Brow Beat

Jimmy Kimmel Tears Into Everyone Who Came After Him for Speaking Out About Health Care, and It’s Glorious

Just one night after devoting his entire monologue to excoriating Senator Bill Cassidy for lying to his face, Jimmy Kimmel continues to rip into Republicans like the scourge of God. Conservative media reacted to Kimmel’s monologue on Wednesday morning with the same well-worn playbook they always use whenever a celebrity calls them on their bullshit: a giant chorus of “Stay in your lane.” Or, as Kimmel calls it, “the all comedians are dummies card.” And he is absolutely not standing for it. After showing a clip of Senator Cassidy shaking his head in sorrow and lamenting that the talk show host “doesn’t understand” his bill, Kimmel went off:

Oh, I get it, I don’t understand because I’m a talk show host, right? Well, then, help me out, which part don’t I understand? Is it the part where you cut $240 billion from federal health care assistance? Am I not understanding the part where states would be allowed to let insurance companies price you out of coverage for having pre-existing conditions? Maybe I don’t understand the part of your bill in which federal funding disappears completely after 2026? Or maybe it was the part where the plans are no longer required to pay for essential health benefits like maternity care or pediatric visits? Or the part where the American Medical Association, the American College of Physicians, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Hospital Association, the American Cancer Society, the American Diabetes Association, the American Heart Association, Lung Association, Arthritis Foundation, Cystic Fibrosis, ALS, the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, and the March of Dimes, among many others, all vehemently oppose your bill? Which part of that am I not understanding?

Or could it be, Senator Cassidy, that the problem is that I do understand, and you got caught with your G-O-penis out. Is that possible? Because it feels like it is.

It’s looking like a worse and worse decision on Senator Cassidy’s part to go on Jimmy Kimmel Live! to lie about health care. But while Tuesday night’s monologue was just about Cassidy, on Wednesday, Kimmel broadened his scope, and in doing so, may have blown up another rotten social norm. Just as senators like Cassidy rely on people being unwilling to call them liars for the sake of civility—Lindsey Graham described it as “inappropriate” on Wednesday—other people in the media ecosystem rely on a certain amount of professional courtesy, an understanding that, no matter what position a person might publicly take on an issue, everyone’s in the entertainment business, you can’t knock someone else’s hustle, and at the end of the day we can all relax over cocktails in the Hamptons and pretend we’re Ronald Reagan or Tip O’Neill, depending. None of it is personal, in other words, and why would it be? Everyone’s rich. So ordinarily, there’d be no reason for Kimmel to be mad when Fox News does what Fox News does, like, for instance, framing Kimmel’s monologue like this:

Sunday’s politically charged Emmys may have been the lowest rated in history, but that’s not stopping Hollywood elites like comedian Jimmy Kimmel from pushing their politics on the rest of the country. Watch.

That’s the standard play on Fox’s part, at least once “this guy doesn’t know what he’s talking about” fails, but again, Kimmel has no patience for it. Celebrities aren’t supposed to do this to other celebrities:

Thanks, Brian. That was Brian Kilmeade. And the reason I found this comment to be particularly annoying, is this is a guy, Brian Kilmeade, who whenever I see him, kisses my ass like a little boy meeting Batman. Oh, he’s such a fan. I think he’s been to the show. He follows me on Twitter. He asked me to write a blurb for his book, which I did. He calls my agent looking for projects. He’s dying to be a member of the Hollywood elite. The only reason he’s not a member of the Hollywood elite is ’cause nobody will hire him to be one.

And you know, the reason I’m talking about this is because my son had an open-heart surgery, then has to have two more, and because of that I learned that there are kids with no insurance in the same situation. I don’t get anything out of this, Brian, you phony little creep. Oh, I’ll pound you when I see you. That is my blurb. That will be my blurb for your next book: “Brian Kilmeade is a phony little creep.”

Absolutely lethal. That’s the kind of social norm we going to need to establish in the place of the all-is-forgiven chumminess of Sean Spicer at Emmys if we’re going to make it through the next week, never mind the rest of Trump’s term. We somehow built a world where Senator Cassidy had a reasonable expectation of lying on television without facing any consequences more serious than a “those clowns in congress are at it again” shrug, a world where Brian Kilmeade could reasonably expect to call Kimmel a “Hollywood elite” from one side of his mouth while asking for favors from the other. In other words, at least when it comes to social norms amongst wealthy and powerful people, we built kind of a shitty world. It’s a delight to watch Jimmy Kimmel tear it down.