Jimmy Kimmel, upset over ratings that are a fraction of Jay Leno’s, has taken up the club against the old lion of comedy. In an interview in Rolling Stone, Kimmel lashed out at Leno. His grudge against Leno apparently goes all the way back to the Leno-Letterman feud of 1992, when NBC chose Leno over Letterman (a wise decision considering that Leno routinely outdoes Letterman in the ratings).
But Kimmel’s grudge really got bitter after Leno’s flirtation with ABC a few years later. Leno had been talking with Kimmel several times a week about moving out of his midnight slot to make room for Leno. After Leno ended up staying at NBC, Leno stopped calling. And, like a whiny wronged lover, Kimmel got mad. “That made me feel stupid,” he told Rolling Stone.
The magazine interview took place largely during a ride around Los Angeles, while Kimmel was lighting up some marijuana. Because you’re never too old to smoke a joint while ripping on Jay Leno. “Leno hasn’t been a good stand-up in 20 years,” said Kimmel. Kimmel wouldn’t know stand-up if it steamrolled him wearing a monkey suit – he didn’t pay his way through the stand-up ranks, as Leno did. But that didn’t stop Kimmel from bashing Leno: “As a comedian, you can’t not have disdain for what he’s done. He totally sold out. He was a master chef who opened a Burger King.”
Coming from the comedian who made his bones doing dumbed-down sports bits for Kevin and Bean on KROQ in Los Angeles, this is an odd charge. And speaking of selling out, Kimmel’s Man Show on Comedy Central was designed to target Oprah’s touchy-feely nonsense; last year, Kimmel had a party for Oprah after the Oscars. Nothing says sell-out like riding around smoking pot while bashing Jay Leno, while earning millions from network television.
Ben Shapiro is Editor-At-Large of Breitbart News, and author of the book “Bullies: How the Left’s Culture of Fear and Intimidation Silences America” (Threshold Editions, January 8, 2013).