Jimmy Kimmel Talks Emmys Prank, Oscars Slap, and Who Pretended to Poop in Front of Tom Cruise’s Mom

Late-night host checks in with Howard from the Brooklyn set of “Jimmy Kimmel Live”

September 27, 2022

Beloved comedian, TV host, and producer Jimmy Kimmel enjoyed another epic on-air conversation with Howard Tuesday morning, connecting with the Stern Show from the Brooklyn set of his hit late-night series “Jimmy Kimmel Live.” The two dear friends’ freewheeling chat covered plenty of ground, from hanging out with Joe Buck at “Monday Night Football” to what else happened when Tom Cruise attended one of Jimmy’s infamous football parties. Jimmy, who is both TV’s current longest-running late-night star and has hosted the Oscars and Emmys on multiple occasions, also took a deep dive into show business, discussing his recent contract extension at ABC and two of the year’s biggest award show controversies: the Oscars “slap” and the prank he pulled earlier this month when “Abbott Elementary” star and creator Quinta Brunson accepted her very first Emmy.

Some people slammed Jimmy after the fact, accusing him of disrespecting Quinta and detracting from her big moment by shoehorning himself into the spotlight. As Jimmy explained it, however, he hadn’t set out to offend anyone. He merely hoped to draw some laughs by having his co-presenter Will Arnett drag him around the stage.

“I said, ‘Will, wouldn’t it be funny’ – because I know [‘Jimmy Kimmel Live’] is going to lose to John Oliver – ‘if you could just drag me out there and say I was upset, and I had a few drinks, and I was just kind of unconscious?’” Jimmy told Howard.

Unfortunately, Jimmy misjudged both how the stunt would look on stage and how it would make some people feel. “How I visualized this happening is he drags me out, we read the winner, and then I’m just basically just out of the shot, and it’s not really a factor. But the stage was very different. The stage was like a catwalk. So, I was kind of like in the way,” he said, adding, “Some people read racial stuff into this, and everybody has their own perspective, but the fact of the matter is … this was a plan I had no matter who [won].”

While he never intended to rain on Quinta’s well-deserved Emmys parade, Jimmy saw how his actions left some people saying he’d stolen her moment. “It did take away – especially afterward – because then she had to answer questions about [my prank] instead of just celebrating her Emmy,” he said.

In the end, Jimmy felt he owed an apology to Quinta and no one else. Thankfully, he considers her a friend and the two have been able to keep a dialogue going since the Emmys, whether that was backstage at the show, later that night at an after party, or a few days later when she was a guest on his own show, which he’s used to champion “Abbott Elementary” since its debut.

“Weirdly, coincidentally, when I saw the [‘Abbott Elementary’] pilot … I called the head of ABC and said, ‘This is a great show. This is the kind of show you should be making,’ and they also thought it was great and they intended to pick it up,” Jimmy recalled. “And then I reached out to Quinta – this was months before the show premiered – and told her how I felt about it.”

How Jimmy Would’ve Handled ‘The Slap’

Jimmy has hosted the Oscars twice in recent years, but he wasn’t one of the trio of stars who emceed the 2022 award show – which will forever be known as the one where Will Smith stormed the stage and slapped Chris Rock after taking issue with a joke the comedian had cracked about his wife, actress Jada Pinkett Smith. The on-air altercation and subsequent reactions were the talk of the town for months, and on Tuesday Kimmel assured Howard he would’ve handled things quite differently.

“I would’ve went right out on stage because somebody needed to go out there at that time,” Jimmy told Howard, adding, “And I think that was one of the drawbacks of having three hosts – it wasn’t clear who should go out there and go handle it.”

That might sound like an easy claim for someone to make in hindsight, but Jimmy – who was hosting the Oscars in 2017 when Warren Beatty wrongly awarded “La La Land” Best Picture – had actually done it before in a similarly unexpected situation. “When they mixed up the envelopes and nobody knew what was supposed to happen, no one told me to go out on stage,” Kimmel recalled. “I said, ‘I guess I better go up because I’m the only one with a mic on’—and I just walked right out on stage.”

Still, Howard was curious to know precisely what Jimmy would’ve done.

