Jimmy Kimmel Lands a One-of-a-Kind Late-Night Exclusive: The Trump Verdict

It probably counts as fitting that the only late-night host working on the historic night of May 30, 2024, when a former President of the United States—and serious contender to return to power—was convicted of 34 felonies in the first criminal trial of a president in history was the man most likely to get under the new felon’s orange skin.

Not to mention the only late-night host actually mentioned in the trial transcript: Jimmy Kimmel.

Did Jimmy take a victory lap on his show last night? Only like Secretariat after finishing the Triple Crown.

“It is very satisfying to see this guy finally get some comeuppance,” Kimmel said as he basically grinned his way through his monologue and an accompanying comedy bit, which consisted of over 16 minutes of pure Trump schadenfreude.

Kimmel announced the guilty verdicts to an audience almost as stoked as he was by the idea of Trump being convicted. They are fans of Jimmy Kimmel, after all, and if they have seen most any show for the past eight years they know where the host stands on the issue of the 45th President.

Kimmel, who was not a particularly political comic when he started hosting his ABC show two decades ago, has found his voice on social commentary during Trump’s years in and out of office, and has skewered him effectively enough to attract steady blowback, including an effort by Trump, while president, to get Disney, ABC’s owner, to censor Kimmel’s jokes about him

And of course, more recently, Trump was clearly stung by Kimmel’s killer comeback live on the Oscar telecast when he reacted to Trump’s social-media critique of his hosting skills by asking if Trump was “up past his jail time.”

Somehow Jimmy resisted the opportunity last night to suggest that jail time was growing ever nearer in the wake of the verdicts. But that was about all he resisted.

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Kimmel donned a judge’s robe and had his sidekick Guillermo act as the jury foreman so he could ask about counts one, two, three and get a resounding “Guilty!” fired back, until the judge linked the next 31 counts and got “Guilty! Guilty! Guilty! Guilty!” from an energetic Guillermo, who even tried an Irish accent to capture the actual foreman, a native Irishman.

Kimmel of course noted Trump was the first president ever to pile up all these convictions, which made him wonder: “How long before he starts bragging about them?”

Kimmel praised the New York jury and suggested they become the Supreme Court.

He did give some time to Trump’s meandering assault on the verdicts, the judge, the lack of voter support for him in Manhattan, and his vow that “we will win in November.”

And if not, “we’ll say we won anyway,” Kimmel added.

He noted that sentencing day, July 11, happens to be the day Aaron Burr shot Alexander Hamilton and the day El Chapo escaped prison; but Trump was not El Chapo but “Pork Chopo.”

Jimmy did show some sympathy for Eric Trump who embraced his father and leaned in close with his ear. “And Trump whispered—‘Wish this had happened to you.’ ”

Later Eric posted on social media that this might be remembered as the day Donald Trump won the 2024 election. “Or,” Kimmel said, “It will be remembered as the day a jury in New York spanked your Dad even harder than Stormy did with that Forbes magazine.”

Stormy Daniels has been a major source of friction in the Trump-Kimmel feud. Jimmy had had the adult-film actress, a figure the lead prosecutor Joshua Steinglass called “in simplest terms, the motive” in the New York case, as a guest.

Kimmel’s 2018 interview with her, when she said she signed her name in an irregular manner on a statement saying she didn’t have a sexual encounter with Trump, was what caused Kimmel to be mentioned in the court transcript.

The occasion of the verdict made for ideal timing to resurrect an old Kimmel pre-taped bit, using the character Jake Byrd (actually comedy writer Tony Barbieri) as a special “legal correspondent” on the scene outside the courthouse in New York. He has made similar memorable Kimmel performances as the Number One fan of O.J. Simpson and Michael Jackson.

As an unhinged Trump supporter “Jake” fit right in, interrupting TV interviews with other Trump supporters like one Black gentleman, who fled when Jake said Trump had done more for Blacks than Martin Luther King, and a woman who took offense at Trump comparing himself to Mother Teresa. Jake carried a sign saying “Free Father Teresa.”

The announcement of the verdicts enabled Jake to howl to the moon in agony over the injustice of it all. “He sinned for our sins! He bleeds for us!” And: “Now I know what it’s like to be a Mets fan!”

He conveyed the pain of the Trump acolytes so convincingly—or at least loudly—that he managed to be noticed in some real news reports, like one by Laura Jarrett on NBC, who took note of Jake’s wailing about this “tapestry of justice.”

When another reporter tried to interview him, he asked “What does fraud even mean?” When the woman explained the election fraud count seriously to him, Jake said, “OK, well maybe he did that.”

Did Jimmy Kimmel take full, joyous advantage of his late-night exclusive on the Trump conviction?

“Oh, it has been a long road to this conviction,” Kimmel said, expressing his feelings about this big night. Maybe, he suggested in an email message after the show, it felt like “being a lone pallbearer.”

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