What: The latest impassioned rant against the GOP’s current healthcare initiative, from late night’s least likely activist.
Who: Jimmy Kimmel.
Why we care: Another day, another blistering-yet-still-funny-and-thus-easily-digestible screed by Jimmy Kimmel against the Graham-Cassidy healthcare bill. On Tuesday night, the late night host followed up on a plea from earlier this year to get his viewers more engaged in all matters healthcare. If viewers who prefer Kimmel in apolitical mode thought this issue was a passing fancy, however, they were wrong. In a monologue on Wednesday night’s show, Kimmel continued what has now become a public conversation with Senator Bill Cassidy, and hit back even harder.
Cassidy made the media rounds earlier this year, promising that any healthcare bill he signed would have to pass the “Jimmy Kimmel Test”–meaning it couldn’t deny any family medical care, emergency or otherwise, if they couldn’t afford it. As Kimmel pointed out on Tuesday night, the bill Cassidy co-sponsored with Senator Lindsey Graham fails that test, among several of its other shortcomings. Because Tuesday night’s Kimmel monologue went viral, Senator Cassidy was asked to defend the host’s charges on TV. When CNN’s Chris Cuomo asked him for a response to Kimmel’s charge that Cassidy was lying about the bill, Cassidy said, “I’m sorry, he does not understand.” This response did not sit well with Kimmel.
The comedian devoted significant time to listing off many of the negative aspects of Graham-Cassidy that he purportedly does not understand before going in for the killshot. “Could it be, Senator Cassidy, that the problem is I do understand, ” Kimmel says, “and that you got caught with your G-O-Penis out? Is that possible?” Ouch.
Kimmel later abandons his main target to go after another one of his critics, Fox and Friends co-host Brian Kilmeade. On Wednesday morning, Kilmeade had been quite vocal about how Kimmel should stick to comedy and stay out of politics. Kimmel hit back by describing Kilmeade’s history of attacking him on air while sucking up to him whenever their social circles overlapped, finally labeling him a “phony little creep.” Double ouch.
Before ending the show, Kimmel made sure to put the numbers of all the senators whose votes on the Graham-Cassidy bill could be swayed by constituent phone calls.
— John Aravosis (@aravosis) September 21, 2017
If viewers and critics thought Kimmel was just going to abandon this issue after getting some good publicity out of it, they thought wrong. Kimmel’s awakening on the issue may have been inspired by a personal health crisis–his infant son’s heart condition–but now he’s using his platform to try and force the same awakening on the public at large. His point: Sickness can happen to anyone. Watch the full clip from last night’s show below.