Jimmy Kimmel stopped by “The B.S. Report” podcast Friday in the lead-up to his hosting gig at the Emmy Awards show Sunday.
Hosted by sports-writing titan Bill Simmons under the auspices of ESPN and Grantland, “The B.S. Report” typically features discussions with other journalists and athletes, although lately Simmons has been interviewing more Hollywood personalities.
Simmons and Kimmel are old friends, and the conversation comes off as less of an interview and as more of a discussion between two buddies catching up. Kimmel invited Simmons to write jokes for “Jimmy Kimmel Live” in 2002, a job that lasted less than two years, according to Greenwich Magazine. During Friday’s interview, Kimmel said Simmons contributed jokes to the Emmy Awards show writing staff, as did Adam Carolla, who hosted "The Man Show" with Kimmel.
Still, Kimmel admitted he was a bit nervous about the hosting gig.
“That’s the question people ask most often,” Kimmel said. “I’ll definitely be nervous. I mean, I won’t fear for my life and I’ll get out of there OK, but I’m a bundle of nerves. I want to do well.”
The job as the Emmy Awards show host, Kimmel’s first time in the position, comes at a particularly successful time in his life. He’s getting married soon, and “Jimmy Kimmel Live” has been moved to the time slot starting at 11:35 p.m. ET, making it a head-to-head competitor of the "Late Show with David Letterman."
“I think it’ll be OK,” Kimmel said of competing for viewers against one of his heroes. “I don’t think I’ll destroy him or anything. ... I would have always been happy to follow him.”
Before cracking up with laughter, Kimmel added: “If you asked me five years ago if I was ready to move to 11:30, I would’ve said, 'Yes,' but I don’t think I was ready. In fact, I don’t think I’m ready now.”
“People keep saying, ‘This has got to be the biggest year of your life,' and I have to say, ‘Well, I hope not, I hope it’s not all downhill from here.’ The truth is that it’s great to be asked to host the Emmys, but it’s a huge pain in the ass,” Kimmel told Simmons. “It’s not fun. Maybe some people look at this and think it’s a great time, but it’s really just sitting in a room and hashing things out and trying to get people to go along with the best option.”
Kimmel also was recently tabbed to perform at the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner, an annual event featuring the lampooning of the U.S. president. “I got to sit next to [first lady] Michelle Obama for more than an hour,” Kimmel said. “She was surprisingly friendly.”
Kimmel was also complimentary about President Barack Obama, in part because of the commander in chief’s willingness to be the brunt of a joke: “He’s great, very charismatic. He’s like a guy you’d hang out with, except he wouldn’t hang out with you. ... Suddenly, you feel like ‘I have to impress him.’ ... He seemed very open to being mocked.”
Kimmel first made his name as a radio host before co-hosting “The Man Show” on Comedy Central with Adam Carolla. He said the single best moment in the first 10 years of his late-night show was when Oprah Winfrey stopped by. He will likely be emulating her during the Emmy Awards show Sunday: ABC's coverage of the red carpet will begin at 7 p.m. EDT, and the television network's coverage of the show itself will start an hour later.
You can stream the episode on ESPN Radio’s website or download it from iTunes in the podcast directory.