Jimmy Kimmel has shifted his attention towards politics over the past few months, but he says that he hopes to eventually spend less time talking about President Donald Trump.
Kimmel is about to tape a series of shows in Brooklyn, and he spoke with The New York Times ahead of this special week. The late night host discussed the new political focus of Jimmy Kimmel Live, but he suggested that constant Trump coverage is something he hopes to get away from at some point.
“I hope that we, as a nation, get back to a time where I can have a normal, well-rounded show, that’s more focused on Beyoncé and Jay-Z than Donald and Ivanka,” Kimmel said. “But for the time being, this is what’s at the forefront of people’s minds.”
With a host like Stephen Colbert, it’s clear that his main interest is politics, and his show was a bit more political than the competition even before the 2016 election, so he is unlikely to shift gears away from President Trump anytime soon. But with someone like Kimmel, it sounds like the political focus is mostly just because that’s what people are interested in right now, not because he’s primarily driven by an interest in politics.
In another interview with The USA Today this week, Kimmel explained that he’s always made jokes about the day’s news, and it just so happens that with President Trump, there’s a lot of news being made.
“My philosophy, if I have such a thing, has always been to give my take on the news of the day, and that goes back to when I was in radio,” Kimmel said. “It just so happens that our president is a very interesting character and is dominating the news, and will sometimes do three or four remarkable things in a day’s time.”
Of course, late night hosts have made jokes about the president for decades, but in 2017, these comedians have been quicker to take clear stands on issues even though this might alienate some viewers. This was the case with Jimmy Kimmel when he became an advocate for keeping Obamacare in place while President Trump and Congressional Republicans were attempting to repeal and replace the law. Kimmel also advocated for stricter gun control in the days following the Las Vegas shooting.
While speaking to The USA Today, Kimmel said that he never really made a conscious decision to shift towards politics and that those just happened to be two topics that interested him for personal reasons.
“A lot less thought is put into it than you might imagine,” Kimmel said. “I don’t really consult with anyone, other than my wife. I decide what’s in the monologue every night. I’m very hands-on when it comes to that. I woke up in the morning and found out what happened in Las Vegas, and I knew that would be what I’d be talking about. Some things are obvious and some things aren’t. When your son has an open-heart surgery, that’s obvious; when your hometown is attacked in the way that Vegas was, it’s obvious. It’s just a matter of feel, really — what feels right.”
Kimmel has said that he doesn’t really want to alienate everyone, but he also doesn’t want to change what he’s doing to keep those people watching.
“It concerns me, but not enough to change what I’m doing,” Kimmel told The New York Times. “Of course, you want as many people to watch your show as possible. But some things are more important than bringing in a big audience.”