Jimmy Kimmel Live! is a late-night talk show aired by ABC, hosted by comedian Jimmy Kimmel. It premiered in 2003 as the network's first traditional, comedy-based late-night show since the 1980's, replacing its more news-based Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher (which aired from 1997 to 2003 on ABC after moving from Comedy Central).
It follows a similar format to other late-night comedy shows, with a monologue, sketches, celebrity interviews, and music performances. In contrast to his competitors at the time, David Letterman and Jay Leno, Kimmel was younger when he debuted (he was only in his thirties, while Leno and Letterman were in their fifties), and the show actually was broadcast live until 2004, when an incident with Thomas Jane prompted the show to go back to a taped format. Additionally, the show was broadcast at midnight ET/PT rather than 11:35 p.m. like its main competitors, as ABC initially maintained its long-running late-night news program Nightline in said timeslot. However, in 2013, Kimmel switched places and moved to 11:35 (with Nightline as a lead-out instead).
Starting out as a quirky alternative to the old guard, it has since been able to hold its own, and has received viral attention for some of its sketches and recurring segments, such as "Mean Tweets", and his video challenges (including the annual "I Told My Kids I Ate All Their Halloween Candy" prank compilation). Given the subsequent retirement of Leno, Letterman, and Jon Stewart, Kimmel has had the longest tenure hosting a single show out of all current late-night hosts in the U.S.,note and can be considered an Ur-Example of the style of current late-night hosts such as Jimmy Fallon and James Corden, whose shows cater to young adult viewers and aim to have their best material become viral hits online.
Kimmel has infrequently aired special editions of the show to accompany special events broadcast by ABC; it premiered after the Alias lead-out for Super Bowl XXXVII, and has aired shortened pre-game (well, in the East. It's airs after the game in the west) editions prior to each game of the NBA Finals, typically featuring basketball-related sketches and guests. It also aired episodes after the Oscars, but this ended in 2017 when Kimmel began a two-year stint of actually hosting them (in 2017, ABC aired a post-show with Anthony Anderson and Lara Spencer in the late-night slot following the show. The following year, they began airing sneak peeks of upcoming series instead).
Jimmy Kimmel Live! provides examples of:
- Actually Pretty Funny: There's a recurring segment titled "Celebrities Read Mean Tweets" which is Exactly What It Says on the Tin. The tweets in question can occasionally lead to this reaction, such as the members of Mumford & Sons laughing at this:"I love how music takes you away to another place. Like Mumford & Sons is playing at this restaurant, so now I'm going to another restaurant."
- Broadcast Live: As mentioned, it used to be live.
- Censored for Comedy: "This Week in Unnecessary Censorship"
- Cross Promotion: As Disney owns ABC, expect to see some sort of tie-in or promotion whenever Disney has a big new movie coming out (especially within the Marvel Cinematic Universe or Star Wars franchises), such as trailer premieres or having cast members as guests. The show went as far as doing a primetime special for The Rise of Skywalker.
- Crying Critters: The Toys R Us mascot Geoffrey the Giraffe does so in the sketch about the global closure of Toys R Us after it announced they are going out of business and closing all 1,795 stores worldwide.
- Formerly Fat: Early on in the show, Kimmel was pretty overweight, but he slimmed down over the years.
- Funny Foreigner: Guillermo, the Adorkable security guard at the parking lot. One of his trademarks is constantly mispronouncing Kimmel's first name as "Yim-me".
- Gone Horribly Right: In the sketch Trumped, Leo Bloom and Max Bialystock put their money into the Trump campaign hoping that he'd lose. When they see how well he's doing, they're stunned.Max: What have we done?
- Hostile Show Takeover: After being shafted by him at the end of the show for years, Matt Damon took over Jimmy Kimmel Live! for its 10th anniversary episode as Jimmy Kimmel Sucks!. Kimmel is bound, gagged, and relegated to the background while Damon interviews various people who all proclaim their hatred for Jimmy.
- Ignored Vital News Reports: Invoked by the recurring "Lie Witness News" sketch, where people walking by the studio are asked about a blatantly false claim related to a recent news event.
- I Want My Jetpack: On October 21, 2015, the date traveled to from Back to the Future Part II, Christopher Lloyd and Michael J. Fox appeared as Doc and Marty arriving in the actual 2015 and being disappointed with it.
- Manly Tears: Biting sarcasm notwithstanding, Kimmel wears his heart on his sleeves when it comes to compassion towards victims of tragedy.
- Multiple Endings: Parodied in the Lost finale special on the Jimmy Kimmel Show, where he got a bunch of actors from the series and the two showrunners together for a number of rejected "Alternate Endings", specifically parodying the elimination-style conclusion of episodes of Survivor, the No Ending of The Sopranos, and the All Just a Dream ending of Newhart.
- Of Corsets Funny: During his heavier days, Kimmel would occasionally joke about wearing Spanx for Men.
