Jimmy Kimmel has come a long way since his beginnings on radio and Comedy Central in the ’90s: 2012 proved to be a banner year for the latenight talkshow host.

“Hosting the Emmys and speaking at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner were big deals and very exciting,” Kimmel tells Variety. “When you host a talkshow, you meet big celebs almost every night and become somewhat jaded. But meeting the president and first lady, that was special.”

With his latenight yakker pulling solid ratings, ABC has displayed notable confidence in “Jimmy Kimmel Live!,” moving it up to the 11:30 p.m. spot in direct competition with other vet latenight hosts.

Still, Kimmel says he didn’t intend to get into the latenight field (even though he admits to idolizing David Letterman the way tweens do Justin Bieber). “I was in the right spot at the right time, and somehow we managed to push this giant rock up the hill,” Kimmel says.

Now an established star, Kimmel finds joy in discovering young talent online: “I’ve hired a few people just from seeing their videos on the internet. I love seeing people’s work online. That wasn’t possible 10 years ago.”