When Jimmy Fallon held an extended apology on his show for appearing in blackface on an episode of “Saturday Night Live,” I knew it was a matter of time before they came for Jimmy Kimmel.
In fact, I was rather surprised it took this long. Kimmel’s arrant wokeness has mostly shielded him from a lot of early-ish career moves that weren’t necessarily consistent with his current brand.
The most obvious of these took place when he was co-host of “The Man Show” on Comedy Central, where one of the celebrities he impersonated was Karl Malone. An NBA legend, Malone was known for having slightly unorthodox views about the world. He was also black. One of these things made him ripe for parody, the other should have precluded Kimmel from doing it.
Oh well. Kimmel did it anyway:
This skit, which manages to be cheerfully homophobic as well, paints the Utah Jazz great as a borderline-illiterate rambler discussing where probes go during alien abductions. Considering the probe territory had been thoroughly strip-mined by the time Kimmel did this, the only joke seems to be “Tee hee, Karl Malone is stupid and he talks in pidgin English, too.”
This wasn’t the only sketch in which Kimmel portrayed Malone in this character.
It also wasn’t the only character he played in blackface; he was also Oprah Jimfrey, a large-framed talk-show host:
Of course, Kimmel departed from the beery environs of “The Man Show” and slowly morphed into the lachrymose Trump-scolding pundit we know today. However, the fact remains that Kimmel wasn’t always so woke.
We found out how un-woke he could be on Monday, when Fox News was able to connect some dots and suss out that Kimmel had not only performed but may have also penned a parody Snoop Dogg song released on a Christmas album in 1996 in which the N-word was used multiple times.
The parody came during Kimmel’s time with the “Kevin & Bean” morning show on influential Los Angeles radio station KROQ-FM in the 1990s. The song appeared on “The Best of Kevin & Bean: A Family Christmas in Your A–,” which surprisingly doesn’t include any excerpts from the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra’s recording of Handel’s “Messiah.”
In a 2013 podcast with “Man Show” cohort Adam Carolla, Kimmel copped to doing the vocals on “Christmastime in the LBC,” a parody of rapper Snoop Dogg (then Snoop Doggy Dogg) that displayed the same minstrelsy vein as his Karl Malone impression.
Kimmel-as-Snoop describes how the three wise men were “bringing gifts and s— for baby boo in the hay” and how Santa Claus is a “fat n—– in a sleigh giving s— away.”
“Me and my n—–s down in LBC / We’ll smoke that motherf—ing Christmas tree,” Kimmel raps, saying he “told that motherf—er ‘Santa bring a pick for my afro.'”
Another “rapper” on the track — it’s not clear if it’s Kimmel’s voice — describes King Herod’s men as “evil n—–s in the manger.”
The album was produced by a “Jim Kimmel,” and all “comedy material” on it was credited to him. You may or may not find that comedic, but it was an attempt to be, so draw your own judgments.
In the 2013 podcast, Carolla said it was Kimmel imitating the rap artist; Kimmel would confirm this.
“This is when Snoop Dogg first came out, hit the scene, and I used to imitate him by only saying, ‘You know what I’m saying?'” Kimmel said.
“Jimmy, do you only do black people?” someone on the podcast is then heard asking, to which Kimmel responds jokingly, “I prefer them, yes.”
Kimmel also recalled how he “called the president of Comedy Central as George Wallace, the comedian,” while drinking with friends from a hotel room in New York City. Wallace is African-American.
When Carolla said that Kimmel had used a “crazy black voice” to impersonate Wallace, Kimmel impersonated him again: “I just wanna say I had a great time, and thank you for inviting me!” he said, adding that he intentionally adopted a “black” voice to imitate Wallace.
“A lot of people thought it was George Wallace!” Kimmel said.
And now a lot of people are thinking that maybe he shouldn’t be the host for the Emmy Awards, a gig that ABC had tapped him for.
“I don’t know where we will do this or how we will do this or even why we are doing this, but we are doing it and I am hosting it,” Kimmel said in an announcement statement last Tuesday, according to the New York Post.
Two days later, he abruptly announced he was taking a very long vacation.
“I’m taking this summer off to spend even more time with my family,” Kimmel said in an announcement from his studio at home on Thursday.
“There’s nothing wrong. I’m healthy, my family’s healthy, I just need a couple of months off.”
When someone claims he’s doing something — particularly resigning or stepping back from something for an extended period of time — because he wants to “spend more time with my family,” that’s so seldom a good sign.
Kimmel’s blackface controversies were already coming back to bite him after the Emmys announcement, given Jimmy Fallon’s recent troubles.
There was also the matter of a 2009 interview with actress Megan Fox in which she talks about being sexualized by director Michael Bay when she was just 15.
During the interview, Fox talked about her time as an extra in the Bay movie “Bad Boys II”; she was in a bikini and heels but couldn’t sit at a bar due to her being underage.
“[Bay’s] solution to that problem was to then have me dancing under a waterfall getting soaking wet,” Fox said. “At 15, I was in 10th grade. That’s sort of a microcosm of how Bay’s mind works.”
Kimmel’s thoughtful response: “Well, that’s really a microcosm of how all our minds work, but some of us have the decency to repress those thoughts and pretend that they don’t exist.” Ho ho ho.
And out came the Twitter wolves accordingly:
So, Megan Fox is still owed many apologies but Jimmy Kimmel laughed at her, did multiple sketches in blackface and said the n-word but still has a job and will host the Emmys this year? pic.twitter.com/7UScts0kCW
— Charlotte (@Charlot51397878) June 23, 2020
As a listener of Jimmy Kimmel’s racist shock-jock humor on 90s KROQ, I’m surprised he has lasted this long without it coming back to bite him. Accepting the Emmys gig was reckless, as that host has been a skeet shooting target even before today.
— Horace Juvenal (@horacejuvenal) June 23, 2020
Donald Trump Jr. also tweeted about it, noting that Kimmel had enthusiastically asked Tom Arnold to produce a recording of the president saying the N-word. Arnold was then hosting the short-lived show “The Hunt for the Trump Tapes,” based around looking for said tapes that urban legend has long held existed. (Spoiler alert: Arnold didn’t find them.)
To be clear, I’m 100% against punishing comedians for jokes, even bad jokes from unfunny hack comedians like Jimmy Kimmel…but according to the left’s own woke rules that @jimmykimmel wants to force others to live by, it’s hard to see how @ABCNetwork allows him to keep his show. https://t.co/yYsC065pe1
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) June 22, 2020
On Tuesday, Kimmel released a statement addressing the controversy and issued an apology to those he “disappointed.”
— Yashar Ali 🐘 (@yashar) June 23, 2020
Kimmel also clarified that his vacation has been scheduled for over a year. But even so, one can see why taking the summer off might be a good idea.
Live by the wokeness, die by the wokeness. Kimmel, during Donald Trump presidency, has competed with Stephen Colbert as the most openly political of the three late-night hosts, and his impassioned monologues for gun control and Obamacare — which weren’t really comedy so much as appeals to emotion — wallpapered over the fact he’d risen to fame on decidedly anti-PC fare.
Some of these clips emerged when Kimmel was hosting the Oscars several years ago. Nobody much seemed to care.
However, the Emmys announcement came during what we’re told not infrequently is a “moment of reckoning,” particularly for the white and privileged.
That moment of reckoning, it seems, has come for Kimmel and his bad Snoop Dogg parody, too.
My guess is that this won’t blow over during Kimmel’s extended vacation.
UPDATE, June 23, 2020: After the publication of this article, Jimmy Kimmel released a statement addressing the controversy and apologizing for his actions. This article has been updated to include Kimmel’s statement.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.