Jimmy Kimmel, Kanye West Parlay Twitter ‘Feud’ Into PR

Jimmy Kimmel, Kanye West Parlay Feud

ABC's latenight host and rap star succeed only in the 'We made you look' dept.

The fact Jimmy Kimmel and Kanye West’s Twitter “feud” actually inspired me to watch the eagerly awaited encounter on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” Wednesday night indicates what slaves we’ve become to these sort of manufactured flare-ups. And when it comes to media whoring, let’s just say despite his protestations to the contrary, West married into the very best.

Actually, both West and Kimmel should be taken at their word when they say — as each did during the telecast — that they didn’t consciously cultivate this mini-fracas as a PR stunt, in which West vented about a Kimmel skit via Twitter. “I’ve never done a publicity stunt in my life,” West said, amid a filibuster that included proclaiming himself a “creative genius” and “fearless.”

SEE ALSO: Kanye West Helps Lift Ratings for ABC’s ‘Jimmy Kimmel Live’

What both did do, however, was exploit the situation after the fact — Kimmel to draw attention to his program, and West to use his platform to engage in an extended rant about mistreatment of celebrities by the media and others, a gripe that would have more teeth if he didn’t sound so completely lampoon-able and ridiculous.

West lamented how the media try to “break [creative] people’s spirits” and “treat celebrities like zoo animals,” and then issued a thinly veiled threat to the paparazzi that outbursts like his made-for-TMZ tussles with photographers were his way of establishing boundaries.

While it’s perfectly reasonable for stars to try to establish a zone of privacy — particularly in regard to their families — it’s hard to think of a more imperfect messenger. That’s because West’s appearance embodied the very worst image possible of celebrities — someone both self-absorbed and semi-detached from most people’s reality all at once.

As for Kimmel, he helped himself not one iota by seeming so determined to kiss and make up that he sat there with a silly expression frozen on his face, essentially swallowing all the punchlines that West’s at-times-bizarre utterances were serving up. Somehow, one suspects his idol David Letterman would have knocked a couple of those hanging curveballs into the cheap seats.

Moreover, ABC News’ “Nightline” couldn’t resist piling on, devoting a shrewdly teased segment to West that was devoid of any merit or news value other than the fact it might inspire a few of Kimmel’s viewers — those who survived an interminable 10-minute commercial pod in the second half of the show, anyway — to stay up another half-hour. If there was a News Emmy category for pandering, the program’s mantel would be filled twice over.

At one point West compared himself to Muhammad Ali, while actually sounding a bit more like Frank Sinatra. “You’re going to love me or you’re going to hate me, but I’m going to be me,” he said.

Yet that would seem to neglect a third, far more attractive option: Never wanting to hear you talk about yourself — particularly with Jimmy Kimmel — ever again.

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  1. John R says:

    The general tone of the article is actually spot on – much as I dislike Kanye West, it was Kimmel who came out of this looking foolish. In the course of a week, he went from mocking KW for being his own hype man to letting KW get away with calling himself a genius. The audience were actually laughing nervously at some of the more ridiculous statements that KW was making – yet Kimmel sat there refusing to take the bait and bring this fool back down a few notches. I mean, Jimmy – surely there was an angle about KW wanting a star in Hollywood? Surely, elevating yourself from a PA to dating celebrities, leaking sex tapes and exposing your life through reality TV deserves a star these days…. ???

  2. Kendall says:

    Jimmy Kimmel is far too classy to give this pin head a platform to spout his insanity!

  3. EDB says:

    Brian Lowry, it has been far too long since I read an article as entertaining and forthcoming as this one. Excellent writing.

  4. Jill says:

    Can I please have that hour of my life back? I like Kanye’s MUSIC but he lives inside his own little world. He is not in touch with reality or anyone else but himself. Once again someone gave him the platform to prove people wrong… to show that he isn’t this ‘character’ that we see in the media. As soon as he opened his mouth though he reinforced his true self which is all ego and complete self righteousness. Stick to the music Kanye and stop talking…you have shown numerous times that decency and being humble does not exist for you.

    PS. I’m not saying I could do any better as a talk show host but I don’t claim to be a talk show host….but that is Kimmel’s job, that’s what he is supposed to do but he turtled. He looked scared….afraid to be too honest about what he was thinking and suddenly forgot how to interview.

    • EDB says:

      Kimmel seemed scared, yes, but I believe it was borne out of not wanting West to “lose it” anymore than he did. I wish West had not been allowed this platform. He is simply unworthy of such.

  5. Mike says:

    This article is beyond laughable.

    Hey, Variety… can you hire my cousin as a writer? He just finished his sophomore year in high school and needs a bit of polishing on his analytical skills. He certainly meets your standards.

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