Psst! Here’s a deep, dark showbiz secret, one I’m sure will shake you to your very foundations and may even rip open a hole in the space-time continuum: Jimmy Kimmel Live isn’t always exactly “live.” Last Friday the 15th, I was in the Kimmel Hollywood studio for the double-whammy Eminem/Mike Tyson episode, and I can report that what y’all saw on your TVs during Mr. Marshall Mathers’ sit-down with Jimmy wasn’t exactly what happened in the studio. First of all, the interview happened around 10:45 p.m. Eastern Time, a fair shade before Kimmel‘s scheduled midnight start time.
More important, although you’d never have known it from watching at home, the first minutes of the Eminem interview were among the most painful talk-show celeb Q&As I’ve ever witnessed (they were edited out of the actual broadcast). Watching from the infamous Jimmy Kimmel Live green room — which, with its pool table, multiple couches, free-flowing beer, and catered hors d’oeuvres, is more like a posh frat lounge — I couldn’t help but cringe as Kimmel floundered with his opening questions about Em’s now 13-year-old daughter. Eminem’s mumbled, one-word answers and awkward silences were bad enough; more unnerving still, the rapper looks thinner than I think he’s ever been, which made that famous glare of his feel more haunted than usual.
After what felt like an eternity of Kimmel scrambling to tap dance through Em’s non-answers, the rapper finally warmed up when Kimmel asked him about why he tears into so many celebrities — in part, Mr. Mathers said, it’s simply because their names fit in well with a rhyme, and he joked that he hasn’t attacked Kimmel because the host’s name doesn’t rhyme with much of anything other than, like, thimble. That and the rest of the interview — the parts that actually aired — were actually kind of charming and revealing.
Watch the clip below and let us know what you thought of his appearance.