Back in 1992, Democratic presidential candidate Bill Clinton went on The Arsenio Hall Show to play the saxophone while wearing sunglasses. Nobody knows whatever happened to Clinton after that, but he really broke down the barriers for politicians who want to make fools of themselves on national TV. Since then we’ve had Obama slow-jamming the news with Jimmy Fallon, Elizabeth Warren clinking beer bottles with Stephen Colbert, and any number of other cringeworthy late-night moments with politicians who want to fool the public into thinking they’re relatable. And that’s not even counting SNL, which over the years has had eight (8) presidential candidates as guest hosts, including Donald Trump.
But I’m having trouble thinking of a precedent for this next item. Has a presidential candidate ever hosted a network talk show? Lauryn Overhultz, Daily Caller:
Former presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg announced he would be guest hosting “Jimmy Kimmel Live” on Thursday…
“On Thursday I’m gonna be guest hosting ‘Jimmy Kimmel Live,’” Buttigieg said. “So we’re really excited for that — lining up a great slate of guests. Sir Patrick Stewart’s coming on — we’re very excited about that… You know, the thing about coming off of a presidential campaign is you have been focused on one thing and one thing only. It’s nice to be able to zoom out and just come back at life.”
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) March 9, 2020
Finally, a late-night talk show hosted by a boring white guy!
This is progress for Jimmy Kimmel. Just a couple of years ago he got into trouble for making gay jokes during his feud with Sean Hannity, and of course, gay jokes were a staple of The Man Show. Now Kimmel is letting a gay man guest-host his show. Way to erase your long history of homophobia, Jimmy!
And while I can’t remember Buttigieg ever making me laugh intentionally, I don’t see any harm in a former small-town mayor hosting a late-night talk show as a reward for staying in the presidential race longer than Beto and Kamala. It’s not like Pete has anything better to do these days. And it’ll give the Republicans some good attack ads the next time he runs for office. If he wants to sit behind a desk and awkwardly interview celebrities, it’s better than yet another lecture about how anybody who disagrees with his pinko worldview is a bad Christian.
Just imagine his monologue:
“Thank you! Thank you, ladies and gentlemen! It’s great to be here. I’m your guest host for tonight, Pete Buttigieg. Or, as I was known in South Bend, Mayor Cracka-Ass Cracka. Do not adjust your set: I really am this white, and this short. But you can think of me as the anti-Trump… [PAUSE FOR AUDIENCE CHEERING AND HOOTING] I’m the anti-Trump, in the sense that I ran for president and then tried to become a TV star.”
His real monologue will probably be funnier than that, but not by much. After all, it’ll be the product of Jimmy Kimmel’s writers.