I had an interesting day today.
That’s how Jimmy Kimmel opened Thursday night’s edition of his late-night show Jimmy Kimmel Live!
And indeed he did.
Earlier in the day, Roy Moore, the Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in the state of Alabama, got into a little Twitter tiff with the comedian, writing, “@jimmykimmel if you want to mock our Christian values, come down here to Alabama and do it man to man,” before linking to an “exclusive” interview on the self-described “platform for the alt-right,” Breitbart News, with Moore’s senior adviser, Drew Messer.
Kimmel responded, “Sounds great Roy — let me know when you get some Christian values and I’ll be there!”
Cue Moore: “Despite D.C. and Hollywood Elites’ bigotry towards southerners, Jimmy, we’ll save you a seat on the front pew.” And then finally Kimmel: “OK Roy, but I’m leaving my daughters at home! P.S.—wear that cute little leather vest.” (Kimmel FTW, again.)
In the aforementioned interview with “Trump Pravda,” Messer criticized Kimmel for sending his Live! correspondent “Jake Byrd” (comedian Tony Barbieri) down to a Moore campaign rally at the Magnolia Springs Baptist Church in Theodore, Alabama. “Byrd” heckled Moore, yelling during his speech, “Does that look like the face of someone who hits on teenage girls?”
Three women have come forward to accuse Moore, then a district attorney, of sexual assault—including one who claimed the alleged incident happened when she was just 14 years old, and another woman who claimed she was attacked by Moore at 16. As many as eight women have come forward to accuse Moore of various degrees of sexual predation, and if that weren’t enough, as an assistant district attorney, Moore was even reportedly banned from the Gadsden Mall in Gadsden, Alabama, in the 1980s for being creepy toward underage girls there, according to local police and several independent witnesses.
“Jimmy Kimmel and the ‘Hollywood elite’ cross the line when they invade our Churches under a disguise and attempt to make a mockery of our worship services,” Messer told Breitbart, apparently describing a nighttime campaign rally for Moore as a “worship service.”
He added: “If Kimmel wants to mock our Christian values, he should come down here and do it man to man instead of hiding behind a camera in Hollywood.”
Back on Live! Thursday, Kimmel addressed the online fracas.
“What happened was, they had a rally for Roy Moore at a church in Theodore, Alabama, last night. Roy is running against somehow who, as far as I know, hasn’t been accused of child-molesting—a guy named Doug Jones—and the election’s on Dec. 12. Somehow, according to these new polls they released this week, Roy Moore leads Doug Jones by five or six points, which doesn’t say a lot for Doug, even though Roy Moore was reportedly so creepy around young girls he was banned from the mall in Gadsden, Alabama,” said Kimmel.
Then, Kimmel addressed the church stunt: “Apparently the [Byrd] commotion touched a nerve, because today, Roy Moore lashed out at me. He wrote, “.@jimmykimmel If you want to mock our Christian values, come down here to Alabama and do it man to man.” And I responded, and he responded back, and I responded again. It’s all on Twitter. But the bottom line is this: I accept the invitation. I will come down there.”
Kimmel’s terms, however, were a little unusual (for anyone not named Roy Moore).
“What I’m gonna do is, and I think you’re actually going to like this, Roy, I’m going to come down to Gadsden, Alabama, with a team of high school cheerleaders. We’ll meet you at the mall. Don’t worry, I can get ya in,” joked Kimmel. “When the girls and I show up, if you can control yourself and behave—if you can somehow manage to keep little Roy in your little cowboy pants when those nubile young cheerleaders come bounding in—you and I will sit down at the food court, we’ll have a little Panda Express, and we’ll talk a little bit about ‘Christian values.’ Because, and I don’t know if it doesn’t fit your stereotype, but I happen to be a Christian, too. I made my first Holy Communion, I was confirmed, I pray, I support my church, one of my closest friends is a priest, I baptize my children. Christian is actually my middle name. I know that’s shocking, but it’s true.”
It is, in fact, true: Kimmel’s middle name is “Christian.” And Kimmel, who grew up in Las Vegas, Nevada, also served as an altar boy in his youth.
Kimmel continued: “So if you’re open to it, when we sit down I will share with you what I learned at my church: Forcing yourself on underage girls is a no-no. Some even consider it to be a sin. Not that you did that, of course. Allegedly. But when you commit a sin at our church, we’re encouraged to confess and ask for forgiveness for the sin—not to call the women you allegedly victimized liars, and damage them even more to confess. But maybe your church is different, I don’t know. Let’s figure it out together. I would be happy to talk it through. I would gladly sit down to interview you about it.”
“Or maybe, when you say come down to Alabama and we’ll do it man to man, maybe that means you’re challenging me to a fight (which is kind of what it sounds like). And if you are, I accept, by the way. I accept that invitation. There is no one I would love to fight more than you. I will put my Christian values aside just for you, and for that fight. So, if you are challenging me to a fight, here’s what we’ll do: Let’s find a place to do it, I’ll wear a Girl Scout uniform so you can have something to get excited about, and the winner—whoever wins the fight—will give all the money we charge for the tickets to charity. My charity will be the women who came forward to say you molested them. All right, tough guy with your little pistol?”
The late-night host—who, by the way, has a reputation for being one of the most decent men in Hollywood—ended his lengthy Moore monologue with a plea to the people of Alabama:
“Not everyone in Alabama supports this monster… We love Alabama. We love Alabama so much, we sent Reese Witherspoon to make a movie about you. We just don’t like alleged child molesters, and we hope you can see your way clear to not electing one to the Senate of the United States of America. That’s all. That seems reasonable, right? And by the way, I understand if you’re a Republican and you don’t want to vote for a Democrat. Just don’t vote, then. You’ll feel better about yourself.”