ABC late night host Jimmy Kimmel has been tapped to entertain the crowd at next year’s White House Correspondents’ Dinner in April.
Kimmel is the latest in a long line of late night TV comics asked to amuse the masses at the annual Hollywood celebrity petting zoo cum POTUS roast held annually at the Washington’s Hilton hotel, in which the massive basement ballroom becomes a dense, practically liquid mass of chattering journalists, politicos, and Hollywood celebrities, seething to and fro, ignoring the handing out of scholarships and awards aimed at supporting aspiring journalists and recognizing excellence in the profession.
Then everyone settles down, and the late night TV comic goes into his routine to warm up the crowd for the president of the United States who then delivers a carefully crafted roast of his friends and enemies. And the air is thick with the mixed scent of perfume, mildew, and mothballed evening gowns and tuxedos.
For the uninitiated it can be quite intimidating. The year CBS late night talk show host Craig Ferguson was the warm-up act, he resembled someone who had been using a lit match to look for the leak in a gas line as he sat on the dais with POTUS and others, watching the unruly crowd during the trophy and scholarship dispensing portion of the evening’s activities.
But Kimmel’s an old hand with unruly crowds; heck he co-hosted the ESPN Awards once, has hosted the American Music Awards five times, and also served as roast master at both the Hugh Hefner roast and the Pamela Anderson roast on Comedy Central.
“I look forward to being a part of the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner. I love dinner,” Kimmel said in Tuesday’s news.
This is a good year to have Kimmel host. He’s on a roll these days in late night. This season he’s on track to clock his most watched season in four years. He’s delivering the largest yearly gains of any of the late night broadcast talk shows.
“Jimmy’s humor is sophisticated and edgy while appealing to a wide audience,” WHCA president and Reuters journalist Caren Bohan said in Tuesday’s announcement.
Meanwhile, how will Kimmel compare to past hosts? Here’s a look at the Jay Leno, Craig Ferguson and Seth Meyers routines.