- Once a Season: Kimmel puts out a perennial call for viewers to film themselves telling their kids that they ate all their Halloween candy, and upload it to YouTube. The best submissions are featured in montage which airs just after Halloween.
- Person as Verb: Channing Tatum participated in a parodic song on the the show called "Channing All Over Your Tatum". He noted how weird it was to be repeating his own name dozens of times.
- Running Gag:
- Movie trailers edited to have Guillermo in them.
- Kimmel's Signing Off Catchphrase: "Apologies to Matt Damon, we ran out of time." Originally a throwaway line to joke about the "substandard" guests on an early episode, he's since used it as his regular sign-off.
- Matt Damon, or the lack there of, has since become a general Running Gag, with Damon portrayed as being a Sitcom Arch-Nemesis to Kimmel.
- Self-Deprecation: The "Mean Tweets" segment, where celebrities read-off the vulgar and impolite tweets that other users had sent to them. Reactions vary, but many take it in stride.Jennifer Lawrence: "I bet Jennifer Lawrence gives unenthusiastic handjobs"... how did they know?Sofía Vergara: "Sofia Vergara sounds like she has a dick in her mouth...I hate hearing her talk." What's wrong with having a dick in my mouth?!John Stamos: "Guys John Stamos has a gross belly button :/" [lifts up his shirt to see his belly button, female audience audibly squees] Huh, he's right.
- Sitcom Arch-Nemesis: Matt Damon has been portrayed as one as a running gag, believing that he has been constantly shunned aside by Kimmel because they keep running out of time.
- On one episode in September 2006, Damon was a guest. With a ton of fanfare, including a montage of Kimmel sign-offs, Matt Damon finally stepped foot on stage, only to be told they were out of time. When asked if he wanted to appear tomorrow instead, his only words were "go fuck yourself." Cue a Cluster F-Bomb and Damon trying to Trash the Set over the credits. Yes, it was actually a joke.
- On a 2007 episode, Kimmel sent Guillermo to interview Damon at the premiere of Ocean's Thirteen, only to tell him they were out of time (and thus, indirectly blowing his cover). Two months later, Guillermo was featured in a sketch suggesting he would be playing "Yay-son Bourne Identity" in The Bourne Ultimatum ... until Damon actually showed up, that is.
- In 2008, Sarah Silverman (who was Kimmel's girlfriend at the time) revealed, in song, that she had been engaged in an affair with said actor. Or, in other words, "I'm fucking Matt Damon!". This led Kimmel to do a answer song to reveal in turn that he had an affair with Ben Affleck (Damon's best friend), "Fucking Ben Affleck"
- In 2010, Kimmel and various Hollywood actors participated in a sketch about a "Handsome Men's Club" founded by Jimmy. He's eventually voted out of the club by the other members because he's not handsome enough, including a teary-eyed Ben Affleck. As Kimmel is about to leave and goes into a big Final Speech, Matt Damon slams the door in his face and does an Evil Laugh.
- In 2013, as a 10th anniversary episode, Damon staged a Hostile Show Takeover. The show was renamed Jimmy Kimmel Sucks!; Kimmel was tied to a chair, and his cast was replaced — including Andy Garcia as sidekick, Sheryl Crow as bandleader, and a ton of guest appearances (either in-studio or "congratulating" Damon on hosting the show), including Robin Williams. Damon also revealed that Kimmel had been trying to displace him from his movie roles, and when they got to the end of the show, you can probably guess what happened.
- Guillermo hijacked an interview with Damon about Elysium to promote his own film, Estupido; its poster has a giant arrow pointing towards Damon, and the tagline "A stupid man ... Who is stupid." At the end, it's revealed that there is another, very similar poster on the other side for a film titled "Ass Face".
- In his 2016 post-Oscars special, Ben Affleck tried to smuggle Damon on-stage through an abnormally large jacket. It didn't work.
- Kimmel planned a gag at the end of the 2017 Academy Awards where he was to interview an "Oscar loser", who would, of course, be Matt Damon. However the Best Picture mix-up derailed it (though he still sneaked in a "I blame Matt Damon!" once the error was revealed). The following year, Kimmel did do his "apologies to Matt Damon" sign-off at the end of the ceremony.
- Take That!: During the Tonight Show conflict, Kimmel did the January 12, 2010 episode as a parody of Jay Leno, joking that ABC stood for "Always Bump Conan". Leno subsequently invited Kimmel to appear on The Jay Leno Show during its "10 at 10" segment. Of course, he twisted almost every question into a further Take That! (much to the chagrin of Leno). Such as, saying that the best prank he ever pulled, was when he told someone that he'd give them his show in five years - but then take it back almost immediately afterward.
- Very Special Episode
- After the death of Kobe Bryant (who had been a semi-regular guest on the show, with fifteen appearances) in a helicopter crash the day before, Kimmel devoted the entire January 27, 2020 to a tribute and retrospective with no studio audience.
- You Monster!: Geoffrey the Giraffe rants that all you monsters (The audience) bought toys on Amazon in the sketch about the closure of Toys R Us.