John Mulaney and Andy Samberg Step in As Hosts Amid Jimmy Kimmel's Second Bout With COVID-19
By Mona Khalifeh
Chris Delmas / AFP
John Mulaney and Andy Samberg stepped in for Jimmy Kimmel Wednesday night amid his ongoing COVID-19 battle. The comedians -- both of whom were set to be guests on Wednesday's show -- guest hosted Jimmy Kimmel Live! in light of Kimmel's absence.
In their opening monologue, the pair, dressed head-to-toe in Jimmy Kimmel Live! merch, poked fun at Kimmel's double diagnosis.
"I guess we should explain why we're hosting tonight," Mulaney began. "You remember how Jimmy said he didn't have COVID but then he said he did have COVID? Well, he was right both times."
"That's right, Jimmy has contracted COVID, again, for the second time in three weeks," Samberg added. "And we're thinking they should probably change the name of the show to Jimmy Kimmel Alive."
Mulaney went on to reflect on Kimmel's life as a sick kid, and his dreams of one day host a nightly talk show.
"It's particularly sad that Jimmy's sick, 'cause he grew up as a sick kid in Brooklyn, you know? And he'd look out the window and he'd see the other kids playing stick ball, and he'd try to run out there and his momma would go, 'Jiminy Kimmel, you come inside and you take your medicine.'"
"Did you just launch into a one man show about Jimmy?" Samberg asked.
"It's just something I'm working on," Mulaney shot back.
He continued, "He would go, 'Momma, one day I'll never be sick and I'll have my own talk show,' and he'd be up in his room with a hairbrush and a bunch of dolls as the audience, and he would be like, 'And I'm gonna have my own show and I'm gonna prank my family, and I'll never be sick, and the show will gradually get more political over the years..."
Jokes aside, Samberg assured the audience that Jimmy is doing fine despite his second COVID-19 diagnosis.
"But in all seriousness, we are praying for Jimmy to get better, to the Catholic god and the Jewish god -- two gods that are notoriously receptive to suggestions," Samberg said.
Mulaney and Samberg revealed that they're not only hosting, their guest starring on the show as well.
"To make this an even bigger pressure situation, we're not only hosting, we're also two of the guests on the show," Mulaney said.
"For any of you who don't like what you're seeing right now, buckle up, 'cause it's not gonna get any better," Samberg added. Coming up is more of this, but way less fine-tuned."
And while they know they're not the long-running talk show host, they promised to do their best.
"Look, at the end of the day, we know we're not Jimmy, but we are here to do what Jimmy does best -- entertain...," Samberg said.
"I’m such a positive person, I tested positive AGAIN. I am feeling fine," Kimmel wrote on Twitter Tuesday night. "The great John @Mulaney & Andy Samberg @TheLonelyIsland have graciously agreed to host @JimmyKimmelLive for me tomorrow.
"Our daughter brought us Covid (even though we specifically asked her not to) All feeling fine, I am double vaxxed and boosted but the show must not go on,” the 54-year-old tweeted on May 2. "Apologies to @tomcruise & @iliza and thanks to Mike Birbiglia @birbigs who will be filling in for me starting tomorrow night."
Kimmel shared that he would be staying home with his wife, Molly McNearney, and their two children, Jane, 7, and 5-year-old Billy.
Slated guests for the remainder of the week include Cheryl Hines, Zac Efron, Alfonso Ribeiro, Jessica Biel, and Glen Powell. Musical guests include Gang of Youths, Parquet Courts and St. Paul and The Broken Bones.
Other late-night hosts to have battled COVID-19 in recent months include Stephen Colbert, Seth Meyers, Jimmy Fallon and James Corden. Colbert returned as host of the Late Show on Monday after also suffering a recurrence of the virus that kept him sidelined from the show for two weeks.