LOS ANGELES - The show starts before you ever walk into the El Capitan theater on Hollywood Boulevard.
The home of Jimmy Kimmel Live! (taped on show days at 7 p.m.) is in the heart of Hollywood and show biz dreams.
If you've never seen it, historic Hollywood Boulevard today is a crazy, colorful mash-up of costumed street performers (approximations of such characters as Tinkerbell, Jack Sparrow, Darth Vader, Charlie Chaplin and Don King, for example) and tourists from around the world. Keep your tip money handy if you want a picture with any of them.
( Photo gallery: Behind the scenes with Jimmy Kimmel )
However, if you happened to be there at just the right time on Wednesday, you would have seen Jimmy Kimmel dashing down the sidewalk with Magic Johnson in pursuit. Now that's entertainment!
JKL cannot be contained in its 200-seat theater. It bursts onto the street for produced bits like the one for Magic Johnson, and moves the entire audience to an outdoor concert area for live music at the end of the show.
It is viral videos and third world citizens reading (and amplifying) the petty shallowness of celebrity tweets. (Such as "My makeup brushes have glitter all over them" or something - Kim Kardashian)
While Jimmy and his crew put on a show, I watched from the green room along with a few other local news crews. What a scene! There is definitely another "show" going on in the green room, a fun and cool spot for show guests and their own guests to relax. There's a bar, a pool table and pinball machines, comfy furnishings and numerous large flat screens for watching JKL as it tapes.
Bryan the bartender says he has the best job ever. Just last week he chatted up actors Andy Garcia and Reese Witherspoon who were there when Matt Damon hijacked the show.
Being in this green room is like being in a friend's most excellent basement where a lot of celebrities happen to be hanging out. And where their photos and other show mementos are everywhere. This includes a Fender Resonator guitar signed by many of the musical luminaries who've played JKL in the last decade, including Joe Cocker, Jason Mraz, Huey Lewis and, um, Jerry Springer. And the late Uncle Frank's corner, a tribute to the first relative of Kimmel's brought into the show.
We never saw Jimmy until the audience went outside to hear Antibalas. Then Jimmy's PR people moved us into his studio, where a number of men were shining up the floor. The room is smaller than it looks on TV. We lined up as though on a red carpet and each got our five minutes or so. Jimmy looks fit and was very congenial and funny, in spite of having just finished a show in which getting young English actor Nick Hoult to loosen up was tough work.
I asked Jimmy if there was anything about that Matt Damon show he didn't know beforehand. He said no, he even wrote Damon's monologue! You can see our fun chat today during the 5 and 11, and posted here later as well. Enjoy the pics!