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In an interview with New York Magazine, Kimmel explains that he “never wanted to come on too strong politically” or “preach to the choir,” yet his outbursts are inevitable.
“I just think that for me personally, it so happened that my son had a heart operation and then my hometown got attacked. So that’s what prompted me to speak out in a way that a lot of people noticed, but the truth of the matter is, we have been talking about politics for a very long time,” Kimmel says.
He added, “I do think that as a talk-show host, you get a lot of reaction if you talk about something seriously. It’s almost the same thing as your ne’er-do-well cousin giving a nice speech at a funeral. He probably gets a little more credit than he deserves,” Kimmel said.
Although at times controversial, Kimmel has never shied away from speaking his mind on President Trump.
“I never imagined he would actually be elected,” Kimmel says. “I remember joking about it: If you tried to think of the most extreme example of someone who would never be elected president, Trump was a name you’d throw in there. There was a time when I thought this country was much more likely to elect Maury Povich as president than Donald Trump. His election was shocking. It makes me question everything.”
And Kimmel reveals almost a year after the election, he’s still worried about the future of the country.
“There’s definitely been a shift in my feeling about the country over the last year or so. I feel frustrated,” Kimmel says. “I don’t know — maybe a lot of it is media hysteria, but I go to bed worried and I wake up worried, and I honestly don’t know if things are going to be okay. I worry that we’re going to look back at Donald Trump almost fondly because someone worse will come after him.”
While Kimmel has gone after Trump, he defends Jimmy Fallon’s Tonight Show as the NBC host has been criticized for taking a lighter approach to politics, while Kimmel and CBS’ Stephen Colbert have seen their ratings improve with more political content.
“This idea that Jimmy Fallon and his show are done, it’s just nonsense,” Kimmel says. “We’re judged on our number [among] 18 to 49 [year olds], and Jimmy Fallon’s still No. 1 in that category. Anybody that says he isn’t is ignorant to the realities of network television.”
Still the ABC host says he may have “alienated” some viewers with his political approach.
“I think I’ve alienated more people than I’ve brought onboard. But what I thought was important was telling the truth,” Kimmel explains. “There are certain things I don’t understand, and the idea that Americans wouldn’t want to take care of each other when they’re sick is one of them. The idea that our politicians would let the gun lobby tell them what to do is another.”
Another controversial topic Kimmel isn’t afraid to tackle is the unfolding Harvey Weinstein scandal, in which more than 60 women have alleged that the Hollywood mogul sexually assaulted or harassed them. Kimmel is hopeful that power dynamics will be altered in Hollywood in the wake of the Weinstein claims.
“I definitely think it will make the guys who do this kind of thing think twice. But it’s silly to point at Hollywood specifically. Hollywood’s not so different than any other business.”
Already confirmed to host next year’s Academy Awards, Kimmel says he will likely address the Weinstein scandal, but be careful due to the sensitive nature of the topic.
“It’s not really a laughing matter,” he says. “There’ll be a lot of people in that room who maybe have been through experiences with him, and that’s not something I want them to relive on the night they get their Oscar.”
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The Fien Print