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The men publicly ended their feud on Wednesday during an episode of ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live, in which the pair engaged in a surprisingly sincere, long discussion about the pressures of celebrity.
At times both of their voices trembled as they discussed a feud that began after Kimmel debuted a sketch on his show in which children re-enacted an interview West gave to BBC Radio 1’s Zane Lowe. West responded to the sketch by going on a Twitter rant against Kimmel on Sept. 26 and calling him to demand a public apology.
On Wednesday’s show, Kimmel admitted that he’d only watched a little of West’s BBC Radio 1 interview when they did the sketch, and said he mostly did it because he finds it funny to “see kids curse.”
“I think some people read into it differently – that we were positioning you as a child, which was not the case,” Kimmel said, noting they’ve done similar sketches for other celebrities.
West said he poured his frustrations from years of tabloid press into his Twitter tirade against Kimmel, because he did not personally know members of the media who write bad headlines about him, but he knew Kimmel and had previously been friendly with him.
“This is the one person I know, so I can go and let out everything that I feel about every single bogus Weekly cover. Every single bogus skit … Every person who feels it’s OK to treat celebrities like zoo animals,” West said.
Kimmel acknowledged that he has also felt like a zoo animal under media scrutiny, but wondered if West brings some of the backlash on himself.
“A lot of people think you are a jerk. I often in my own personal conversations say, ‘No. I know this guy. He is not a jerk,'” Kimmel said.
As evidence, Kimmel then showed a picture of West smiling with the TV host’s father at a wedding, and recounted how nice the rapper was to everyone there.
During the interview, West reiterated several of the statements he made in the BBC Radio 1 interview, revisiting his frustrations over hitting road blocks in the fashion industry, and calling himself “a creative genius.”
Kimmel said West calling himself a creative genius was “a weird thing to say” but found it more honest than all of the people who think they are geniuses but don’t admit they think that.
“I’m totally weird. I’m totally honest and I’m totally inappropriate sometimes. For me to say I wasn’t a genius — I would just be lying to you and to myself,” West said to big applause from the audience.
West acknowledged anger motivated his tweets aimed at Kimmel, but also said he found them really funny.
“I thought it was so amazing I was saying it in real time in real life,” West said. “The only reason I could do that is because we could speak on a similar level. We can go back and forth.”
West, who has had scuffles with paparazzi this year, also complained about their aggressive tactics.
“When people hear my music, they have a good time. And I should be respected as such when I walk down the street,” West said, his voice rising. “Don’t ask me a question about something you saw in the tabloids. Don’t try to antagonize me. Because you know what — it’s not safe for you in this zoo.”
The interview went so long that musical guests Arctic Monkeys were bumped.
Before West was brought out, Kimmel referred to the feud in his monologue, telling the audience “tonight you will bear witness to the great Kimmel-West Debate of 2013.”
“The only other time I was ever involved in a rap feud of this magnitude was in 1992 when I accused Sir Mix-A-Lot of only liking medium butts,” Kimmel said.
He also denied speculation the feud was manufactured for publicity, like the epic twerk fail viral video he orchestrated.
“I wish I had thought of that. I just didn’t. You know, honestly, I’ve been too busy masterminding the giant prank going on in Washington D.C. right now. That one is going gangbusters.”
Watch the interview, in six parts, below.
Jimmy Kimmel Live airs at 11:35 weeknights on ABC.
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