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Why the First Month of ‘Jimmy Kimmel Live’ was Amazing [Opinion]

Anyone who stays up to watch ‘Jimmy Kimmel Live’ witnesses a well oiled machine.  Kimmel tells a few jokes, has a couple sketches, interviews a couple ‘A-listers,’ introduces a popular musical act, and calls it a night.  It is the kind of show one would expect of someone with nearly a decade of experience.

That wasn’t always the case.

In January, 2003 Jimmy Kimmel had achieved a modest level of success with ‘Win Ben Stein’s Money’ and ‘The Man Show.’  He was better known in Los Angeles for his work in radio on the world famous KROQ.

At that time ABC was looking to replace ‘Politically Incorrect’ with Bill Maher with a more traditional late night talk show.  After courting David Letterman, Letterman decided to stay with CBS.  Trying to reach younger viewers, ABC executives eventually settled on Kimmel.

At first it looked like Kimmel was trying to reinvent the wheel.  He didn’t perform an opening monologue, had a high school buddy as his house band leader, prominently featured his family members, had an open bar for his studio audience, and featured a different guest co-host each week.

George Clooney was a guest on the first show, but things quickly went downhill after that.  Seven of the first eleven shows were guestless.  Less than a month into the show’s run, Adrienne Barbeau was the lead guest.  That would have been great…..if it were 1981 and not 2003!!!

As bleak as the first month may have seemed, here’s why it was awesome.

1.  Snoop Dogg was an amazing first guest co-host

2.  Most of  the studio audience was drunk

3.  A drunk Adam Carolla deep fried a gold watch

4.  Referring to some of the guests as ‘Z listers’ would be kind

5.  America was watching a smart aleck learn how to be a talk show host.

This YouTube clip is from February, 26th 2003, exactly one month into the show.  Where else could you see Don King, Vince Vaughan, and fake Russian lesbians t.a.T.u. in the same room???

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