THE SIMMONS/KIMMEL DIVIDE: I’ve written before about the odd dichotomy that has Bill Simmons, one of the more brilliant sportwriters currently working and seemingly no less than the voice of an entire generation of sports-pop-culture-and-stripper-loving young men, writing for “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” the show that has all but disappeared off the pop-culture radar, if it was ever there in the first place. With Kimmel making a rare showing in the news today, this dynamic was on display in full force.
Simmons and some other writers for the show are in Houston for the Super Bowl, and during Media Day yesterday they pulled a stunt in which Kimmel regular “Cousin Sal” showed up in front of a mass of reporters costumed as Carolina Panthers kicker John Kasay, and attempted to fool media members into reporting his fake quotes. They managed to fool a couple of media outlets, until Kasay himself caught on to the deception, another reporter got into a scuffle with Sal, and all of Team Kimmel was escorted out of the stadium.
Simmons told his version of the story on his running blog today, and I laughed out loud reading it, especially the part in which Simmons accidentally ordered a Panthers home jersey for “Kasay” to wear, when the rest of the team was wearing road jerseys. “This is good!,” I thought, and figured I’d watch Kimmel’s show that night to see the finished product.
So I watched the bit, and… nothing. Not that I’ve ever laughed at anything on Kimmel’s show (at least unless it involved Andy Milonakis), but the piece was absolutely, 100% laugh-free- mostly because “Cousin Sal” isn’t funny, but also because the show left out almost the all the funny parts from Simmons’ account, and even threw in a cringe-inducing interview of “Kasay” by ESPN’s Trey Wingo, who really should know better.
I’ve got a feeling this has happened quite a bit- Simmons comes up with clever ideas, and all the “funny” gets filtered out in favor of the unfunny Kimmel sensibility. How long before those inevitable “Kimmel Gets Kanceled” headlines?

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