Jimmy Kimmel questions value of laughing at 'terrible' people
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He pokes fun at them on a nightly basis, but Jimmy KimmelJames (Jimmy) Christian KimmelJimmy Kimmel knocks Palin for dining out despite positive COVID-19 test: 'Typhoid Mary' The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden's public moment of frustration CNN's Tapper defends Doocy after outburst from Biden MORE is questioning whether it's good for Americans to laugh at the country's "terrible" issues and political leaders.

"I don't know that laughing about these terrible problems that we have, and these terrible people that we have, is good," the "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" host said in response to a question Thursday from CNN anchor Jake TapperJacob (Jake) Paul TapperPelosi says she will run for reelection in 2022 Biden frustration with Fox News breaks through surface The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden's public moment of frustration MORE about whether late-night TV provides escapism for viewers.

"I could probably spend an hour answering this question because I don't know that escapism is a good thing," Kimmel said during the news network's virtual Citizen Conference.


"Maybe it's like when you have a pressure cooker, and you let a little of the steam out, it never really blows. And maybe we need to blow," added Kimmel, who frequently slammed former President TrumpDonald TrumpFormer chairman of Wisconsin GOP party signals he will comply with Jan. 6 committee subpoena Overnight Defense & National Security — Pentagon tells Russia to stand down Billionaire GOP donor maxed out to Manchin following his Build Back Better opposition MORE on his ABC show.

"But I always feel like my job is to make jokes about what's going on — what's going on in the news, what's going on in people's lives," Kimmel, 53, said.

When he first started in comedy, Kimmel said, the then-presidents and political figures were essentially "caricatures."

"Bush was the dummy. Clinton was the sex fiend. And then we got Trump who was like both of those things: he was a dumb sex fiend."

But the Trump era altered the late-night landscape, Kimmel told Tapper.

"We reached this kind of moment where it stopped being just funny, where you started being scared and you started to really worry."

"I think that changed all of us. I think that changed every one of the late-night hosts," he said.

What Johnny Carson did as "Tonight Show" host starting in the 1960s, largely going light on politics, likely wouldn't work now, Kimmel said.

"You'd be ignoring the elephant in the room, and that's not something you can do when you host a late-night show."

"I know that I like making jokes every night. I like going through the news," Kimmel said. "I wish I didn't have to talk about some of the things that I feel I have to talk about as much as I talk about them. But I do feel like there's no reasonable choice."