Jimmy Kimmel has an answer to critics who complain that he picks on Donald Trump more than Hillary Clinton.
“You know, I see a lot of comments online from Donald Trump supporters asking, ‘Why are you always making jokes about Donald Trump and not about Hillary Clinton?'” the ABC late-night host said. “And it’s true. You know, I do make more jokes about Donald Trump than Hillary Clinton — no question about it. But that’s just because Hillary Clinton is boring.”
It’s no surprise that a comedian would respond to questions about his lack of Clinton jokes with a Clinton joke. But there is a bit more to it.
Kimmel has the most politically balanced audience in late-night TV, according to a Hollywood Reporter survey conducted last fall. His viewers are 34 percent Democrat, 33 percent Republican and 30 percent independent. Kimmel achieves this level of parity by not alienating anybody — including Trump supporters.
So when he heard some griping from the Republican presidential candidate’s backers, Kimmel did not explain his wisecrack imbalance by saying Trump is outrageous and therefore a more deserving target. Instead, he jabbed Clinton for not producing enough joke-writing fodder.
It was a reassuring message to Trump supporters: Don’t worry, guys. The problem isn’t your candidate.
While Kimmel does make fun of Trump more often than Clinton, he steers clear of the biting commentary embraced by some of his late-night counterparts, including Stephen Colbert, Samantha Bee, Seth Meyers and Larry Wilmore. As I wrote in May, Kimmel and NBC’s Jimmy Fallon — whose audience is only slightly more liberal — generally stick to surface-level jokes that portray Trump as daffy but not dangerous.
Calling Clinton “boring” was also a pretty safe, inoffensive joke for the Democrats in Kimmel’s audience. After all, the former secretary of state attached the word to herself when she appeared on Kimmel’s show last month.
“Jimmy, my emails are so boring,” Clinton said. “And I’m embarrassed about that. They’re so boring.”
Plus, Kimmel went on to cite Clinton’s focus on things like the economy — “yawn” — as an example of what makes her “boring,” allowing the Democratic candidate’s backers to think “boring” is actually code for “substantive” and not really an insult.
Once again, Kimmel offered something for everyone.