James Christian “Jimmy” Kimmel (born November 13, 1967) is an American television host, producer, writer, comedian, voice actor, musician and radio personality. He is the host and executive producer of Jimmy Kimmel Live!, a late-night talk show that premiered on ABC in 2003. Kimmel also hosted the 64th Primetime Emmy Awards on September 23, 2012.
Prior to hosting Jimmy Kimmel Live!, he was best known as the co-host of Comedy Central’s The Man Show and Win Ben Stein’s Money. Kimmel has also produced such shows as Crank Yankers, Sports Show with Norm Macdonald, and The Andy Milonakis Show.
Kimmel was born in Brooklyn, New York, and grew up in the neighborhood of Mill Basin the eldest of three children of Joan (née Iacono), a homemaker, and James John Kimmel, an IBM executive.
He is, and was raised, Catholic, and as a child served as an altar boy. Kimmel’s mother is of Italian ancestry; two of his paternal great-great-grandparents were German emigrants, and his family’s surname was “Kümmel” several generations back.
The family moved to Las Vegas, Nevada, when he was nine years old. He graduated from Ed W. Clark High School there, and then attended University of Nevada (for one year) and Arizona State University (for two years). He failed to obtain a university degree.
Kimmel’s uncle, Frank Potenza (“Uncle Frank”), appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live! as a regular from 2003 until his death in 2011. His cousin, Sal Iacono, performed Kimmel’s former co-hosting duties during the last season of Win Ben Stein’s Money and then became a writer and sketch performer on Jimmy Kimmel Live!
Kimmel began working in the radio industry while in high school, hosting a Sunday night interview show on UNLV’s college station, KUNV. While attending Arizona State University, he became a popular caller to the KZZP-FM afternoon show hosted by radio personalities Mike Elliott and Kent Voss in Phoenix, Arizona. In 1989, Kimmel landed his first paying job alongside Voss as morning drive co-host of The Me and Him Show at KZOK-FM in Seattle, Washington.
Ten months later, Kimmel and Voss were fired by KZOK and were fired again a year later at WRBQ-FM in Tampa, Florida. Kimmel went on to host his own show at KCMJ in Palm Springs, California, where he persuaded a young Carson Daly to drop out of college and become his intern. After a morning stint at KRQQ in Tucson, Arizona, Kimmel landed at KROQ-FM in Los Angeles. He spent five years as “Jimmy The Sports Guy” for the Kevin and Bean morning show. During this time he met and befriended a struggling comedian named Adam Carolla.
Kimmel began his television career as the comedic counterpart to Ben Stein on the game show Win Ben Stein’s Money, which began airing on Comedy Central in 1997. His quick wit and “everyman” personality were counterpoints to Stein’s monotonous vocal style and faux-patrician demeanor. The combination earned the pair an Emmy award for Best Game Show Host.
In 1999, during his time with Win Ben Stein’s Money, Kimmel co-hosted (with Carolla) and co-produced (with Daniel Kellison), Comedy Central’s The Man Show. Kimmel left Win Ben Stein’s Money in 2001 and was replaced by comedian Nancy Pimental, who was eventually replaced by Kimmel’s cousin Sal Iacono. The Man Show’s success allowed Kimmel, Carolla, and Kellison to create and produce brand jackets, under the banner Jackhole Productions, Crank Yankers for Comedy Central (on which Kimmel plays the characters “Elmer Higgins”, “Terrence Catheter”, “The Nudge”, “Karl Malone” and himself) and later The Andy Milonakis Show for MTV2. Kimmel also produced and co-wrote the feature film Windy City Heat, which won the Comedia Award for Best Film at the Montreal Comedy Festival.
In January 2003, Jimmy Kimmel permanently left The Man Show to host his own late-night talk show, Jimmy Kimmel Live!, on ABC. Jimmy Kimmel Live was briefly also broadcast on Irish digital TV channel 3e. In the April 2007 issue of Stuffmagazine.com, Kimmel was named the “biggest badass on TV”. Kimmel said it was an honor but clearly a mistake.
