Los Angeles Times - - THE ENVELOPE - Glenn. whipp@ latimes. com

More “event” than talk

BY GLENN WHIPP >>> When “Jimmy Kim­mel Live!” shut down Hol­ly­wood Boule­vard for a Paul McCart­ney con­cert two years ago, so many peo­ple turned up that the for­mer Bea­tle, gaz­ing into a sea of hu­man­ity, cracked, “You all right back there in … Santa Mon­ica?”

He was ac­tu­ally look­ing east to­ward Sil­ver Lake, but given that McCart­ney put on a free, 15- song show, be­gin­ning with “Mag­i­cal Mys­tery Tour” and end­ing with “Hey Jude,” we can for­give a lit­tle ge­o­graph­i­cal con­fu­sion.

Mu­si­cal per­for­mances have long been a hall­mark of late- night tele­vi­sion, but Kim­mel tries to take it to another level, in part, as the host ex­plains in an in­ter­view in his of­fice, be­cause mu­si­cians were about the only guests he could book when his pro­gram be­gan 12 years ago. Now he’s mashing up bands from past and present and oc­ca­sion­ally shut­ting down traf­fic in Hol­ly­wood for the likes of Van Halen, Tay­lor Swift and Justin Tim­ber­lake.

“Bet­ter that than for the pre­miere of some crappy ac­tion movie across the street,” Kim­mel says, nod­ding to­ward the his­toric TCL Chi­nese Theatre. He’s not hear­ing many com­plaints, though. Or, at least, not as many as in the past.

You closed down Hol­ly­wood Boule­vard right off the bat with Cold­play on your first show. What do you re­mem­ber about that night?

It was the end of our first show and there was a lot of pres­sure. I re­mem­ber sit­ting on the steps of the theater, see­ing all these peo­ple and not re­ally be­liev­ing that ev­ery­one, in­clud­ing Cold­play, had come to my show. It was a great feel­ing. I had reached the fin­ish line. Of course, I was for­get­ting the fact that I had five more shows to do that week. And we prob­a­bly had no idea who our guest was the next night. But for maybe a mo­ment, it was nice.

In the early days, you taped the show live. Did the later hour cause any prob­lems with the neigh­bors?

Not so much. You’d be sur­prised. Peo­ple in Hol­ly­wood were OK with mu­sic at 10 p. m. Ex­cept when Korn played. They seemed to come with a spe­cial agenda.

Which was …?

To set off ev­ery car alarm in the city of Los An­ge­les. They had speak­ers stacked up 20 feet high. It was like they were try­ing to kill ev­ery­one in the au­di­ence.

And yet the only time some­one has been hurt was David Lee Roth’s self- inf licted in­jury when Van Halen per­formed.

Peo­ple thought it was from a mi­cro­phone, but it was this spe­cial pole he uses for mar­tial arts. Twenty- five sec­onds into the first song, right into his nose. He comes off stage, bleed­ing. A lot. He used to be a para­medic, and he tells our medic, “Just put some duct tape on it.” And the medic’s like, “I have ban­dages, you know.”

You’ve done sev­eral of these mu­sic mash- ups, Wee- Z Top ( Weezer and ZZ Top play­ing to­gether), REO Speedrag­ons ( REO Speed­wagon and Imag­ine Dragons). Do you have a fa­vorite?

Prob­a­bly Kenny and War­ren G. That was the one I was most wor­ried about. I don’t think Kenny G was overly fa­mil­iar with the War­ren G ver­sion of “Reg­u­late,” but he knew the Doo­bie Broth­ers riff re­ally well. So he latched on to that, and it was just a very pleas­ant sur­prise.

How many more of these do you have planned?

We have many, many planned. The whole thing started when I saw a per­for­mance of Huey Lewis and the Foo Fight­ers in Ja­pan. Huey Lewis and the Foos. I love a good pun. In fact, we spend way too much time around here think­ing up stupid puns. I couldn’t even be­gin to add up the hours.

What’s the dream pair­ing?

I would re­ally like to get TLC and Sia to­gether.


Ab­so­lutely. We’re go­ing to make that hap­pen.

Randy Holmes ABC

JIMMY KIM­MEL, cen­ter, hosted Van Halen ( Alex Van Halen, left, Ed­die Van Halen, an in­jured David Lee Roth, Wolf­gang Van Halen) on Hol­ly­wood Boule­vard.

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