PASADENA, Calif. – Jimmy Kimmel said a lot changed for him when his son Billy was born with a heart condition, causing him to take a break from his show.
Following Billy’s health scare, Kimmel delivered an emotional monologue on his show in favor of the Affordable Care Act.
“It definitely has changed my approach in general, not only to the show, but how I conduct myself,” he said Monday at the Television Critics Association’s Winter Press Tour of Billy’s condition. “I happened into a situation at a very specific time in American history in which I was able to say something that hopefully at least made people pay attention if not anything else. It hopefully got them to pick up their telephones and tell their leaders what they expect.”
He continued, “People give me credit for saving Obamacare and I reject that… I think if anything it’s such a no-brainer that Americans react. You see a guy you think you know, and his baby has had a serious health issue and… I don’t think it’s particularly remarkable that Americans reacted that way because I think whatever side we’re on we agree on that – that we have to help children.”
Kimmel’s son needed two heart surgeries in recent months. During his son’s second surgery, Jennifer Lawrence filled in for him and critics praised her run as a late-night host. He joked that he is glad Lawrence isn’t vying for his job.
“Jennifer Lawrence shows up and is fantastic, and you are like ‘oh thank God she is an A-list movie star’…”
Kimmel, 50, who is hosting the Oscars in March, got political at the 2017 Academy Awards, but says he doesn’t have any plans to discuss healthcare this year during Hollywood’s big night.
“I don’t intend to use the Oscars as a platform for healthcare, not that I don’t think that it’s something important – it’s very important to me – I think ultimately you have to remember why you’re there,” he said. “If it gets too heavy I think you are taking away from [the awards].
“I always will be focused on children’s healthcare and healthcare issues in general, but unless something major happens… I don’t necessarily see tackling that subject on the show.”
These days, Billy is doing much better, Kimmel said.
“He’s doing great. He’s very smiley. And really we got very lucky because he’s a very good baby, and he’s very healthy, and the operation went very well.”