Jimmy Kimmel: The Boy Who Cried Meme

To believe the Kanye Twitter feud, or not to believe the Kanye Twitter feud? What happens when a comedian starts to lose credibility.

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The internet basically exploded when megalomaniac (but borderline musical and business genius) Kanye West began spewing rage-filled Tweets about Jimmy Kimmel after the comedian recreated West’s recent BBC One interview with children.

But is the feud real?

Media outlets are reposting West’s caps-lock-only rants, ranging from reasonable (albeit hyperbolic) criticism ….

to down and out nasty jabs (most of which we can’t even include) …

… alongside the disclaimer that we have no idea whether the social media sparring is true or “a wild parody.”

A month ago, most people would have immediately taken the social media sparring at face value. Kanye is famous for his Twitter tirades. He hates Matt Lauer and tweeted more than 80 times between a Wednesday night and Thursday morning about his plans to start a clothing company called DONDA. He also has a big ego.

But now people are thinking before they laugh—thanks to Kimmel. That’s because, two weeks ago, the comedian engineered one of the biggest web hoaxes in recent memory:  he released a video of a twerking session that went horribly wrong under a decoy account. Perceived as a genuine nugget of viral gold, it accumulated 9 million views in less than a week and was widely covered. Then, with a gotcha smile, Kimmel revealed that he fooled us all.

And it made people mad. As Slate‘s Daniel Engber put it: “Kimmel’s prank is not a biting satire, nor is it a mirror to our stupid culture. It’s a hostile, self-promoting act—a covert ad for Jimmy Kimmel Live—rendered as ironic acid that corrodes our sense of wonder.”

In other words, he made his audience the butt of the joke—the opposite of his previous pranking successes, like the video of kids’ reactions after parents had lied about eating all of their Halloween candy, that let his viewing audience in from the get-go. We were laughing with Kimmel; he wasn’t laughing at us. We believed it was real, and it was. And the video has 42 million views and counting.

Now, Kimmel himself—embroiled in what could have been a purely amusing back-and-forth—has to assure fans he’s not kidding. And even then, they’re not all convinced:

Of course, given the nature of this particular feud (Kanye is still seething), we’re inclined to believe him. But if more and more fans do not, Kimmel’s overall brand could take a hit. Even though comedians have license to toy with their audience, says Nick Nanton, CEO of The Dicks + Nanton Celebrity Branding Agency, “he’s walking a fine line. Not many people will hang around if they feel like they’re the butt of the joke.”

21 comments
kbird
kbird

Kimmel is a smug d-bag. There's a reason he's in third place.

MicheMMM
MicheMMM

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leo9Hawk
leo9Hawk

This logic makes no sense. Comedians have no credibility, necessarily - we stop tuning in if they stop entertaining us, not if they stop telling the truth that they have promised to tell us! 

Moonbeamzz
Moonbeamzz

Kanye is pizzed. What else is new? *yawn*

mrbomb13
mrbomb13

How, exactly, does this qualify as news? 

Honestly, who cares about either of those two over-paid fatheads?

joecoolaug
joecoolaug

Oh my gosh. People take things too personally. Are we still crying over that twerking prank? I thought what Kimmel did with it was hilarious and ingenious. If anything we should thank him for making us more aware of our tendency to believe whatever the internet and media feed us without question or investigation of real evidence.

Omagus
Omagus

I have no idea if this feud is real or manufactured. But it's utterly foolish to use the twerking video as evidence that Kimmel is trying to fool people here too. Kimmel made the YouTube video and uploaded it. He didn't attache his name to it, he didn't promote it, he said absolutely nothing about it until the reveal. And a lot of people--myself included--were fooled by it. When Kimmel showed the video to be a prank, I did what most normal people do: I laughed. It was a good joke. People (especially the media) angry at Kimmel for that takes themselves WAY too seriously and that anger should be self-directed.

Lala512
Lala512

I normally don't comment on celebrity news, but I'm disappointed with Time magazine for their take on this article... Anyone who uses youtube as a source of information is just as silly as anyone who takes wikipedia at face value for their source of academic information. Yes, the joke would be on you if you thought everything on youtube was real, get over it. Kimmel's sketch was funny and he didn't even need the kids for Kanye West to make an ass of himself. AND I definitely have permanently moved Kanye West into the category of people that I don't want to hear anything else about. Fame is his double-edged sword and I find it sickening that no one in his life has made him aware of that. He's better off without it...

ThomasEReed
ThomasEReed

Is it a surprise that Kimmel is doing stupid stunts? Since he started on ABC, he acted like a fanboy of the early David Letterman. He believes that any way he can grab attention is good. His show is basically a time-killer, and his interviews are standard boilerplate showbiz hype.

JosephCWren
JosephCWren

Journalists we're shown to be the non source checking cretins they are and Kimmel's the bad guy??   LMAO

NamecNassianer
NamecNassianer

Really don't care about either of these two d o r k s

Discursions
Discursions

I had to laugh out loud at the upset Slate writer.  My god, if you're that naive that youtube twerking videos nurture your sense of wonder, you need to be constantly pranked.  But the serious problem with Time's analysis is that it misunderstands the whole point of satire, which is not to make the audience feel smug as it looks down its nose at others (this is, of course, what Time prefers, and why the media love Jon Stewart), but to make the audience itself squirm.  The self-congratulatory ego-feeding that Time assumes is the aim of comedy is really a pathetic, neutered version of real comedy.

jackhammer
jackhammer

"Borderline genius"??? This guy has been an idiot since he broke into the music scene.  He owes most of his "success" to ridiculous behavior and rants in front of cameras.   Someone should advise his stupid ass that it is just plain dumb to make a big issue with a comedian - particularly one who has a nightly venue. 

irishbearaz
irishbearaz

Is this Time complaining they weren't in on whatever joke they think they missed? Because if it is, blame their lack of intelligence, not Jimmy Kimmel, who sees people in this country too willing to be fooled by nonsense and targets them. If the rest of us can laugh, why can't the press, who seems hellbent on tar and feathers towards someone who knows how to exploit an American weakness?

inqusitiontime
inqusitiontime

9 million got spoofed, are people really that easy to fool?  I'm sure Kanye is pissed, rappers hate white guys making fun of their stuff, just ask Weird Al Yankovic.  Stick a fork in Kimmel, he's done.

liying
liying

sometimes joke also reflect the reality.just changed away ,can you accept ,all can see

DeweySayenoff
DeweySayenoff

" Not many people will hang around if they feel like they’re the butt of the joke."

Yeah, but the rapper doesn't seem to be the brightest bulb on the Christmas tree...   He might not realize it's a joke, being the butt of it or not.

helbentonit
helbentonit

I never watch anything Kardashian, never have except a brief look one night at a friends house of their 'reality show'.  All I can say is Kim can have all of her dough and this guy, Kanye, my middle class life looks like a million.

msagnew2004
msagnew2004

@jackhammerYou obviously don't know much about Kanye besides the "...ridiculous behavior and rants...". Do you even know about his music? Or what he was doing before he began his rap career? I doubt it. I'll agree that he is not a borderline genius; he IS a musical genius. The contributions he has made to music is remarkable. He has produced hits that you would have no idea he was apart of, big hits. His ear for music is like no other. I remember reading something about him sitting in his room listening to classical music to get inspiration. Yes he is a bit outspoken, but he is far from stupid and dumb. You probably wouldn't know all this. You probably don't even listen to that hippity hop non sense.