Tonight: look for Kimmel to ace The Emmys

kimmel-2016-tux-emmy-900x600When I spoke with Jimmy Kimmel in July in Montreal at Just for Laughs he admitted hosting The 68th Annual Emmy Awards was “my big focus right now.”

We’ll see what he and his writers came up with tonight at 8 p.m. ET on ABC and CTV.

“I wouldn’t say I’m looking forward to it but I’m getting ready for it,” he told me then. “I’ve been thinking about it a lot.”

The reason he wasn’t looking forward to it? “It’s a pain in the ass,” says Jimmy. “Everything’s a pain in the ass.”

With so much competition in late night, and so many viral videos to produce, Kimmel and Fallon and Colbert and Conan and Corden and Meyers and Trevor Noah and Samantha B and everybody is working their asses off.

“We’re all working so much harder than anyone ever used to,” he says. I don’t think it was a killer job 30 years ago. Johnny Carson seemed to play a lot of tennis. I think we ruined the job for everyone by adding these viral videos and these sketches to the mix. It used to be a reasonable job that you could go home at 6 o’clock at night and not think about it till the next day. That has definitely changed.”

Kimmel isn’t even convinced all the viral video effort helps keep his show or others on the air. What he does know is this: “More people now are watching late night television than any previous time, including the times of Johnny Carson when it was the only thing on the air. They’re just not necessarily watching it on television, they’re watching it on Facebook.”

Still, even though he’s hosted the Emmys before, Kimmel feels he can’t count on viewers being familiar with him heading into tonight’s award show broadcast.

“You can’t assume that the audience knows you or your show really,” he says. “I do a lot of stuff with Guillermo on my show. The audience always enjoys it but it might be too inside for a prime time awards show audience. I think if you approach it as if its your show instead of a show you’re hosting you’re automatically getting off on the wrong foot.”

For more on Kimmel, Tim Goodman at The Hollywood Reporter does a nice job in this pre-Emmy report. The Q&A capture’s Kimmel’s voice but also the secret of his appeal to many of us who tend to specialize in late night TV: heading into a 14th season on his series, the 48-year-old remains rapier fast and fearless in his comedy but also down-to-earth and decent in person. Don’t be fooled by all those jabs at Matt Damon — Kimmel is one of the good guys.

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