President Joe Biden hasn’t had a sit-down interview with the press since Feb. 10.
The beleaguered leader will change that this week, technically speaking.
Biden is set to appear on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” Wednesday night. Yes, it’s the same show that threw softballs at the First Son last year following more embarrassing revelations than any public figure has endured.
The presidential interview comes at a curious time for Kimmel. The far-Left host is publicly mulling retirement from a gig he began nearly 20 years ago.
“I have moments where I go, ‘I cannot do this anymore.’ And I have moments where I go, ‘what am I gonna do with my life if I’m not doing this anymore?’ It’s a very complicated thing. And there are practical considerations, and there are family and friend considerations and co worker considerations. And eventually, I am going to have to stop doing this. I’m not going to do this forever. I would not be honest at all if I said that I have decided one way or the other. I’m thinking about it a lot, though.”
Kimmel could be serious about his ambivalence. Or, this might be a public negotiating tactic similar to what’s playing out with Neve Campbell’s exit from the “Scream” franchise. Kimmel’s current ABC contract is expiring soon, coincidentally.
Kimmel’s showcase routinely trails both “The Late Show” and “Gutfeld!” in the ratings, but it’s consistently ahead of the former powerhouse “Tonight Show.”
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Other factors may be in play.
Kimmel wasn’t always a Democratic party hack. His early work challenged cultural norms, particularly “The Man Show” co-starring Adam Carolla. That Comedy Central series took a subversive look at gender, pushing edgy content along with blatantly pro-male visuals.
Cue the bikini-clad girls bouncing on trampolines.
Kimmel wore blackface, embraced misogynistic yuks and did it all sans apology. His “Crank Yankers” puppet series, also co-created with Carolla, pushed comic boundaries. The show’s signature puppet, a mentally challenged lad named Special Ed, got erased during the show’s woke revival.
Those gigs eventually gave way to more mainstream success with his ABC late-night showcase. Kimmel didn’t start the show as an overtly political figure. Bits like his twerking girl prank defined the show’s mood.
He eventually followed the path blazed by late night liberals David Letterman, Stephen Colbert and Bill Maher in the Trump era. Target the GOP early and often in late night monologues while ignoring Democrats behaving badly.
Now, Kimmel’s tone and rhetoric are indistinguishable from Colbert, the prince of progressive late-night TV.
At some point, Kimmel’s inner comic must gnaw at him. Sure, the 1,398th Trump joke may be cool, but why not poke serious fun at the current president? The Left is crushing free speech, and Kimmel would rather crack wise about a Fox News talk show host.
Does Kimmel feel shame about his current positioning as a partisan stooge? Does that fuel his retirement thoughts?
The Carolla factor can’t be overlooked.
Kimmel found mainstream success with “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” His old “Man Show” alum took a very different path. Carolla created a podcast empire, produced high-quality documentaries like “Uppity” and became a repeat bestselling author.
Carolla did it on his own, eschewing all the usual channels to become a self-made star. He may not have Kimmel’s bank account, but his creative soul is intact.
Can Kimmel say the same?
Wednesday’s Biden chat will likely be a bore. Kimmel won’t seriously challenge the president on the sorry state of the nation. Biden has never been charismatic or interesting, before or during his presidency. Now, at 79, he often struggles to read off a teleprompter.
It will be softball after softball, all designed to distract from soaring gas prices, crushing inflation and a staggering sense that the worst may be yet to come.
There’s another reason Kimmel may be looking to a “Live”-free future.
The country could be months away from a red wave election unlike any in recent memory. It’s a long way until November, but there’s a palpable sense that the Left’s cultural overreach has hit the boiling point.
Kimmel may fear he won’t fit in as well in that new reality. And no amount of softball interviews can change that.