Jimmy Kimmel improves a long day of TV.

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Jan. 27 2003 11:45 AM

Super Bowl Mondays Always Get Me Down

Jimmy Kimmel Live improves a long, slow day of TV.

The man of the late night hour
The man of the late night hour

It's late, and I'm still waiting. I have waited through the Saturday Night Live halftime show (NBC), two suspenseless quarters (ABC), the post-game (ABC), Alias (ABC), the local news (ABC), and now, as the clock officially clicks over to Super Bowl Monday, Ted Koppel finally announces, "There will be no special post-Super Bowl edition of Nightline tonight so that ABC can bring you the following piece of garbage." At last: the premiere of Jimmy Kimmel Live (ABC).

Although he has been delayed by 47 minutes, Jimmy Kimmel still bounces joyfully down a line of fans, casually slapping hands and making his way to a red talk-show desk inside the Kodak Theater in Los Angeles, where a live audience is starved, as I guess I now am, for his presence. Chubby, nondescript, Kimmel wears a light brown jacket and a white checked shirt. He takes the desk. "Welcome to Enjoy It While It Lasts, my new talk show." Oh no. Colin Quinn made a lot of I'm-about-to-get-canceled jokes on Tough Crowd With Colin Quinn (Comedy Central), and now that show seems to be on a permanent cigarette break. How about a rugged man show with some confidence in the first quarter?

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Snoop Dogg is Kimmel's co-host; George Clooney and Warren Sapp (a Buccaneer) are his guests. The co-host concept, I believe, is the show's innovation. Snoop will spend the whole six-day week with Kimmel. They may have conversations like tonight's:

"Who do you root for?"

"Steelers."

"Why do you root for the Steelers?"

"I've been rooting for them since the '70s."

And these conversations may be inexplicably diverting because Kimmel is laboring so hard to be cute and start a show ("I am the new Queen of Nice"), and Snoop, though he's off marijuana, always looks like he couldn't care less. It's a comical contrast. And then, when George Clooney joins them, pouring out three glasses of vodka, the conversation kicks up a notch—to the subject of what they can and can't say on network TV.

"You can say 'ass,' " Clooney proposes.

Snoop rouses himself. "You can say ass?"

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