Jimmy Kimmel needs to address the blackface controversy that’s engulfed him — and not by taking the summer off from “Jimmy Kimmel Live.”
That’s the coward’s way out.
Kimmel needs to apologize for the resurfaced blackface sketches that aired during his days on Comedy Central’s “The Man Show” (1999-2004), which included him playing NBA star Karl Malone and a parody of “The Oprah Winfrey Show” called “Oprah Jimfrey.” You can only imagine. This is bad no matter in what sociological timeframe they aired, exacerbated amid the ongoing (and hopefully just beginning) national discussion about institutional racism in all forms.
The sketches have sparked outrage on social media, but only silence from Kimmel (thus far) and his bosses at ABC, who — oh, yeah — just announced their late-night superstar will host the Emmys telecast Sept. 20. They wouldn’t want to ruin that, right? (Even though no one watches the Emmys anymore.)
Not so coincidentally, the Brooklyn-born Kimmel, 52, said on his half-hour (remotely broadcast) show Thursday night that he’s taking a summer vacation. “I’ve been doing this job for almost 18 years,” he said. “I’ve done 3,130 shows. And there’s nothing wrong, my family is healthy, I’m healthy, I just need a couple of months off.” Not a word about “The Man Show” controversy. He even joked about his sudden hiatus in an on-air sketch with mock enemy Matt Damon.