Earlier this week, Jimmy Kimmel apologized for appearing in blackface years ago, and his former The Man Show co-star Adam Carolla has spoken out in support of his friend. At the same time Kimmel issued his apology, Carolla said on his podcast The Adam Carolla Show that Kimmel was in the top three of his list of “all-time of decent people” he has ever met in his life.
“He is the most decent person you’ve ever met. He is the most generous person you’ve ever met,” said Carolla. “If everyone was like Jimmy Kimmel, we’d be living in a (expletive) utopia.”
The Man Show aired on Comedy Central from 1999 to 2004, and during the show’s run Kimmel appeared in blackface as former NBA star Karl Malone. He also impersonated other black celebrities on The Man Show and on radio, and Kimmel said in his apology that he has been “reluctant to address” the situation for a long time.
“I have long been reluctant to address this, as I knew doing so would be celebrated as a victory by those who equate apologies with weakness and cheer for leaders who use prejudice to divide us. That delay was a mistake,” Kimmel wrote in his statement.
Kimmel explained that he never considered that some would possibly see his impersonations as anything other than an “imitation of a fellow human being.” The talk show host said that his impression of Malone was one that had no more to do with the basketball player’s skin color than it did his “bulging muscles and bald head.”
When Carolla noticed that #CancelKimmel and “The Man Show” was trending on Twitter, he explained that comedians challenge social conventions and “push things.” Carolla said that it makes sense to shine the spotlight on politicians who make policy, as well as coaches, moms, and dads.
However, when it comes to comedians, Carolla doesn’t believe that they require a “jewelers’ loupe and the spotlight” when it comes to the things they say and do on stage and screen. Carolla explained that there is a difference between doing an impression of a specific black celebrity and wearing blackface in general.
“I was saying this years ago and I meant it. Blackface is something. Doing Karl Malone is something else or doing Oprah is something else. … That is not blackface,” Carolla said.
ABC’s late-night host Jimmy Kimmel has issued an apology for performing in blackface nearly two decades ago while appearing on Comedy Central’s The Man Show in which he impersonated black NBA star Karl Malone. https://t.co/QXyoAL2gcE
— Breitbart News (@BreitbartNews) June 23, 2020
The I’m Your Emotional Support Animal author says that what people did or said years ago that is considered offensive in 2020 shouldn’t cause them to be canceled. Carolla believes that we should consider the context when people did or said something long ago compared to if they do something unacceptable now.
Adam Carolla gave the example of corporal punishment in schools, and said that anyone over 45 will tell you they got paddled or swatted by a teacher.
“Paddling a kid sounds pretty outrageous in 2020 and nobody would stand for it. … But the people who engaged in it at the time when it was common practice or had a context, we don’t need to build a time machine so we can cancel-culture them,” said Carolla.