Kimmel announced his booking coup last night, saying the GOP front-runner had been scheduled to be his guest on Wednesday’s edition of ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live. CNN on Tuesday will host the first GOP debate since Trump announced his controversial plan to bar Muslims from entering the country until Washington can “figure out what the hell is going on” in the wake of the San Bernardino shooting death of 14 by ISIS sympathizers. Trump’s plan has been blasted by other GOP White House hopefuls who will share the stage that night and by new House Speaker Paul Ryan.
Trump, who has a commanding lead in the most recent polls of likely Republican voters (35%), has responded by threatening to leave the GOP and run as an independent. You know that scene in Stanley Donen’s 1960s movie Charade where Cary Grant and Walter Matthau both have their guns drawn and only one can win the point? It’s kind of like that.
In October, Trump canceled on a scheduled JKL appearance the night before he was supposed to appear during the show’s important weeklong road trip to Brooklyn. Kimmel had fun with Trump that night anyway:
“Donald Trump was supposed to be here tonight,” Kimmel said at the top of that show. “And now he’s glad he didn’t come, I guess,” he smiled, as his audience booed Trump in absentia. “His people called last night and canceled on us. They were cryptic. They said he has a ‘major political commitment,’ but he did want me to relay the message to you that had he been here, he would have been great. … I’m dying to find out what this major political commitment was. Usually it means he had to go on CNN and call someone an idiot or something.
“Why did he cancel?” Kimmel continued, turning to his EP, who was just off stage. “We told them there were cameras here, right? Are Tuesday nights the night he volunteers down at the orphanage?”
Earlier this week, we had our money on Kimmel not expecting Trump to rebook that appearance, based on two days’ worth of JKL Trump segments. In one, the late-night host sent a crew out to that window-on-America, Hollywood Boulevard, to ask people to complete the sentence “Donald Trump is the worst thing to happen to [fill in the nlank].” Kimmel’s gag played off of Trump’s having assured ABC’s Barbara Walters he’s the worst thing that ever happened to ISIS, after announcing his Muslim-ban plan.
In another episode, Kimmel made snow on Hollywood Boulevard so he could demonstrate his new Donald Trump snowblower, in which the reality TV-star-turned White House hopeful vomited snow out of his mouth: