Failing Up: Five Undeniable Lessons from Kimmel Snagging Oscar Gig (Again)

Jimmy Kimmel will be back hosting the Oscars ceremony in 2023.


Kimmel went from the guy’s guy co-host of Comedy Central’s “The Man Show” to a humorless late night scold. He’s as partisan as Stephen Colbert, eager to run cover for Democratic misdeeds whenever necessary.

He’s also a third or fourth place finisher in most late-night ratings races 

Why would the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences select Kimmel to host the gala … again (he previously emceed the event in 2017 and 2018)?

It’s simple, really.

Everyone Else Said No

We previously learned Chris Rock turned down the gig. The “Saturday Night Live” would be a strong choice given his comic chops, and his infamous Will Smith slap might give the gig a zeitgeist boost like few others.

Dwayne Johnson also turned the Oscars gig down in 2019, citing scheduling conflicts.

Rock likely wasn't the only star to turn it down. His fellow stand-ups know it's a thankless task in normal times, one made far worse thanks to the woke revolution. Now, innocent jokes become so-called hate crimes on social media. What comic wants to endure that kind of heat?

Team Oscar Doesn’t Care about Ratings

Kimmel’s previous Oscar hosting gigs didn’t draw an award-winning crowd. In fact, his second stint as host saw a shocking 19 percent ratings drop from the previous year. (For perspective, the show’s ratings climbed 12 percent in 2019 sans host.

That, plus his recent Emmy hosting gig in 2020 scored the worst ratings ever, up until that point, for that once-mighty telecast.

The Oscar producers routinely talk about reversing the show’s ratings slide, tightening the bloated three-plus hour running time and otherwise reinventing the showcase. Yet the telecast continues to crush the three-hour mark and ratings remain in relative free-fall status.

Barring unforeseen factors (like “Top Gun: Maverick” earning multiple Oscar nominations, a Will Smith/Chris Rock reunion temporarily waving Smith's 10-year ban) Kimmel won’t reverse that trend.

Kimmel Does What He’s Told

Most former Oscar viewers might tune in to see one comedian oversee the event – Ricky Gervais. The British comic’s Golden Globes appearances were the stuff of legends, and Gervais’ take-no-prisoners approach is exactly what the Oscars need.

Except Team Oscar wouldn’t dare invite Gervais to its party. The Oscar producers wouldn’t know what to expect, and that kind of spontaneity is frowned upon.

You know exactly what you’ll get with Kimmel. Partisan yuks. Shout outs to BLM, #OscarsSoWhite and other progressive causes. He won’t rock the boat, especially after catching heat for an Emmys gag some said upstaged black winner Quinta Brunson’s moment in the spotlight.

Nothing Kimmel says will make the hard-Left, thin-skinned crowd uncomfortable.

Hollywood Hates Half of the Country

Sound hyperbolic? Kimmel himself called this reporter the “Crazy Uncle” for noting how his hiring was a bird-flipping moment from Hollywood to Red State USA. Who could argue against that logic?

Kimmel is one of the industry’s most overtly partisan figures. He used his wife to plea for abortion-friendly candidates on Election Day eve and starred in a political ad attacking GOP officials mere days earlier.

He famously said of Republican fans frustrated by his progressive evolution, “not good riddance but riddance.”

Days ago, he claimed he risked his “Jimmy Kimmel Live” gig to keep on telling anti-Trump jokes in a direct challenge to ABC’s bosses.

His selection is a deliberate stick in the eye to conservative viewers, the same ones who have given up on the show following its hard-Left drift. And his politics have grown more deliberate, and divisive, since his ratings-starved 2018 appearance.

The Woke Revolution Will Be Televised (Again)

We’re seeing signs of Hollywood’s exhaustion with the woke mind virus, to paraphrase Elon Musk’s preferred term. Netflix and Warner Bros. Discovery have cut loose multiple woke projects before they could reach the public.

Netflix also stood by controversial comics like Dave Chappelle and Ricky Gervais, telling their angry critics to, essentially, pound sound.

And a revealing New York Times investigation suggests industry insiders are realizing the “get woke, go broke” critique has real merit.

You won’t see signs of that change on Kimmel’s Oscar night. Hiring the late-night propagandist is a sure sign the show will go on more or less like before. That means a progressive opening monologue, numerous shout outs to empowered women, diversity mandates and other liberal talking points. 

Kimmel knows his way around a punchline, but modern Oscar monolgues care more about sending a message and being on the “right” side of hot-button issues than making viewers howl.

Written by
Christian Toto is an award-winning film critic, journalist and founder of, the Right Take on Entertainment. He’s the author of “Virtue Bombs: How Hollywood Got Woke and Lost Its Soul” and a lifelong Yankees fan. Toto lives in Denver, Colorado with his wife, two sons and too many chickens. Follow Christian on Twitter at