Jimmy Kimmel hosts the Oscars this Sunday, which surprisingly hadn’t happened until now.
As the longtime host of ABC’s flagship late-night show Jimmy Kimmel Live, the same network that carries the Academy Awards, it may have made sense to turn to Kimmel sooner. (Instead of, say, Seth MacFarlane.)
As it is, this is something of a crowning achievement for Kimmel, who started out in the Comedy Central weeds of The Man Show (which looks a bit prescient, in retrospect; it’s easy to see its influence in something like Barstool, for better and mostly worse.)
You’d think this would be a stepping stone to bigger things for his current show, but instead, the host seems to be pondering the end of his show. At least, that’s what he told Variety:
“I know I will do the show for another three years,” Kimmel said in this week’s Variety cover story, as he gears up to host the Oscars on Sunday. “It’s possible that will be it. My wife’s pregnant. At a certain point, I’d like to have a little more free time. I have very little free time as it is.”
That’s a very reasonable concern. Kimmel has been doing the show for fourteen (!) years now, having debuted in January of 2003. That’s astounding, especially considering he’s only 49.
He expanded upon what he might do next as well, and not surprisingly, those plans do not include hosting another show:
Kimmel said that when he leaves “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” it won’t be for another late-night vehicle.
“If there’s something that excites me creatively, it doesn’t necessarily mean something in show business,” Kimmel said. “I like to draw. I like to make sculptures. I’d like to write a book at some point. Doing the show every day doesn’t leave a lot of time for that.”
This makes sense, as only Jay Leno ever really seemed to regret retiring from the late-night television game. Kimmel’s departure would open up what would assumedly be a coveted network slot, though it’s hard to predict how the television landscape will look in three years.
If he does go, though, he’ll be missed. He offers a more sardonic approach than most of his competition, while still retaining a playful attitude with celebrity guests. (Including the ongoing “feud” with Matt Damon.)
But the best Kimmel moment was probably this skewering of the aforementioned Leno (on Leno’s own show!) in the wake of the Conan/Leno Tonight Show controversy.
The good stuff starts a bit after the 2 minute mark, though the build to it is solid as well, as he lures Leno into a false sense of security:
Damn that’s rewarding. Kimmel channels Dave Letterman more closely than any current host, and with Letterman already retired, it’d be a shame to lose another in that vein.
But, then again, three years is a long time.