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On Tuesday night, Jimmy Kimmel held his eponymous late-night show’s annual (RED) shopathon special for the third year in a row, surprising the Jimmy Kimmel Live! audience with star-studded guest appearances and a surprise message from Barack Obama, all present to encourage viewers to join the fight against AIDS.
Kimmel welcomed the “currently unemployed” Obama, who recorded a motivational video message for the charity-centered episode. The former president began his message informing the audience that everyone embodies different roles, emphasizing that he isn’t just a “former president” but “a husband who hasn’t done his Christmas shopping yet.”
“I know we live in a time when cable news and our Twitter feeds can make it feel like cynicism is everywhere,” said Obama. “But when it comes to the fight against HIV/AIDS there is some genuinely good news to share.”
Obama proceeded to explain the story behind the cause to encourage everyone to help. “More than half of all people living with the virus are on life-saving medication and AIDS-related deaths have been cut in half since their peak,” Obama said. “It wasn’t down to mysterious forces or chance, but the countless people working for years who chose to make this progress.”
“When we reject cynicism and pessimism in favor of a relentless optimism that says, ‘However long it takes, however lonely the fight,’ each of us can make a difference. That’s what I believe,” Obama said, concluding his message.
Obama’s message then took a comical turn, when the former president joked that those who contribute could pilot Air Force One for a day or have access to the classified alien files. “No? We can’t do that either? But I have them in my desk right now,” Obama told the camera crew, after he was informed he couldn’t offer both of those prizes anymore.
The special also featured other fun moments, including actress Kristin Bell helping Kimmel advertise potential Christmas gifts, where Bryan Cranston took a shower with “Show(Red) Essentials Kit” from Baxter of California and Rita Wilson offered a show makeover to an audience member who magically transformed into Ashton Kutcher. DJ Khaled also brought his son to model the “Dream Blanket,” onesies and a portable charger.
The star-studded group of guests helped conclude Kimmel’s special show, with a performance of “We’re Going to Hell.” Stars included: Bell, Kutcher, Bono, DJ Khaled, Wilson, Diddy and Kimmel on the piano. “If we don’t help people with AIDS, we’re going to Hell,” the dubbed “Red Pack” of stars sang, hoping to raise money for the charity organization.
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