May 13, 2018
“Sometimes there is such low-hanging fruit, you have to choose between 12 jokes on one subject, and picking the right ones is something I obsess over,” Jimmy Kimmel admits about his preparation for his annual sardonic stand-up routine during ABC’s upfront presentation. “Then I’ve found too that, almost inevitably, my best jokes come to me around 3 in the morning when I’m sitting there alone.”
In a room packed with network executives, media, producers and advertisers, Kimmel certainly won’t be alone when he takes the stage at Lincoln Center’s David Geffen Hall on Tuesday for his 15th roast of the Disney-owned net and the television industry. This year would actually have been the two-time Oscar frontman and late-night host’s 16th upfront, but Kimmel bowed out in 2017 to stay close to home after his newborn son Billy had to undergo open heart surgery just three days after being born.
The network soldiered on last year without Kimmel, but ABC is clearly glad he is back in the fold again and ready to unleash upon their broadcast rivals in TV’s big money week.
With a current contract that runs until 2019, Kimmel chatted with me about his return to the New York upfront spotlight and taking on Donald Trump and Fox News’ Sean Hannity. The host also spoke about the threats posed by the streaming services to the Big 4, in late-night and beyond. Of course, after the Best Picture Oscar mishap of 2017 and the Time’s Up tone of this year’s Academy Awards, we also talked about whether another Oscar-hosting stint is in the cards.
DEADLINE: Having missed last year, this will actually be your first upfronts of the Trump Era. Having you been saving up a barrelful of barbs for the President and his ongoing big show?
KIMMEL: Oh, wow. Yeah, you know, I hadn’t really thought about it that way, but I guess you’re right. Hopefully it’ll be the last upfront of the Trump era, too. So, I don’t know, I don’t know how much focus there will be on that. I think people have had an ass-full of Donald Trump, and I feel like the upfront is a time to look within and make fun of ourselves.
DEADLINE: So, next week is a Trump-free zone for you?
KIMMEL: Well, I can’t imagine that it will be entirely Trump free, but I’m not planning on that to be my focus. Already I’m seeing a lot of other things to point out, to make fun of. We’re getting all sorts of new terminology that doesn’t seem to last one year to the next. There are initials that I’m trying to decode. I always wonder if the people in the audience even know what some of these things are, so that’s something I want to get into.
KIMMEL: Yeah, it’s really genuinely confusing, the whole thing. I think it took me a full two years to even understand what the upfront was. Now a lot of that was me not really paying attention, but I didn’t really understand what it was for the first couple of times I did it. Even now, I’m just barely kind of grasping it.
This article was posted: Sunday, May 13, 2018 at 4:49 am