The former Olympian has a complicated relationship with the men who make jokes on a nightly basis, as quickly became clear during her appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live! Tuesday night.
“I am not a spokesperson for the trans community. I’m only really a spokesperson for my journey and then take my platform, which I have, and see if I can make a difference in the world,” Jenner told Jimmy Kimmel. As a “person of faith,” she said she had to look back on her life and say, “Why did God do this to me?”
“Yeah, why did God do this to you?” Kimmel said, attempting to make a joke. But Jenner pushed past it.
“Why has gender and my identity been an issue in my life since I was that big?” she asked herself. “I don’t understand it. And am I doing a good job with it? And I just got to the point where fortunately I had raised ten wonderful children. Kris and I, we had gone our separate directions, not because of gender issues but because of other things. And there I was back in Malibu all by myself, and so I slowly went through, told all my children, because it had been just hammered all over the media.”
“In fact, guys like you,” Jenner added to Kimmel, “making some jokes…”
“We didn’t know what was happening, we thought you were just vain,” Kimmel protested. “We didn’t know what was going on. I’m sorry about that, by the way.”
“Now he’s going to apologize, “Jenner replied. “But I accept your apology.”
Jenner reminded Kimmel of the time in 2013 — when she went by Bruce Jenner — that she appeared on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon and “gave him a real hard time” for making jokes night after night about her gender identity.
“Yeah, but he deserves it, he said some really terrible things,” Kimmel joked at his competitor’s expense. “He does that a lot, he’s very hard on people.”
When Bruce Jenner sat down with Fallon in 2013, she did go after him pretty hard for his jokes that criticized her plastic surgery. At that time, neither Fallon nor any of the other late-night hosts could have imagined that Jenner was struggling with her gender identity. “What you guys do is you end up taking the absolute worst picture of me to prove the point — I get it — and then you put it on the air and you make your jokes,” she said, as Fallon laughed nervously.
Jenner insisted that Kimmel has always been her “favorite” so she decided she would come on his show as opposed to going back on Fallon’s Tonight Show. This is despite the fact that Kimmel made jokes about Jenner’s transition from masculine athlete into “our weird Aunt Bess” in 2014.
Even after Jenner’s bombshell interview with Diane Sawyer the following year, Kimmel did not hold back, joking that she “went from being kind of a boring man to a very charming woman. I think we may have found our next Bachelorette.”