‘A good sub­ject to take on’

Kim­mel saw the re­cent Golden Globes as ‘lit­mus test’ for the up­com­ing Academy Awards

The Standard (St. Catharines) - - ENTERTAINMENT - DAVID BAUDER

PASADENA, Calif. — As the host of the Os­cars in two months, Jimmy Kim­mel watched Seth Mey­ers on the Golden Globes and felt that one of the mono­logue jokes was writ­ten specif­i­cally for him.

Mey­ers said Sun­day he felt like the first dog be­ing sent into outer space, as the first awards show host since the flood of re­ports about sex­ual mis­con­duct be­gan with sto­ries about Hol­ly­wood mogul Har­vey We­in­stein. How would the au­di­ence re­act to jokes about the topic?

“I do thank him for be­ing that lit­mus test,” Kim­mel said ear­lier this week.

The topic will surely be talked about at the Os­cars, but he can’t write ma­te­rial too far in ad­vance be­cause it’s hard to pre­dict what the pub­lic mood will be, or if other news breaks in the in­terim. “Who’s to say Har­vey We­in­stein is go­ing to be alive in two months?”

The Time’s Up move­ment took over the Golden Globes, from the com­ments win­ners gave in ac­cept­ing the awards to the black out­fits worn by at­ten­dees to show sol­i­dar­ity for women.

Kim­mel said it was re­fresh­ing how it gave celebri­ties some­thing to talk about be­sides fash­ion on the red car­pet.

“How can you ar­gue that this is any­thing but cool?” he said. “It’s a good sub­ject to take on.”

One sub­ject sure to come up at the Os­cars is last year’s epic en­ve­lope mix-up in which War­ren Beatty mis­tak­enly pro­claimed that La La Land was the best pic­ture win­ner in­stead of Moon­light. If some­thing that dis­as­trous hap­pens again, “ev­ery­one at ABC should be fired,” Kim­mel said.

Still, the co­me­dian in him ad­mit­ted that a re­peat “would tickle me deeply.”

Don’t ex­pect ABC to shy away from the mo­ment while pro­mot­ing the up­com­ing show. While the net­work takes what hap­pened se­ri­ously, ABC En­ter­tain­ment pres­i­dent Chan­ning Dungey said that “to not have fun with it would be silly.”

Kim­mel de­fended one of his stunts from last year’s Os­cars broad­cast, when he sur­prised a bus full of tourists and brought them into the theatre to meet celebri­ties in the au­di­ence. It could have been a dis­as­ter. “Some said it was,” he said.

But he feels it’s im­por­tant to do some­thing un­ex­pected.

“I do like there to be some dan­ger in the show and I hope that it would be ap­pre­ci­ated for what it is,” he said. “You don’t like to have ev­ery­thing but­toned down, be­cause if you do, you’ll bore the au­di­ence.”

This past year has been a big one for Kim­mel, who com­petes with CBS’s Stephen Col­bert and NBC’s Jimmy Fal­lon in late night. Kim­mel also won at­ten­tion for his emo­tional mono­logues about health care trig­gered by the needs of his in­fant son, who was born with a heart de­fect.

Kim­mel dis­missed peo­ple who ar­gued that he helped save for­mer U.S. pres­i­dent Barack Obama’s health care law when they came at a time Repub­li­cans in Congress were con­sid­er­ing re­peal. He said it was weird to see the re­sponse to speak­ing out on the topic.

“It is over­whelm­ing and it is silly,” he said. “I think that some­times you get too much credit and too much praise, and this has been one of those times. But you have to ac­cept it, be­cause there are times when you feel the whole world is against you and you don’t un­der­stand why.”

RICHARD SHOTWELL/THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Os­cars host Jimmy Kim­mel can’t write ma­te­rial too far ahead of the March 4 event be­cause the mood of Amer­i­cans is con­stantly shift­ing.

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