Jimmy Kimmel worked without a net at the American Music Awards. The late-night comic ad-libbed most of his way through hosting Sunday’s live three-hour show because of the strike by Hollywood writers.
The ABC telecast’s basic script was written before the strike, entering its third week Monday, but there were no writers offstage to provide Kimmel with his trademark quips about current events.
“This is going to be a little bit loose tonight because I’m a member of the Writers Guild and we’re on strike,” Kimmel said in his opening remarks.
“It may not look like it, but I’m striking right now in my heart. I wasn’t allowed to write any jokes for tonight. That’s good for those of you sitting in the front row, but bad for you who have to sit through made-up crap.”
Instead of an opening monologue, Kimmel resorted to interacting with the celebrity-laden audience. He went up to Rascal Flatts, Kellie Pickler and Akon, asking if they knew how to do the Soulja Boy dance.
Kimmel convinced Jordin Sparks and Pickler to join him on stage as he donned a white hooded sweat jacket and off-kilter white baseball cap. As they executed some awkward steps, Soulja Boy bailed them out and sang.
“You see, we don’t need writers,” Kimmel said.
The late-night talk show host tossed in a few one-liners, including this one: “I think I smell Snoop Dogg or is that the smoke machine?”
In another bit, Kid Rock spoofed his fistfight with rocker Tommy Lee at September’s MTV Video Music Awards, telling Kimmel, “You’re in my seat,” before pretending to punch the host in the face.
Later, Kimmel introduced Snoop Dogg as “one of America’s most beloved and arrested hip-hop stars.” The comic closed the show by thanking “Promises rehab facility for letting so many of our stars out for tonight’s program.”