After his son Billy was born with a rare congenital heart defect that required multiple surgeries in 2017, Jimmy Kimmel unwittingly became one of the loudest and clearest voices in the healthcare debate. Likewise, in the wake of mass shooting after mass shooting, the late night host has spoken from the heart with frank honesty about why, as a country, we’re failing to prevent these tragedies from happening.
Kimmel’s politically charged monologues have earned him undeserved criticism from the right (and he’s even been the target of Trump himself), but as he opened up to Oprah Winfrey in the April issue of O magazine, he wouldn’t change a thing.
When asked if it was “scary” to open up about his personal life and political points of view with his viewers, he told the media mogul, “I don’t know if it was scary, but it was uncomfortable, and it’s not something I looked forward to. I definitely felt a sense of relief when it was over.”
Kimmel admitted however, that the backlash has impacted his bottom line. “According to polls I’ve seen, it has cost me commercially,” he said. “That’s not ideal, but I wouldn’t change anything I said.”
“I know my job is, for the most part, to entertain people and make them laugh. That said, if I can be selfish every once in a while and talk about something serious that’s important to me, then I do want to take that opportunity,” Kimmel tells Winfrey. “But I don’t want to abuse my position. I pick my battles. Ninety percent of the time, I’ll joke around, but some of the jokes, I hope, make people think.”
“It makes me more thankful in general for sure,” he said. “To be honest, it minimizes the importance of something like [the Oscars], which last year to me seemed to be the more important thing in the world. And then you just get the reminder that this isn’t even close to the most important thing in the world, and you’re reminded of that every day when you go home, so in a way, yes, it’s definitely made me appreciate my life, but it also puts things in perspective.”
Kimmel hosted the Oscars for the second time in 2018, where he definitely took some shots at Trump and Pence, but spent the majority of his time onstage addressing the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements.