Conservative commentator Candace Owens thinks that Jimmy Kimmel did something even Chevy Chase couldn’t do: Ruin late-night television.
Owens made an appearance this weekend on Judge Jeanine Pirro’s Fox News “Justice With Judge Jeanine” show, where she was asked to opine on some of the more ridiculous quotes of the week.
One of them was, unsurprisingly, supplied by Kimmel, who’s treated the Trump presidency as if it wasn’t just a new wellspring of jokes but the only thing that one can and should joke about. This week, Kimmel declared he would prefer a member of the simian family be behind the desk in the Oval Office.
“I’ve got to say say, I would rather we had a chimpanzee as president of the United States,” Kimmel said to rapturous applause from his simpatico audience Tuesday.
“At least with a chimp there would be somebody to eat the bugs out of Rudy Giuliani’s hair,” he added.
First off, the last part is entirely nonsensical. Rudy’s balding pate would arguably be the better target for a bad joke here, especially given that Kimmel’s own patchy beard would arguably make a better habitat for insects.
Second, the first part isn’t actually a joke in the sense that it’s a setup with a punchline. It’s not even particularly original. Versions of the “I would literally have <insert ridiculous entity here> as president than Donald Trump” have been around since the day he first started seriously considering a run for office. And even within the confines of that construct, it doesn’t show any particular spark of originality.
Responding to Kimmel’s “joke,” Owens told Pirro that it’s the kind of thing that’s ruining late-night comedy.
“Look, I would rather we had a comedian for a late-night talk show rather than Jimmy Kimmel, who gets up there every single night, cries, brings up his child, uses his child as a prop to get other people to cry,” Owens told Pirro, referencing Kimmel’s infamous Obamacare gambit. “So look, we don’t always get what we want, Jimmy. That’s all I can say to him.”
When Pirro said she didn’t understand “the chimp and the bugs and Rudy Giuliani” part, Owens chalked it up to comedic malpractice.
“He single-handedly ruined late-night TV,” she added.
“I really do believe Jimmy Kimmel does this. He somehow thinks he’s like a political spokesperson. He tries to be funny. It’s never funny. I think that has to be a fake audience. I don’t get it whatsoever.”
The sad part is that it’s probably not a fake audience — there are people who will laugh and cheer at the mere mention of the president’s name in a deprecatory tone. Comedy has gotten exponentially easier since Nov. 8, 2016. One merely needs to get out on stage and state, “And Donald Trump…” followed by a demonstrative sigh. The audience will be in stitches for the entirety of your set and you can move on back to the bar.
If you want to progress to the higher echelons of comedy — say, hosting a late-night TV show — throw in a chimpanzee and a joke about Rudy Giuliani’s hair. Or run a skit based on the fact that ICE and ISIS sound similar and use that as the foundation for a false equivalency between the two. Either way, it’s late-night bank time.
Owens is right — the whole thing has pretty much been ruined at this point. This has to be the nadir — unless someone brings Chevy Chase back. And given his liberal leanings, that’s a distinct possibility. I don’t think he’s in rehab at the moment, right?
Look out, Jimmy. Your new job could be picking bugs out of Chevy Chase’s hair. See, it’s not funny when I say it, either.
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