BROOKLYN, New York City — In January, Jimmy Kimmel will mark 20 years as the host of his own late night TV talk show.
“Jimmy Kimmel Live!” is now the longest running late night show still on the air, and he just signed a new contract extension with ABC for 3 more years.
Kimmel was born in Brooklyn and lived there until he was 9 years old, and this week, he came home to host a week’s worth of shows from the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) — where thousands will come to welcome back this native son.
The home of his show might be in Hollywood, but Kimmel remains close to friends and family in New York City, and the venue is just a few short miles from the Mill Basin neighborhood where he grew up.
His trip home had become an annual tradition until COVID canceled it for a couple of years.
“It always feels great to be back in Brooklyn, but it feels especially great because we’ve been trapped,” Kimmel said. “It feels like the world is getting back to normal even though everyone on my staff still has a mask on.”
To promote his lineup of guests this week, the star used the Ocky Way, recruiting the TikTok-famous bodega manager from Red Hook to explain who will be on the show.
“First we start with Jimmy Kimmel,” Rahim “General Ock” Mohamed said. “Then we add the guests. We put David Letterman on the show. Then, we add Amy Schumer, then Ben Stiller, Mila Kunis, Jason Bateman, Tracy Morgan…and we spice it up with music.”
Those musical acts include Run the Jewels and Paul Simon.
Many decades have passed since Kimmel’s family left Brooklyn and moved to Las Vegas, but the star’s ties to the old neighborhood remain strong.
And that’s one reason why he first came back a decade ago during Superstorm Sandy.
“Tonight, I have returned to save my people from the storm,” he told his audience in 2012, and they responded with cheers.
This time, we caught up with Kimmel between rehearsals at BAM, just days after ABC announced his contract extension.
“ABC came to me and they said, ‘We’d like you to stay. We’d like you to stay as long as you want to,'” he said. “I looked around my office, and I thought, ‘I don’t want to clean this stuff up.’
He said he never expected his show to last two decades.
“There were many times where it felt like the plane was headed towards the Earth, and somehow we pulled it out,” he said. “But I did know I was going to give it everything I had, and I do think that’s important always do that.”
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