Sunday Schadenfreude: Kimmel surrenders

Late night comedian Jimmy Kimmel, who's hosting the Oscars maybe next year and something else at Lincoln Center's Geffen Hall (his schedule doesn't look particularly exceptional), has noticed something the Hollywood elites haven't.

Anti-Trump jokes go over like a lead balloon with people who matter to Hollywood: the audience. And Kimmel admits the audience is sick of this tired routine. A jackass has just woke up and smelled the coffee.

Kimmel told the Hollywood Reporter:

DEADLINE: Having missed last year, this will actually be your first upfronts of the Trump Era. Having you been saving up a barrelful of barbs for the President and his ongoing big show?

KIMMEL: Oh, wow. Yeah, you know, I hadn’t really thought about it that way, but I guess you’re right. Hopefully it’ll be the last upfront of the Trump era, too. So, I don’t know, I don’t know how much focus there will be on that. I think people have had an ass-full of Donald Trump, and I feel like the upfront is a time to look within and make fun of ourselves.

DEADLINE: So, next week is a Trump-free zone for you?

KIMMEL: Well, I can’t imagine that it will be entirely Trump free, but I’m not planning on that to be my focus. Already I’m seeing a lot of other things to point out, to make fun of. We’re getting all sorts of new terminology that doesn’t seem to last one year to the next. There are initials that I’m trying to decode. I always wonder if the people in the audience even know what some of these things are, so that’s something I want to get into.

In other words, he's guessed that anti-Trump jokes are a dud now and as a result, doesn't want to get into them so much, since it's less glory for him.

Seems the bad ratings the Academy awards, the Emmys, the Grammys, the Golden Globes, all of which focused on hurling abuse at President Trump, didn't work out the way the self-indulgent air-kissing participants thought they would. They cost Hollywood a lot of money. Ratings hit all-time lows, with Variety warning in the case of the Emmys that the matter was worse than it looked. And the fact that they kept doing it over and over again, despite the beating they took in the ratings, was cause for the rest of us for bafflement.

Kimmel, unlike many of them, apparently pays attention to the bottom line. He knows how bad these things have been for ratings and advertising dollars (emphasis mine) and how Hollywood has been deluding itself:

DEADLINE: On the subject of tolerance, will Sean Hannity be a part of this year’s routine after your very public dust-up?

KIMMEL: (laughs) I don’t think so. I really try to focus on our network competitors and the people who are eating us alive, which would be our competitors in streaming – not the world of cable news and cable.

I like to make the routine kind of like being at a trade show. Give a real industry roast and focus on the dynamic there of the ad buyers trying to get the lowest price they can. It’s really kind of funny because you have these network executives telling you how great everything’s going to go, and then, of course, you know, year after year, it rarely goes great. Even they don’t believe it when they’re saying it, and then everybody pays more anyway.

And he knows there's competition, both from other comics, and other mediums, such as Netflix, as he states in his interview.

What he should do with this information is admit that he was wrong and clearly declare that his industry that can't go on forever abusing and insulting half of its audience. He hasn't quite done that, but it appears it's going to do the next best thing, which is change his own behavior.

Call it a start. 

Image Credit: Selma Üsük, Wikipedia // Creative Commons SA 2.0

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