Jimmy Kimmel previews Oscar monologue: Nothing’s ‘off limits,’ but don’t expect Taylor Swift or Aaron Rodgers jokes

Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce may have been the buzziest subject of football season, but for award season, Jimmy Kimmel isn’t so sure the celebrity couple will get a mention in his opening monologue at the Oscars on Sunday.

When asked if he plans to talk about Swift and Kelce onstage during his fourth time as host of Hollywood’s biggest night, Kimmel told CNN in an interview this week that the duo is “not off limits, but probably played out.”

It’s a careful balance, Kimmel explained, to poke fun at the celebrities gathered inside the Dolby Theatre, while not offending them.

It’s not that easy. It depends on the person because some people are more sensitive than others,” Kimmel said. “God help you, if I know you. Like, if you’ve been to my house, you’re in trouble on Oscar night.”

For instance, Matt Damon – with whom Kimmel has had a comedic feud for years – will very likely be roasted onstage.

He is not nominated for an Oscar. He was in ‘Oppenheimer.’ Everyone else was nominated except for him,” Kimmel said gleefully, in what just might be a preview to his schtick on the big night.

Kimmel also confirmed to CNN that Damon will not be in attendance on Sunday. When asked why, the host offered his version of events: “What really happened? He couldn’t get a ticket,” Kimmel quipped. “It’s one of the saddest things I’ve ever heard. He asked if he could come and they told him, ‘Sorry – nominees only.’”

Otherwise, if you don’t know Kimmel personally but have gotten on his bad side lately – well, you may actually be in safe territory.

Former congressman George Santos, who recently filed a lawsuit against Kimmel for allegedly “deceiving” him into creating Cameo videos and then broadcasting them on his show, will not get any airtime devoted to him on Sunday night.

“I think it would make him so happy if he was mentioned at the Oscars and I’m not interested in making him happy,” Kimmel said.

As for Aaron Rodgers, who ignited a controversy with Kimmel after falsely suggesting the comedian would be mentioned in court documents connected to the Jeffrey Epstein case, Kimmel quipped, “Uh, I don’t know who that is.”

Jokes aside, Kimmel said he doesn’t plan to mention Rodgers during the Oscars ceremony, and the athlete is not likely to be invited onto “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” anytime soon.

“Probably not,” Kimmel responded when asked if there’s a world in which he would have Rodgers on his show as a guest. “The way I look at it,” he continued, “The next step is for Aaron Rodgers to reach out to me – not the other way around. So, I don’t see that happening. Listen, we have some major differences in the way we think.”

Kimmel on the role of politics during the Oscars

Jimmy Kimmel is seen backstage at the Academy Awards in 2023. - Al Seib/AMPAS/Getty Images
Jimmy Kimmel is seen backstage at the Academy Awards in 2023. - Al Seib/AMPAS/Getty Images

Another topic Kimmel is not planning to devote much time to on Sunday is politics. However, it all depends on the news cycle. “There might be something that pops up and I put it in at the last minute,” he explained.

That likely means no jokes about former President Donald Trump, though Kimmel has had a lot to say about the presumptive Republican presidential nominee on his late-night show in the past.

“One of the most fun parts of my job is knowing that he hates being made fun of and making fun of him,” Kimmel said about Trump. “And then, every once in a while, he reminds us that he hates it and he gets mad. So, I love that. I take some pleasure in it.”

Kimmel said that he’s prepared for how another Trump administration would impact late-night television, but he’s “more worried about the country than my monologues.”

“I just cannot believe that anyone thinks it would be a good idea to put him back in the White House,” Kimmel said.

Despite his strong opinions about Trump, Kimmel told CNN he’d like to have a conversation with him on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!”

I would absolutely have him on the show,” Kimmel said. “I do think there are a lot of questions I would like to ask him, and I would like to get actual answers. I think most of the interviews that he does don’t require those.”

Hollywood’s biggest night begins earlier this year

Kimmel has been preparing for the Academy Awards for months, but he’s a bit nervous viewers may not know to tune in early.

This year, the show is beginning an hour earlier – at 7 p.m. EST – in an effort to, perhaps, end the notoriously long ceremony on time.

“Don’t forget the Oscars starts an hour early this year. That’s the most important thing,” Kimmel said. With a laugh he added, “The show will be starting an hour early. And ending just as late as ever.”

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