It is difficult to decipher what exactly is driving some of Hollywood’s questionable decisions of late.
On the heels of the entertainment industry’s choice of Anita Hill as sexual harassment czar, the announcement that former co-host of “The Man Show” and current late-night political pawn Jimmy Kimmel will once again take the Oscar stage as host of the show.
This will be Kimmel’s second consecutive year as emcee, despite the fact that the results of his last go-round were anything but stellar. The telecast scored low ratings, and there was the infamous gaffe in which “La La Land” was mistakenly announced as the winner for Best Picture, when in fact “Moonlight” was the movie that had taken the top spot.
It could be that Kimmel’s recent hyper-political correctness caught the attention of the Academy, particularly when he jettisoned comedy to do opinion pieces on controversial political topics, including health care and gun control. He purposely used his show to lobby against the effort of the Republican Congress to repeal and replace Obamacare, and he received the gratitude of many on the left for helping to thwart the legislation.
CNN went so far as to declare that Kimmel was “America’s conscience.” Oddly, though, the would-be moral authority has been largely silent about the Weinstein scandal and its many offshoots.
There is a good reason for Kimmel’s reluctance to speak. Before he became the darling of the left, Kimmel and fellow comic Adam Carolla created and co-hosted “The Man Show,” a highly sexualized program, which aired on Comedy Central from 1999 until 2003.
Frequently engaging in the objectification of women and showcasing some racially-charged sketches, in a segment from one of the programs Kimmel approached women on the street and asked them to guess what he had inside his pants.
“I’ve stuffed something in my pants, and you’re allowed to feel around on the outside of the pants. You’ll have 10 seconds to then guess what is in my pants,” he said to a woman, adding that she “should use two hands.”
Kimmel later asked another female participant to “put her mouth on it,” and he made sure that another woman was at least 18 years old because “Uncle Jimmy doesn’t need to do time.”
When one of his contestants was touching him in a more aggressive manner, he told her that she was “gonna make a fine wife.”
At the end of the skit, Kimmel revealed that what he had stuffed in his pants was a zucchini with a rubber band on it.
Other crude segments featured on “The Man Show” included a faux commercial for “Bosom Springs,” a fictitious company that provided water for wet T-shirts, and a “Juggy Talent Show” in which women in sparse swimwear attire would demonstrate their implicitly sexual “talents.”
In other shows, Kimmel can be seen asking individuals he encounters on the street if they would show their underwear and enlisting advice from porn stars on domestic chores.
For the first decade or so of his ABC late-night gig, Kimmel stayed away from controversial topics and became well known for his comedic fare, including pulling practical jokes on Hollywood stars or having celebrities read mean tweets about themselves.
A politically charged Kimmel emerged in early 2017, when, after being fed Democrat talking points from Sen. Chuck Schumer, began attacking GOP legislative proposals. He also politicized the deadly Las Vegas shooting to launch into a gun control rant.
Bob Iger, CEO of Disney, which owns ABC, noticed Kimmel’s departure from comedy and excursion into activism.
“That show is to entertain,” Iger told The New York Times.
Then the Hollywood executive said something that Kimmel would be wise to pay attention to as he readies himself for the upcoming Oscar hosting gig.
Iger advised, “I think he should be careful.”