Pete Buttigieg took over for Jimmy Kimmel on Thursday night as guest host of Jimmy Kimmel Live!. Kimmel was off taping Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, we were informed, a show that may take on a new urgency as economic collapse sets in and hollows out civilization as we know it. While Kimmel was doing what may turn out to be some perverted version of the Lord’s work, Buttigieg was as stiff as his starched collar, cracking jokes about himself and his now-abandoned presidential campaign. Incidentally, this gig makes Buttigieg the first gay man to win a democratic primary to host a late-night talk show. Another notch on his infinity belt.
While you wonder if there’s anything this man can’t do, allow me to point you to this commercial break interstitial of him rocking out on keyboard while playing with the Kimmel house band:
“It’s very ‘I’m playing the keyboard!,’” said my editor Clover Hope, who is wise and good at assessments.
Buttigieg’s monologue was, y’know... what you’d expect. Imagine the most charismatic drywall possible? My favorite joke turned the Buttigieg campaign’s frequently articulated and self-congratulatory projections of Pete’s capacity for inspiring people (particularly young queer people) on its ear: “I mean, right now, somewhere out there in America there could be a young kid thinking, ‘One day I too can run for president while dressed like the manager of a CarMax.’” Funny because it’s true! He also discussed Sarah Palin’s turn on The Masked Singer (“That’s gonna be me in three months, isn’t it?”) and unloading Pete for President merch on the Kimmel staff.
It was really... not bad. Certainly, it was somewhat comforting to hear someone who knows what he’s talking about urge people to call their senators and representatives to push through the bill that would provide free coronavirus testing, emergency paid leave, and unemployment insurance. Better than Trump’s take, at any rate.
Less good in his monologue was a skit in which the out-of-work former mayor/presidential hopeful went from store to store on Hollywood Boulevard, attempting to apply for jobs. He finally interviewed at Wetzel’s Pretzels, where he showed off his cluelessness regarding what such a service job would entail. Get it? Because he’s an elitist??? LOL!!! This guy is brutal!
He also politely winced through a joke that guest Patrick Stewart told about being a socialist amongst the Hollywood elite.
At the end of the show, Buttigieg told the camera (and audience of mostly Kimmel staffers and his husband, Chasten): “Well, thank you for letting me share a great evening with you. I think we all know that America is in for some tough times and to get through it we’re going to need unity, we’re going to need strength, we’re gonna need compassion and we are going to need our sense of humor more than ever. So I’m so honored to be able to share that with you.” May the incomparable sense of humor of Pete Buttigieg be our light in these dark times.