Jimmy Kimmel Live/YouTube
Jimmy Fallon might be revered as the late night kingpin after taking over The Tonight Show and boosting its ratings, but competitor Jimmy Kimmel is up for the challenge. His Jimmy Kimmel Live! has been on a roll since last fall, hitting the marks not just with late night ratings but on social media.
First, there was the viral video “Epic Twerking Fail,” showing a girl accidentally setting her leg on fire while dancing… a story that appeared on several newscasts before it was revealed to be just a Kimmel prank using a stunt woman. Then, the host suckered an international audience when he got Olympic luger Kate Hansen to post a video of a wolf walking down a hotel hallway in Sochi, Russia. The “hotel,” of course, was later revealed to be Kimmel’s offices.
As funny as the pranks have been, Kimmel and his staff have gone into overdrive with their parody shorts, topping anything that Saturday Night Live has done since Andy Samberg and his Lonely Island cohorts were at the top of their game. Here’s a sampling of the spoofs that have made Kimmel’s late night show and YouTube channel such a hotbed of comedy.
True Detective 2
We all know that Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson aren’t returning for another season of HBO’s True Detective, but who knew that Kimmel and buddy Seth Rogen were in line to take their places? The duo’s slap-fight turned… well, we’re still not sure what it turned into but it was very uncomfortable… would be disturbing even for the most hardened premium cable aficionados.
In a multi-part series, Kimmel’s loyal lackey Guillermo stars as the president in the Spanish-language telenovela version of Scandal. Women fight over him, men want to kill him, and he even gets to share a bed with the real Olivia Pope, Kerry Washington. Por qué? We don’t know, but it’s awfully funny.
Kimmel has been doing a post-Oscars show for a while now and had viral hits with Movie: The Movie and Movie: The Movie 2, where A-List celebrities mocked the trappings of Hollywood films. This year, however, Kimmel and his team outdid themselves, choosing to show what viral YouTube sensations would be like if they got the big screen treatment. There’s one that features Queen Latifah as “Ain’t nobody got time for that”-spouting Sweet Brown (and features the real Brown interrupting Kimmel’s archenemy, Matt Damon). In Bitman, though, Chris Hemsworth agonizes over the search for his disgraced brother to their mother, Meryl Streep. What has the brother — played by his real-life sibling Liam Hemsworth — done that has wronged him? He bit him, of course. And, now the brother that Charlie bit wants revenge for his finger. It did really hurt, after all.
How do you get Kevin Spacey to dress up as a piano playing 19th century cat, Christoph Waltz to play his nemesis, the “hamster on a piano eating popcorn,” and Ben Kingsley, Gary Oldman, and Mandy Patinkin to be the courtiers they are both trying to impress? No, seriously, we want to know how you manage to get so many great actors to play along with such a goofy premise. The result is hysterical but good luck getting the “Cat Playing Piano” music out of your head afterwards.
David After the Dentist Double Rainbow Oh My God! in 3D
It’s a little creepy seeing Joseph Gordon-Levitt portraying a grown version of poor little painkiller affected David from the viral video… until Catherine Zeta-Jones arrives as a sexy tooth fairy singing Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody.” Amping up the weirdness, Samuel L. Jackson portrays the scariest dentist since Little Shop of Horrors and Rogen pops up as the overly effusive “Double Rainbow” guy. We’re not sure that Kermit the Frog would approve of Jackson’s new lyric for “Rainbow Connection,” but we actually could envision Baz Luhrmann directing something like this.