Stephen A. Smith Was So Nervous To Host Jimmy Kimmel Live, He Thought He Was Going To ‘Sh*t Himself’

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Stephen A. Smith is a man who prides himself on confidence and bravado. ESPN even ran a promo of “First Take” at one point that touted Smith as “never scared.”

But, apparently, Smith is just as human as the rest of us mere mortals and can get nervous on occasion. It doesn’t happen often, according to Smith. But when tasked with filling in for Jimmy Kimmel on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” last year, Smith was terrified.

Stephen A. Smith appeared on the “Adam Carolla Show” on Tuesday and Carolla asked Smith if he had ever tried stand-up comedy.

Smith, with his usual bravado, claimed that his manager begs him to do stand up because he’s “funnier than he thinks he is.”

But Smith doesn’t want to do stand-up, though he says he loves the art form. He then went on to tell the story of guest hosting “Jimmy Kimmel Live” last August, the closest he’s ever been to doing stand-up comedy.

Stephen A. Smith was incredibly nervous to host ‘Jimmy Kimmel Live’

“My dumb ass didn’t realize that, ‘wait a minute,’ there’s about a 15, 18-minute monologue that I gotta do,” Smith said. “And I gotta be funny.”

Smith continues, “I’m telling you right now. I’ve been in TV for over 20 years. I have never been scared in my entire life. This scared, rather, in my life.”

Stephen A. Smith hosts 'Jimmy Kimmel Live' in August 2021, and recently told Adam Carolla about the experience.
Stephen A. Smith hosts ‘Jimmy Kimmel Live’ in August 2021, and recently told Adam Carolla about the experience.

Then Smith proceeded to explain that nervous energy manifests itself in a strange way within his body.

“People get nervous, they’re sweating. People get nervous and they gotta get a drink or whatever. Me? I have to go to the toilet. And sometimes it’s just once. This show, in the last hour, I went to the toilet five times.”

Too much information, Stephen A.

But he wasn’t done. Well, he was done going to the toilet, at least. But that didn’t stop his body from continuing to react to the bright lights of Hollywood.

“I was so scared that I was going to shit in myself when I went out on stage. I was that petrified.”

Despite this experience, Stephen A. Smith said last week that he wants to one day take over for Jimmy Kimmel.

Most people never have to worry about hosting a late night talk show on national television. But next time you have to give that Best Man speech and you’re a little nervous, remember the plight of Stephen A. Smith.

Remember that even the most professional pros get scared from time to time.

Just try not to have an accident in your pants.


Follow Dan Zaksheske on Twitter: @OutkickDanZ

Written by Dan Zaksheske

Dan began his sports media career at ESPN, where he survived for nearly a decade. Once the Stockholm Syndrome cleared, he made his way to Outkick. He is secure enough in his masculinity to admit he is a cat-enthusiast with three cats, one of which is named “Brady” because his wife wishes she were married to Tom instead of him.

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