Jimmy Kimmel returned to his late-night TV show Monday a week after an emotional monologue about his newborn son’s heart condition and surgery. Last week he proclaimed to his “Jimmy Kimmel Live” audience, through tears, that all children in this country deserve affordable healthcare. Kimmel said then that he hoped Republicans might reconsider a vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act, a.k.a. Obamacare.
Kimmel jumped back into the role of comedic host Monday night, but not without first addressing his son’s condition and following up on his previous comments.
“One week ago tonight, I made an emotional speech that was seen by millions,” he said. “As a result of my powerful words on that night, Republicans in Congress had second thoughts about repeal and replace. They realized that what is right is right, and I saved health insurance in the United States of America!”
Pause as Kimmel feigned listening to a voice in his earpiece.
“Oh, I didn’t? I didn’t save it? They voted against it anyway? I really need to pay more attention to the news,” he joked.
Kimmel thanked viewers for their support and said his son Billy, who was born April 21, is doing well.
He then he went on to joke about the decidedly unsupportive reactions his monologue received from some last week. “I know this is going to shock you. There were also some not-so-nice things that people said online about me, including members of the media,” said Kimmel.
The comedian then showed a New York Post headline reading, “Jimmy Kimmel’s obscene lies about kids and medical care,” as well as a Washington Times story headlined, “Shut up, Jimmy Kimmel, you elitist creep.”
“I can’t even count the number of times I’ve been called an out-of-touch Hollywood elitist creep this week. Which, I have to say, I kind of appreciate because when I was a kid, we had to drink powdered milk because we couldn’t afford the liquid,” said Kimmel. “My dream was to become an out-of-touch Hollywood elitist, and I guess it came true.”
He then jokingly acknowledged that his comments suggesting that all children are entitled to healthcare were “offensive, and I hope you can find it in your heart to forgive me.”
“So now the healthcare bill moves from the House to the Senate, where hopefully some kind of common sense will prevail,” he said.
Republican Sen. Sen Bill Cassidy of Louisiana also appeared on Monday’s show via satellite. Cassidy, a physician, told CNN last week that he would only support a healthcare bill that passed “the Jimmy Kimmel test.” He suggested that “a child born with congenital heart disease be able to get everything she or he would need in that first year of life.”
Kimmel said to Cassidy, “Thank you for naming a test after me. I always figured if I ever got a test named after me, it would be for an embarrassing sexually transmitted disease.”
He continued, “But since I’m Jimmy Kimmel, I would like to make a suggestion as to what the Jimmy Kimmel test should be. I’ll keep it simple … it should be, ‘No family should be denied medical care, emergency or otherwise, because they can’t afford it.’ Can that be the Jimmy Kimmel test?”
“Hey, man, you’re on the right track,” Cassidy replied. “… Now, we’ve got to be able to pay for it. And that’s the challenge.”