Returning to the helm of his late-night show after taking time off to be with his newborn son, Jimmy Kimmel spoke about the viral speech he made a week ago that has racked up more than 10,000,000 views on YouTube.
The late night host explained to his audience last Monday that his son with his wife, Molly McNearney, who pens punchlines for his show, had open-heart surgery after being diagnosed with a congenital heart defect called Tetralogy of Fallot with pulmonary atresia. At the time, Kimmel made a plea to maintain health insurance coverage for people with pre-existing conditions.
"If your baby is going to die and it doesn't have to, it shouldn't matter how much money you make," he said last week. "I think that's something, whether you're a Republican or a Democrat or something else, we all agree on that."
Last night, Kimmel thanked viewers for their donations and messages of support. He said the influx of "so much kindness (and) so much compassion" was difficult to process but acknowledged "there were also some not-so-nice things that people said online about me, including members of the media.”
He shared some examples with his audience. One biting headline read, "Jimmy Kimmel’s obscene lies about kids and medical care." Another: "Shut up, Jimmy Kimmel, you elitist creep."
Matt Damon's faux nemesis was able to make a joke out of the latter.
“I cannot count the number of times I’ve been called an ‘out of touch Hollywood elitist creep’ this week, which I have to say I kind of appreciate," Kimmel cracked, "because when I was a kid, we had to drink the powdered milk because we couldn’t afford the liquid. Our orange juice came frozen out of a can. It would squeeze out.”
To his opposers, he offered a sarcastic mea culpa.
"I would like to apologize for saying that children in America should have health care," he stated. "It was insensitive. It was offensive, and I hope you can find it in your heart to forgive me.
"There are some very sick and sad people out there," Kimmel continued before calling out Newt Gingrich specifically. In a clip Kimmel showed, the former speaker of the house said, "If you show up at a hospital with a brand new baby and the brand new baby has a heart problem, the doctors at that hospital will do everything they can to save the baby. They don't say, 'We'll take care of the baby right after you write a check.' They try to save the baby's life, and that's true across the board in this country."
Kimmel said his statement was circumstantially factual.
"Yes, it is true that if you have an emergency, they will do an operation," he said. "And that’s terrific if your baby’s health problems are all solved during that one visit. The only problem is that never, ever happens. We’ve had a dozen doctors appointments since our son had surgery. You’ve got a cardiologist, the pediatrician, surgeon, some kids need an ambulance to transport them. That doesn’t even count the parents who have to miss work for all this stuff. Those details, Newt forgot to mention. I don’t know if the double layers of Spanx are restricting the blood flow to his brain.”
The show host also addressed Gingrich's opinion that late night comedians “ain't funny ‘cause they’re too angry (at President Trump) to be funny.”
“Gee, I wonder why we’re so angry," Kimmel began. "Maybe it has something to do with, I don’t know, you? Listen, Newt Gingrich does know a lot about comedy. This is the guy who helped lead the impeachment effort against Bill Clinton for trying to cover his up his affair while he was having an affair. That’s hilarious. Come on. Whatever you want to say about him. Thank you, Newt. There’s a reason he’s named after a lizard, and that was it.”
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