Ben Stein's High Praise for Jimmy Kimmel: 'The Only Comedian Who Could Be President'

Entertainment Weekly devoted its cover story in the March 13 edition to a set of mash notes to ABC late-night host Jimmy Kimmel. Perhaps the most glowing came from Ben Stein, who hired Kimmel as his co-host on the Comedy Central game show Win Ben Stein's Money back in 1997. Stein said he was "Genius from the first f---ing minute that he walked in the door." He was the only one who auditioned. 

“I’ve been in Hollywood since 1976, and I’ve never met anyone smarter than Jimmy,” he says. “No one. We would often have on contestants who thought they were really smart or wise guys, and they would try to tangle with Jimmy in a battle of wits, and I would say to them, “Please, don’t even try.” And invariably, he would just cut them down to a little shred of themselves. For someone to be that smart and also a man of the people is very, very unusual. Jimmy is the only comedian who could be president. If he were president, I would trust him to do the right thing, even though he’s a Democrat.

For a slightly less glowing tribute, Sarah Silverman, a former girlfriend of Kimmel's, told a story about Kimmel and Time's hokey 2006 Person of the Year cover, where it had a mirror on the front and the Person of the Year was "You." Silverman reports that back in 2006, she and Kimmel were in an airport in Seattle at a Hudson News stand with his two children from his first marriage. 

And there he was, with the Time magazine held firmly adjacent to his crotch. "My balls are Time magazine's Person of the Year!" And that, my friends, is one James Christian Kimmel in a nutshell."

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