Despite its name, the show hasn’t actually aired live since 2004, when censors were unable to properly bleep censor a barrage of swearing from actor Thomas Jane. With the increasing popularity and people searching for him online made his name as bait for the cyber attackers. As a result of this, McAfee placed him in the first place in the list of most dangerous celebrities to search online.
During an incident during the 2004 NBA Finals in Detroit, Kimmel appeared on ABC’s halftime show to make an on-air plug for his show. He suggested that if the Detroit Pistons defeated the Los Angeles Lakers, “they’re gonna burn the city of Detroit down … and it’s not worth it.” Officials with Detroit’s ABC affiliate, WXYZ-TV, immediately announced that that night’s show would not air on the station. Hours later, ABC officials pulled that night’s show from the entire network jack wolfskin. Kimmel later apologized.
Kimmel usually ends his show with “My apologies to Matt Damon, we ran out of time.” When Matt Damon did actually appear on the show to be interviewed, he walked in and sat down only to be told just a few seconds later by Kimmel, “Unfortunately, we are totally out of time,” followed by “my apologies to Matt Damon.” Damon seemed to become angry. In the December 17, 2006, issue of USA Weekend, Kimmel himself acknowledged that the Damon incident was a joke.
In February 2008, Kimmel showed a mock music video with a panoply of stars called “I’m Fucking Ben Affleck”, as “revenge” after his then-girlfriend Sarah Silverman and Damon recorded a similar video titled, “I’m Fucking Matt Damon”. Silverman’s video originally aired on Jimmy Kimmel Live! and became an “instant YouTube sensation.” Kimmel’s “revenge” video featured himself, Ben Affleck, and a large lineup of stars, particularly in scenes spoofing the 1985 “We Are the World” video: Brad Pitt, Don Cheadle, Cameron Diaz, Robin Williams, Harrison Ford, Dominic Monaghan, Benji Madden and Joel Madden from Good Charlotte, Lance Bass, Macy Gray, Josh Groban, Huey Lewis, Perry Farrell, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Pete Wentz, Meat Loaf, Rebecca Romijn, Christina Applegate, Dom Joly, Mike Shinoda, Lauren Conrad, and Joan Jett, among others.
After this, Jimmy’s sidekick, Guillermo, appeared in a spoof of The Bourne Ultimatum, which starred Damon. He was then chased down by Damon, who was cursing about Kimmel being behind all this. Guillermo also stopped Damon on the red carpet one time and before he could finish the interview he said, “Sorry, we are out of time.” The most recent encounter was titled “The Handsome Men’s Club” which featured Kimmel, along with the “Handsome Men”, who were: Matthew McConaughey, Rob Lowe, Lenny Kravitz, Patrick Dempsey, Sting, Keith Urban, John Krasinski, Ethan Hawke, Josh Hartnett, Tony Romo, Ted Danson, Taye Diggs, Gilles Marini, and Ben Affleck, speaking about being handsome and all the jobs that come with it. At the end of the skit Kimmel has a door slammed in his face by none other than Matt Damon, stating that they had run out of time and then Damon continues with a sinister laugh. Jennifer Garner also makes a surprise appearance. As a tradition, celebrities voted off Dancing with the Stars appear on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, causing Kimmel to describe himself as “the three-headed dog the stars must pass on their way to No-Dancing Hell”.
In October 2013, a new segment of the show, “Kids Table”, showcased five- and six-year-olds discussing the U.S. government shutdown and U.S. debts. When one of the children suggested “killing all the people in China”, as a way of resolving the U.S. debt, Kimmel responded that that was “an interesting idea” and soon jokingly asked a follow up: “Should we allow the Chinese to live?”. The incident triggered discussions and protests on Internet, even from Mainland China. In an October 25 letter to a group called the 80-20 Initiative, which identifies itself as a pan-Asian-American political organization, ABC apologized for the segment, saying “We would never purposefully broadcast anything to upset the Chinese community, Asian community, anyone of Chinese descent or any community at large.”
