Jimmy Kimmel's 20 Funniest Jokes From His ABC Upfront Roast

The late-night host took jabs at John Travolta, Rupert Murdoch and even his own network's former chief Paul Lee.
Courtesy of ABC
Jimmy Kimmel

Jimmy Kimmel spared no one during his annual upfronts roast when he took the stage Tuesday at ABC's presentation.

The late-night host poked fun at former ABC chief Paul Lee, as well as the British executive's replacement, Channing Dungey, who announced seconds before Kimmel made his way onstage that the network had extended his contract for three more years.

"This is the 14th time I've been here at the upfronts in New York, and I have to admit that I'm starting to look forward to this," said the Jimmy Kimmel Live! host before he began throwing punches at all the networks — ABC included. Among the many TV and media personalities he took aim at during his monologue: Bob Costas, Rupert Murdoch, John Travolta and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

From jokes about millennials being "vaping, snapchatting, music-stealing little f—ers" leaving broadcast TV in droves to CBS' audience looking like "the Red Woman from Game of Thrones without her necklace," THR has compiled 20 of Kimmel's best bits:

1. "ABC has become like a family to me, and this is kind of our family reunion every year. Where's Uncle Paul? Oh, that's right. I forgot. You know, I feel bad for Paul Lee. He's a very smart guy and a very nice guy and you hate to see anyone — especially a British person — lose his dental plan."

2. "We have a new president now, Channing Dungey, who is lovely. I do want to take one moment of seriousness to congratulate Channing because she's too humble to mention this herself. Channing Dungey is the first African-American female network president ever to pick up a show about a talking dog, and I think that deserves a round of applause. For those of you who are unfamiliar with Channing's background, she began her career working as a story editor for Steven Seagal's film company, where she was so successful, she was able to get people to go see movies starring Steven Seagal."

3. "How are you guys holding up? Is everyone all right? Was it a long day yesterday? F—ing NBC, goddamn them. Did they mention they had the Olympics? We don't have the Olympics this summer — we have BattleBots this summer. The last time NBC had the Olympics, Bob Costas got pink eye. This year, rumor has it they're planning to give him the Zika virus."

4. "NBCUniversal combined all their networks into one mammoth four-and-a-half-hour-long upfront presentation called 'NBC: F— You' yesterday. But I'm glad they combined them. There's too many of these, it's crazy. Crackle and Vox and Vevo really need to have upfronts? These aren't networks. These are sound effects when Batman punches a bad guy."

5. "And really, do you guys learn anything from these presentations? I mean, let's call this what it is. It's a Ted Talk where you leave dumber than when you got here. So settle in."

6. "ABC, as you'll hear over and over again today, is the most diverse network. Why? I'll tell you why — because the other networks are horrible racists. At ABC, we've embraced diversity like no other network, which is why I'm so proud to announce this year's most exciting new drama, Gay Black Doctor Cop."

7. "You haven't seen them yet but we have some new comedies. We have Downward Dog, which I mentioned is a show about a talking dog. We're just f—ing with you now, you realize that? You know, Downward Dog is actually a yoga position where you put your hands and feet on the floor and your butt up in the air — kind of like what we're asking you guys to do this week."

8. "When they shot the pilot, to get the dog, which is a mixed-breed mutt, to perform, the trainer had to reward him with little pieces of bacon, which is actually the same way they got John Travolta to do his lines on The People v. O.J. Simpson."

9. "Fox made a very bold move this year. They became the first network to stop recording live-plus-same-day ratings, and they had some good arguments for why they were doing it. But I feel like the arguments would carry more weight if they weren't in last place. it's like the Knicks announcing they're no longer going to use the final score to determine who won. It doesn't reflect the reality of the modern basketball game."

10. "A lot of networks are looking at these live-same-day ratings. Our network and NBC object to the term 'same day' since so many of our viewers watch our shows on-demand. And CBS objects to the term 'live' because so many of their viewers aren't."

11. "One alarming trend is that millennials are leaving our network in droves, which I guess is a problem. But are we really going to let these vaping, Snapchatting, music-stealing little f—ers determine how we do business? We are?! Oh, we are."

12. "Here at ABC, 18 to 49 isn't just our target demo, it's the number of people who watched Wicked City last season. But nevertheless, this is expected to be a very big week, spending-wise. Some people are saying that network TV is making a comeback. All of those people are network executives, but they are saying it. The good news is that with all the options out there, traditional television is still king. 2016 is still an exciting time in broadcast television. In the same way that 1937 was an exciting time to be on the Hindenburg."

13. "Many viewers are upset because there's so many commercials now. There's been a lot of talk about heavier ad loads, which is by far the most disgusting thing I've heard you people say all week. YouTube is now doing six-second bumper ads that you cannot skip. Google calls the new ads a 'quick and fun format.' Nice try, Google. Go back to work drawing a fun logo for National Waffles Day, you dickheads."

14. "Viewers love streaming content, and ABC gets that. We do, which is why I'm proud to announce our new show Porn. It's a little bit slow to start, but stick with it — it gets good at the end."

15. "In order for broadcast television to survive, we have to stay current, and that's why we are bringing you fresh, new shows like MacGyver, Prison Break, 24, Training Day, The $100,000 Pyramid and Match Game."

16. "Yesterday, Fox said that their audience is younger and their content is buzzier. And, I will add, their bull is shittier."

17. "Fox picked up series based on The Exorcist and Lethal Weapon. All your favorite VHS tapes are now becoming shows. Did you know they decided to remake The Exorcist when Gary and Dana looked at their ratings and started projectile vomiting? Fox now has The Exorcist on the schedule and Lucifer, which as you know is a show based on the life of their founder Rupert Murdoch. So the devil is on their side."

18. "I'm surprised it was Fox who picked up Lethal Weapon. You'd think a show where the lead character's signature line is, 'I'm too old for this shit,' would be on CBS. CBS canceled CSI: Cyber, which is the last of the CSIs. They picked up a number of new dramas, which is good I guess. It's amazing CBS is able to pick anything up considering the osteoporosis. The average CBS viewer looks like the Red Woman from Game of Thrones without her necklace on."

19. "NBC is aiming older, too. Better Late Than Never is a new show that follow Henry Winkler, William Shatner, Terry Bradshaw and George Foreman on a bucket list trip to Asia. I can't imagine traveling to Asia with Terry Bradshaw being on anyone's bucket list, but I'll take their word for it. Normally when wealthy old men vacation together, it's called sex tourism. And they have Arnold Schwarzenegger at NBC. Donald Trump is right — immigrants are taking our jobs, starting with his. Schwarzenegger will be the new host of Celebrity Apprentice. I don't know about that. I don't specialize in HR. I'm not a particularly politically correct guy, but should a guy who knocked up his maid be put in charge of an apprenticeship program? I think not."

20. "I've had enough of your people. Thank you for your time. Thank you for your money, especially. If there's one message I want you to take away from tonight it's this: It's not too late for you to become doctors. It really isn't. ABC is different than the other networks. We are your partners. Don't think of us as an old-fashioned TV network. Think of us as an enormous paper-shredder for you to pour $8 billion into. Let's make beautiful, green confetti together. I'll see you next year, and from what I'm told the next two years after that."

Keep up with all the renewals, cancellations and new series pickups with THR's handy scorecard and follow the pilot crop status here. For full upfronts 2016 coverage, go to THR.com/upfronts.

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