in high school at the time. And I would look in the telephone book and I'd find people who seemed like interesting characters and then I would goof on them but they would not know that I was goofing on them because, first of all, I was a kid, and secondly, they were excited to be on the radio.

And Hillary and the "Mean Tweets" [segment]. If we're talking about guarded, she is a whole lot more guarded than Trump is, but how did you get her to agree to do the mean tweets?

She didn't do mean tweets. She read some of Donald Trump's tweets, yeah. So we would like her to do "Mean Tweets" and we would like Donald Trump to do "Mean Tweets" and we have pitched it to both of them and each one of them has declined. But Obama doing them was a pretty great thing. And it's funny because when he came in and did them — you know, obviously he has people and they're concerned. I mean, mean tweets could potentially go sideways. So they went through them and they cherry-picked the mean tweets that they thought would be appropriate for the president. And he sat down and he just starts looking at them and he goes, "You guys, you missed a lot of … These are not mean enough." And I'm sitting there, giving the stink eye to his people because we wanted him to read the really mean ones, and he doesn't understand why he's not reading the mean ones and nobody wins.

Nobody wins. You're going to be doing this for a long time, right? I mean you're not going to retire anytime soon.

I have a contract that I signed recently for three more years after the end of this year and that will take me to 17 years. I don't know. I really don't know. I guess I'll figure out at that time whether I feel like I'm doing a good job and I'm still interested. I never want to get to a point where I feel like it's a bummer to come to work.

Your love for Letterman was pretty boundless, but at the end there did you feel he was tired and he didn't want to do it anymore?

I don't think he had the enthusiasm that he had at one time in his life. I mean, just like nobody was better at going out on the street and talking to people and just f—ing around than Dave. And those are the kind of things, as you're, you get older, you become famous, it's hard to go outside and have conversations with people because you just get surrounded. And now you just have to pose for pictures the whole time, nobody even wants to have a conversation anymore. It's just take a picture and I'm gone, you know?

Just selfies, yeah.

But that definitely makes it difficult. And that's a good reason why it's fun to do things with kids, because they don't do that stuff. But I don't think he was as into it at the end as he was. I mean obviously. He quit.

But did you sense it? I could see it.

Yeah I did, yeah. Yeah.

He reached out and he supported you.

He has been very, very kind to me. And I don't think it's because he admired my talent or anything like that. I just think that he had an awareness of how much he meant to me and he knew that his kindness would go a long way and if he was anything other than that, I would be devastated. So he really was very nice to me; I think mostly because he knew I needed that. (Laughs.)

Letterman reached out to you after the fact, right? We can do this, right?

After what fact? I'm not sure. It's happened a few times.

We're gonna do this. So he reached out and because — and you said he was being nice to you — he did like you. He gave you advice, he wasn't just trying to not break your heart by not responding to you. So when it was all over, he sent you all of his ties, right?

That is true. He did send me all of his ties, yeah.

You haven't told that story.

I haven't told the story. It was a huge box of ties, yeah, all his ties.

That is tremendous. And what did he say when he sent them to you?

I don't exactly remember what the note said. But he said maybe you can use these, something to that effect. And I did wear one of his ties on the show. They are long ties, by the way, they're hard for me. I really have to tuck them in. But I did wear one of his ties and I was quite delighted. In fact on my first show, I was wearing a Late Night With David Letterman T-shirt under my clothes.

So what are you doing to take off the stress of this job? Do you have time to watch any TV?

I make time for it. I love a lot of the shows. Right now I am very excited about Narcos. I love Mr. Robot, I love Game of Thrones like everybody does, Veep, Silicon Valley I think is great. I always feel bad when I go through these lists because then afterward I'll think, "Oh I forgot to mention this or that." I enjoyed The People v. O.J. Simpson, I enjoyed the ESPN documentary about it, I thought that was really great. I'm excited to talk about that at the Emmys.

But I really do love TV shows and that's why I think about you and your job a lot because I can barely keep up. I know it's not supposed to cause you stress but I'm stressed about the fact that I am three episodes behind in Mr. Robot right now.

Oh, anything can happen.

I am desperately trying not to discuss it with anyone and trying not to click on — last night there were hashtags and I was so tempted to click on them and I didn't. And it makes it hard. It's like, it has made it hard for me to work any sports into my life, although now football is coming and —

You're not gonna turn into a Rams fan, right?

I don't really have a favorite football team, so possibly, possibly. But probably not. It's kind of fun to not have a favorite football team because you're not bound to those bad games and you can watch whatever is the most exciting.

As far as yourself, you're an Emmy nominee. Did you do any campaigning? Is it hard to campaign or not campaign when you're a nominee?

No, I didn't do anything. I had done that a couple times. Like we had an event where you invite the Emmy voters to come and you do like a panel. And there was another, a party where you meet people and stuff like that. And you know what, it's a bummer, really. It makes you feel like a real piece of shit, in a way. People shouldn't vote for you because they like you or they met you at a bowling alley; they should vote for you if they think you're the best one. And I don't see myself doing that kind of thing ever again.

It might be awkward now that you're hosting. If you do win, which is not out of the realm of possibility. I mean, we think it's gonna be John Oliver. I think it's gonna be you but it could be a —

Can I tell you? I actually am hoping I don't win because I feel like I have a very strong bit to do when we lose. (Laughs.) And it will screw that up, I will be totally discombobulated if we win.

A version of this story first appeared in the Sept. 23 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

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