Jimmy Kimmel turns 46 years old today. For ten of those years, Jimmy has been the host of ABC’s late-night talk show Jimmy Kimmel Live. While I spent a long time considering Kimmel one of the better late-night hosts on television, in recent months there’s been a bit of a change in my feelings toward him. I think he’s losing his edge, running out of original ideas, and coming dangerously close to mean-spirited territory. His recurring bits are becoming old, and his new bits push him closer and closer to jumping the shark.
While I hate to put the two late-night Jimmys in competition with each other, that’s exactly what I’m about to do. There are a lot of reasons that I have yet to tire of Late Night With Jimmy Fallon, in contrast to Jimmy Kimmel Live. One reason is that Fallon participates in so many of his bits. When Jimmy Kimmel actually takes an active role in his pranks or skits — like in his continuously hilarious Matt Damon segments or his Oscar spoofs — he’s much more successful. When he sits back and lets his correspondents or his viewers do all the work while he laughs at the chaos he’s created, it starts to look lazy and kind of mean. Another reason is that Fallon’s bits always feel fresh and never-before-seen. Even Kimmel’s non-recurring bits still involve pranks of some kind, which can get tiresome.
To better illustrate what I think is a dip in quality for Kimmel, I’ve put together a list of eight recent examples that make me think the show — and Jimmy’s persona in general — is coming very close to officially jumping the shark.
This was funny the first few times the show did it. It’s always refreshing to see celebrities display a sense of humor about themselves. But like many of Kimmel’s bits, this one’s getting old. There are only so many stars I can see feigning sadness over a snarky tweet before I’m just plain sick of it.
Is it just me, or has the show been doing this segment waaaay too often lately? It’s like every time there’s a mildly significant news story or event, Kimmel sends his correspondent out to make people look dumb. As with the last bit, it started out funny when it was new and original and used sparingly. Now it just makes me sad about how desperate people are to get their faces on television, even if they look like morons.
Kimmel LOVES pranks. Have you noticed that? While it’s one thing for Kimmel to pull off a prank on his own, the fact that he encourages his viewers to fool their loved ones is starting to leave a bad taste in my mouth. It of course takes advantage of people’s desperation for their fifteen minutes of fame, but when it leads to children crying, I’m not so into it. Especially since Kimmel gets to sit back and laugh at what he’s created without having to deal with the damage.