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You don't know Jimmy Kimmel... but Ben Affleck, Lena Dunham and his childhood priest do

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Jimmy Kimmel is exactly who you think he is. Jimmy Kimmel is nothing like you think he is. Spend an hour or two chatting with the leaned-down 47-year-old host of ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live! (“On Mondays and Thursdays, I don’t eat,” he deadpans) in his artifact-stacked office above Hollywood Boulevard (notice: an ESPY award that he swiped from ESPN, a blanket with a picture of Michael Jackson’s son Blanket on it, an R. Crumb drawing of a banjo player on the back of a menu, three clarinets) and you will glean a portrait of a hard-driven, impish guy who actually might be the sharpest knife in the booby-trapped drawer. You’re probably already familiar with the bio basics. Raised in Brooklyn and Las Vegas. Began his career on the radio as a morning-drive DJ and KROQ’s wise-ass Jimmy the Sports Guy. Co-hosted two Comedy Central series, Win Ben Stein’s Money and The Man Show. Launched his ABC late-night talk show in 2003 to rocky ratings, but with swift-of-foot wit, crafty bits like “Unnecessary Censorship” and “Mean Tweets” and devilish pranks like “I Told My Kids I Ate All Their Halloween Candy” and “Worst Twerk fail EVER”, eventually turned JKL, which now airs at 11:35 p.m., into a Nielsen contender (it’s the no. 2 broadcast late-night talk show among 18-to-49-year-olds) and viral epidemic (2.6 billion views on his YouTube channel). Talk to the people who knew Kimmel as a little kid or a big kidder, though, and you’ll see that there are many more dimensions to the perpetually moving entertainer. (After playing host to President Obama last week, he’s currently staging a week of shows in Austin.) Did you know that he’s a chef who makes his own vinegar, an artist who sketches people in meetings, and a comedian who’s maddeningly relentless in bullet-proofing a joke? Below, we bring you revealing tales from some of the folks closest to Kimmel—his parents, his wife, his childhood priest, Ben Affleck—and then let him have the last word.

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