Looks like another late night talk show host is in hot water for doing racist comedy bits — that aren’t funny.
Jimmy Kimmel has apologized after receiving backlash for using the N-word while impersonating Snoop Dogg. Apparently, it was for a sketch while he was an on-air personality for the Kevin & Bean show on Los Angeles’ KROQ-FM.
The comedian imitated Snoop for an original song on a 1996 Christmas comedy album entitled, A Family Christmas In Your Ass. On the track, Kimmel raps, “Me and my n-gga down in LBC, we’ll smoke that motherf-cking Christmas tree.”
In a January 2013 podcast, Kimmel recalled recording the song, saying “This is when Snoop Dogg first came out, hit the scene, and I used to imitate him by only saying, ‘You know what I’m saying?'”
“Jimmy, do you only do Back people?” someone asks.
“I prefer them, yes,” Kimmel responds jokingly or non-jokingly — who knows.
Just when you thought he knew better, the previous co-host of Comedy Central’s The Man Show, which ran for six seasons ending in 2004, performed a recurring skit that included Kimmel dressed in blackface as then-NBA star Karl Malone.
Kimmel apologized Tuesday in a statement to Variety, saying: “I have long been reluctant to address this, as I knew doing so would be celebrated as a victory by those who equate apologies with weakness and cheer for leaders who use prejudice to divide us. That delay was a mistake. There is nothing more important to me than your respect, and I apologize to those who were genuinely hurt or offended by the makeup I wore or the words I spoke.”
“On KROQ radio in the mid-90s, I did a recurring impression of the NBA player Karl Malone. In the late 90s, I continued impersonating Malone on TV. We hired makeup artists to make me look as much like Karl Malone as possible. I never considered that this might be seen as anything other than an imitation of a fellow human being, one that had no more to do with Karl’s skin color than it did his bulging muscles and bald head,” Kimmel explained in his statement.
“I’ve done dozens of impressions of famous people, including Snoop Dogg, Oprah, Eminem, Dick Vitale, Rosie, and many others. In each case, I thought of them as impersonations of celebrities and nothing more,” he continued. “Looking back, many of these sketches are embarrassing, and it is frustrating that these thoughtless moments have become a weapon used by some to diminish my criticisms of social and other injustices.”
Kimmel concluded that he’s “evolved and matured over the last twenty-plus years, and I hope that is evident to anyone who watches my show. I know that this will not be the last I hear of this and that it will be used again to try to quiet me. I love this country too much to allow that. I won’t be bullied into silence by those who feign outrage to advance their oppressive and genuinely racist agendas.”
Last Thursday, Kimmel announced he will be taking the summer off, returning in September. It’s unclear whether the recordings will impact ABC’s decision to have Kimmel host the Emmy Awards on September 20.