More than 100 people took to the streets in San Francisco on October 28 to protest the show and demand “a more elaborate apology” and that Kimmel to be fired. On that day’s broadcast, Kimmel addressed the controversy personally, saying: “I thought it was obvious that I didn’t agree with that statement, but apparently it wasn’t … So I just wanted to say, I’m sorry, I apologize.” Despite the apologies from ABC and Kimmel, protests continued. A White House petition was created to investigate this incident and reached the 100,000 signatures needed to require a response from the White House. The Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus denounced the incident and demanded a formal apology from ABC.
In spring 1996, Kimmel appeared as “Jimmy the Fox Guy” in promos on the Fox Network. His other television work included being the on-air football prognosticator for Fox NFL Sunday for four years. He has had numerous appearances on other talk shows including, but not limited to, Live with Regis and Kelly, The Howard Stern Show, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, and the Late Show with David Letterman.
He has appeared on The Late Show five times, most recently in 2010. Kimmel served as roastmaster for the New York Friars’ Club Roast of Hugh Hefner and Comedy Central Roasts of Pamela Anderson. He has appeared on ABC’s Dancing with the Stars, along with his parking lot security guard Guillermo.
In August 2006, ABC announced that Jimmy Kimmel would be the host of their new game show Set for Life. The show debuted on July 20, 2007. On April 6, 2007, Kimmel filled in for Larry King on Larry King Live. That particular broadcast dealt with paparazzi. Kimmel reproached Emily Gould, an editor from Gawker.com, about the web site’s alleged stalking of celebrities. On July 8, 2007, Kimmel managed the National League in the 2007 Taco Bell All-Star Legends and Celebrity Softball Game in San Francisco
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. He played in the game in 2004 and 2006 (in Houston and Pittsburgh, respectively). On July 11, 2007, Kimmel, along with basketball player LeBron James, hosted the 2007 ESPY Awards. The show aired on ESPN on July 15, 2007. Kimmel hosted the American Music Awards on ABC five times, in 2003, 2004, 2006, 2007, and 2008.
Kimmel guest hosted Live with Regis and Kelly during the week of October 22–26, 2007 victoria beckham dresses, commuting every day between New York and Los Angeles. In the process, he broke the Guinness World Record for the longest distance (22,406 miles (36,059 km)) travelled in one work week.
Kimmel has performed in several animated films, often voicing dogs. His voice appeared in Garfield and Road Trip, and he portrayed Death’s Dog in the Family Guy episode “Mr. Saturday Knight”; Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane later presented Kimmel with a figurine of his character on Jimmy Kimmel Live! Kimmel also did voice work for Robot Chicken. Kimmel’s cousin “Sal” (Sal Iacono) has accepted and won a wrestling match with WWE superstar Santino Marella. On January 14, 2010, in the midst of the 2010 Tonight Show host and time slot conflict, Kimmel was the special guest of Jay Leno on The Jay Leno Show’s “10 at 10” segment. Kimmel derided Leno in front of a live studio audience for taking back the 11:35 pm time slot from Conan O’Brien, and repeatedly insulted Leno. He ended the segment with a plea that Leno “leave our shows alone,” as Kimmel and O’Brien had “kids” while Leno only had “cars”.
He hosted the 64th Primetime Emmy Awards which aired on September 23, 2012, marking his first time hosting the event.
Kimmel and his first wife Gina Maddy married in 1988 and divorced in 2002. They had two children, son Kevin and daughter Katherine. He had a relationship with comedian Sarah Silverman from 2002 until they broke up in March 2009.
He started dating Molly McNearney, a co-head writer for Jimmy Kimmel Live, in October 2009. Kimmel and McNearney became engaged in August 2012, and married in July 2013. On July 10, 2014, Kimmel and McNearney welcomed their first child, Jane Kimmel.
Kimmel plays the bass clarinet, and was a guest performer at a July 20, 2008, concert in Costa Mesa, California, featuring The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, performing with the group on the song “The Impression That I Get.”
Kimmel has spoken publicly of being a narcoleptic.
Kimmel and Adam Carolla co-founded the annual Los Angeles Feast of San Gennaro, a New York City annual tradition, which celebrates Italian culture through entertainment, music, and cuisine. The festival also honors outstanding members of the Los Angeles community and raises funds to aid needy children and families in the city. He hosted Los Angeles’s eighth annual feast of San Gennaro from September 28 to 30, 2009.