Talk about fake news. ABC's Jimmy Kimmel and actress Kathryn Hahn on Wednesday shared a factually false story to mock Ronald Reagan. In what was supposed to be some sort of epic slam, The Jimmy Kimmel Live host recounted a letter the then-eight-year-old Hahn wrote in 1982 to Ronald Reagan: “There was a movie of the week in ‘82... called The Day After.”
Hahn, who has appeared in Bad Moms, Parks and Recreation and Girls, explained: “I saw [the TV movie]. I remember going to McDonald's the next day and getting a Happy Meal and bawling because I was so terrified of nuclear war.” Kimmel explained: “It was about what would happen the day after the Russians nuked us.” After explaining that she wrote Reagan and that the President responded, Kimmel held up his letter. The only problem? It's clearly dated May 12, 1982. The Day After debuted on ABC, November 20, 1983.
Yet, the discrepancy didn’t stop Kimmel from mocking Reagan as he looked at the letter, needling that “the president didn't actually” write it. He joked: “The President wrote, ‘Dear Kathryn, calm down. It was a TV movie.’”
Actually, Reagan didn’t do that because the movie wouldn’t air for another year and a half. This is the same Kimmel who complained about Donald Trump telling falsehoods about him. Recently, he whined about the current President: “Even the people who like the president know he makes things up.... But still, it’s weird to hear him tell a lie that specifically involves you.”
If he’s so worried about the facts, maybe Kimmel shouldn’t be contributing to made up stories about Reagan?
A transcript of the exchange is below. Click “expand” to read more:
Jimmy Kimmel Live
JIMMY KIMMEL: Kathryn, you brought something kind of interesting. I remember this so well. Tell us why you wrote this letter.
KATHRYN HAHN: Okay, there was a movie of the week. This is a real conversational turn. There was a movie of the week in ‘82 —
HAHN: — called The Day After.
KIMMEL: I was thinking about this over the weekend. One of the scariest movies — just the promos were scary.
HAHN: I saw it. I remember going to McDonald's the next day and getting a Happy Meal and bawling because I was so terrified of nuclear war.
KIMMEL: It was about what would happen the day after the Russians nuked us.
HAHN: Yes. And my mom was like, “Write the president.” And so I wrote Reagan.
KIMMEL: You wrote President Reagan. And this is the letter.
HAHN: And I got a letter back from his -- from the Special Assistant to the President and Director of Correspondence. You guys, this was typed out on an actual typewriter.
[Letter from Reagan on-screen is dated May 12, 1982.]
KIMMEL: Yeah. By Anne Higgins.
HAHN: No spelling errors. As you will see to a child. I held on to it forever. And I can't -- I mean, it's just so moving to me that that president took the time.
KIMMEL: Well, the president didn't actually do any of this.
HAHN: Didn't take any time, no.
KIMMEL : The President wrote “Dear Katherine, calm down, it was a TV movie.” And did this make you feel better, this letter?
HAHN: Oh, yes.
KIMMEL: It did?
HAHN: It did.
KIMMEL: Now your son, who is how old?
HAHN: He's 11.
KIMMEL: He's 11 years old. Has also made something for the president. But his is a drawing. [Child’s drawing of Donald Trump.] What's the shadow?
HAHN: The Twitter bird!
KIMMEL: I thought it was a wolf.
HAHN: No, that's totally the twitter bird.
KIMMEL: This is a great — I love this, by the way. This kid is good.
HAHN: His assignment, meanwhile, was on and that was — I was like, exactly. Isn't that bananas?
KIMMEL: Yeah, yeah. I wonder if he'll get a letter back. He didn't mail this to the president?
HAHN: No, although my daughter, their class had to write letters to the president when he was elected and one of the girls in my daughter's class literally wrote, “Dear president Trump, please think before you speak.”
KIMMEL: That's a good letter. Maybe, you know what maybe he will take it into consideration.