Adam Carolla defended his longtime friend and former “Man Show” co-host Jimmy Kimmel, who has faced new criticism for his history of performing in blackface.
“Jimmy Kimmel is in my top three all time of decent people I’ve met in my life. He’s the most decent person you’ve ever met. He’s the most generous person you’ve ever met,” Carolla said during a taping on Tuesday for his podcast, which will be released Wednesday. “He is amongst the best people I’ve ever met, and if everyone was like Jimmy Kimmel than we’d be living in a f—ing utopia.”
Carolla also attempted to draw a distinction between Kimmel and fellow late night host Jimmy Fallon doing impressions of famous Black people and the long-since abandoned practice of white performers donning black makeup to perpetuate racial stereotypes.
“Blackface is something,” Carolla said. “Doing Karl Malone is something else. Or doing Oprah is something else… or Jimmy Fallon doing Chris Rock. That is not Blackface.” The conversation, which you can watch above, was recorded for Carolla’s podcast on Wednesday.
Earlier on Tuesday, Kimmel addressed his history of performing in blackface, calling the clips “embarrassing” in hindsight.
“There is nothing more important to me than your respect, and I apologize to those who were genuinely hurt or offended by the makeup I wore or the words I spoke,” he said.
Kimmel has faced repeated criticism over the years for a recurring bit in which he impersonated NBA player Karl Malone, using makeup to darken his skin. During the run of “The Man Show,” which concluded in 2004, Kimmel also donned blackface to impersonate Oprah Winfrey.
Kimmel’s statement also referenced his conservative critics, saying that the resurfaced clips have been repeatedly used against him in an attempt to silence his criticism of “their oppressive and genuinely racist agenda.”
“I believe that I have evolved and matured over the last twenty-plus years, and I hope that is evident to anyone who watches my show,” Kimmel said. “I know that this will not be the last I hear of this and that it will be used again to try to quiet me. I love this country too much to allow that.”
The statement comes as Kimmel is beginning a three-month break from “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” for the summer. The host clarified it had been planned for more than a year and is not related to the renewed controversy. “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” will resume airing new episodes next month featuring a roster of guest hosts filling in. Kimmel will return to the show in September.
15 Stars Whose Blackface Blunders Backfired, From Ted Danson to Jimmy Kimmel (Photos)
Don't even think of mimicking these celebrities.
The singer posed in blackface on the cover of her album "Don Juan's Reckless Daughter" in 1977, and later went on to justify it by saying, "I have experienced being a Black guy."
The "Cheers" star appeared at a New York Friars Club Roast in 1993 with then-girlfriend Whoopi Goldberg wearing blackface makeup to perform an offensive N-word-filled comedy routine.
The Oscar-winning actor came under fire in 2012 when video surfaced of a 2004 school fundraiser featuring Hanks and another man wearing blackface and stereotypical African clothing. Hanks later condemned the bit as "horribly offensive."
The actress appeared in blackface in two episodes of the 2006-13 sitcom "30 Rock," in one case dressing as a Black man while co-star Tracy Morgan, who is African American, appeared as a white woman. Series creators Tina Fey and Robert Carlock pulled the episodes from circulation in 2020.
The host of "America's Next Top Model" took heat, as did her show, for a photo shoot in 2009 in which competing models were made to look "biracial." Styling techniques included the darkening of contestants' skin.
Following the epicure's ouster from the Food Network in the wake of her infamous N-word controversy, Deen posted a photo on Twitter from her show's 2011 Halloween episode featuring her son, Bobby, dressed as Ricky Ricardo, complete with brownface makeup.
The diva took heat for a 2011 L'Officiel Paris cover with an "African Queen" theme for which the pop star's skin was darkened.
In a 2012 episode of "30 Rock," Hamm teamed with Tracy Morgan to re-create a parody version of a dated old TV show modeled on the stereotype-laden "Amos and Andy." Hamm doesn't so much blacken his face as dirty it, but the episode proved so problematic that creator Tina Fey pulled it from circulation in 2020.
The singer/dancer/actress drew criticism over a 2013 Halloween costume for which she donned dark makeup to masquerade as Uzo Aduba's "Orange Is the New Black" character Crazy Eyes.
The YouTuber known for his outrageous characters in 2014 was forced to apologize for the use of blackface in some of his videos, including a parody of talk show host Wendy Williams.
Fans of the reality star jumped all over a photo she posted to her Instagram account from a 2015 shoot, outraged that her skin appeared to be darkened. "This is a black light and neon lights people lets all calm down," Jenner responded.
Luann de Lesseps
The former countess and "Real Housewives of New York" star apologized for her 2017 Halloween costume as Diana Ross -- even though she insisted that she didn't actually do blackface. "I had bronzer on that I wear normally like the rest of my skin," she later told Andy Cohen on "Watch What Happens Live." "So I didn’t add anything to or would ever, ever dream of doing a blackface. Ever."
The longtime "Inkmasters" star announced he was departing the show in 2020 after an old photo resurfaced of him wearing blackface while portraying an NBA player.
The late-night host came under fire for a 2000 "Saturday Night Live" sketch in which he impersonated former "SNL" cast member Chris Rock -- in full makeup.
In June 2020, ABC late-night host apologized for a series of sketches from earlier in his career when he darkened his skin to impersonate Black stars such as NBA player Karl Malone and Oprah Winfrey. "I apologize to those who were genuinely hurt or offended by the makeup I wore or the words I spoke,” he said of the sketches from "The Man Show" which he co-hosted from 1999-2003.
1 of 16
These celebrities offer a timely reminder that it’s never OK — so don’t try it