“I think I probably would have started talking to Will Smith, who was still sitting there. I think I would’ve been like, ‘What are you doing?’ That would’ve been my first step,” Jimmy responded before going on to reveal he had a lengthy in-person conversation with Rock a few days after the fiasco. “I don’t want to share what he told me because I don’t think it’s my story to share … but he was surprised by it.”

Risky Business With Tom Cruise

During Jon Hamm’s Stern Show debut last week, the “Mad Men” actor recalled meeting his eventual “Top Gun: Maverick” co-star Tom Cruise for the very first time at one of Jimmy’s legendary Sunday football parties. On Tuesday, Jimmy added more color and context to an already incredible anecdote.

“Tom Cruise is a big Giants fan … and I said, ‘Hey we have football on Sunday if you ever want to come over,’ not thinking he would ever come over,” Jimmy recalled for Howard. “I mean, if you could see this group [of guests] – Jon Hamm is not indicative … These are not glamorous people by any stretch of the imagination.”

Tom took him up on the invitation, going so far to bring his own mother to the shindig, but as Jimmy described it the A-list actor likely got more than he bargained for. Not only did he have to endure a real estate spiel from Jimmy’s father, but Tom and his mom also bore witness to a hilariously gross stunt performed by Jimmy’s longtime cohort and then-neighbor Adam Carolla.

“[Adam] gets hammered because he knows he can walk home … and somebody encourages him to do his touchdown celebration dance,” Jimmy said. “He pretends to score a touchdown, he then squats down, pretends to shit the football out of his ass, [and] mimes thumbing through the newspaper.”

“Just imagine this, and imagine Tom Cruise’s mother watching it,” he continued. “It was crazy.”

Tom was by all accounts a good sport and gracious guest, but the Hollywood star never did return for another Sunday football party. “That was the last I heard of him,” Jimmy said with a laugh.

Not Leaving Late-Night

Jimmy made headlines during a recent visit when he told Howard his late-night run might soon be coming to an end, but just last week he signed a contract extension which now promises to keep him behind the “JKL” desk until at least 2025. Jimmy told Howard his reasons for extending his contract ranged from ABC simply showing an interest in keeping him around to his own desire to postpone his show’s farewell run, which he just knew would take an “emotional toll.” Mostly, though, the hard-working radio personality turned late-night superstar just couldn’t imagine walking away from such a great gig.

“I was fired from most of my radio jobs,” Jimmy said, looking back on the early days of his career and explaining how each new job meant relocating his family to a different city. “I finally found a job where they liked me in L.A. at KROQ. I was really reluctant to leave … I think back to that, I never made more than $60,000 a year until I was three-years into my job at KROC.”

“The idea of quitting a job, I can’t imagine explaining that to my 25-year-old self,” he continued.

“That’s how I feel, too,” Howard responded. “I’m glad you’re staying on. I feel good about it. It actually gives me comfort.”

Couples Retreat

While it had been awhile since Jimmy joined the Stern Show, the late-night star and his wife Molly did take their family on vacation this summer to Beth and Howard’s home. Discussing the visit, Jimmy and Molly – who phoned in just to share her side of the story – described it as a four-day-long birthday celebration for Beth filled with fun, sun, very early dinners, and some light quarantining.

“We had a little bit of a taste of what it would be like to be Martha Stewart [under] house arrest,” Molly joked to Howard. “You read about house arrest, and you think, ‘That doesn’t seem so bad,’ and then you get there, and you think, ‘Okay, I’d like to maybe go get a coffee,’ but we had a wonderful time, and we love you very much.”

“We love you too,” Howard responded.

Of course, no conversation with Molly and Jimmy would be complete without Jimmy updating the world on Molly’s famously fragrant feet. “Can I just say one thing to the listeners? Please, please stop tweeting about Molly’s feet,” Jimmy laughed as he brought the subject up out of the blue. “It’s an invasion of her body, and as her husband I must demand that it stop.”

All joking aside, Jimmy assured listeners Molly’s feet were no longer odorous. “They haven’t had any scent in like a year’s time,” he lamented.

“First of all, I just want to say, I’m so glad we’re talking about this again,” Molly responded. “And yes, I became aware that certain pairs of shoes – when you wear without socks – they start to get a scent. So, I cut those out.”

Jimmy Kimmel Live” airs live at 11:35 p.m. on ABC.

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