“What would happen if five of America’s top 11 most-beloved talk show hosts all talked on top of each other for an hour? You’re about to find out,” said Jimmy Kimmel in the opening of Strike Force Five, a podcast from the major late-night hosts.
Kimmel, Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Fallon, Seth Meyers and John Oliver have launched the first episode of the Spotify podcast, which was named after their text chain.
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It was an hour of random stories and jokes about the strike including how Stephen Colbert’s mother dated a Nicaraguan dictator, lawsuits involving their shows (hello Viacom and Google), how many of the hosts wanted to join the clergy and how Colbert and Kimmel were both in the running to be the announcer for Magic Johnson’s 1998 talkshow The Magic Hour.
“Would it be fair to say that in 2008 the hosts didn’t get along quite as well as we do?,” asked Oliver. “I know it’s an incredibly low bar but that was a sequence of dying marriages that they were engaged in.”
Kimmel was on air during the last writers strike, alongside David Letterman, Jay Leno, Conan O’Brien and Craig Ferguson.
The ABC star said that all of the other hosts were “mad” that Letterman and Ferguson were able to go back first with their writers as a result of a side deal between Letterman’s Worldwide Pants and the WGA.
Meyers pointed out that podcast listeners would really feel the absence of writers and researchers, which all of the hosts have on their late-night shows. “You’ll realize how important it is for us to take care of them,” he said.
Kimmel revealed that some stars had offered to help his staff during the strikes.
“Ben Affleck and the despicable Matt Damon contacted me and offered to pay our staff for two weeks, a week each, they wanted to pay out of their own pockets. I did say no, but I felt that was not their responsibility,” he said.
He also said that Ryan Reynolds, who runs phone company Mint Mobile, which is one of the show’s sponsors, offered Jimmy Kimmel Live! staff free cellular service for a year.
Colbert joked about being off air because of the strikes. “This is like a vacation in the same way that a colonoscopy is like a nap,” he said.
Oliver and Meyers talked about their recent stand-up shows, where the host of Last Week Tonight berated crowd members for butchering a question during the Q&A.
Kimmel talked about his fishing trips, which included Fallon, after Kristen Bell posted a photo of Kimmel’s Idaho South Fork Lodge with guests including Jennifer Aniston, Jake Tapper, Courteney Cox, Adam Scott and Jason Bateman. “Most of the [celebrities] don’t fish and it enrages me,” Kimmel said.
On a slightly more serious note, Kimmel talked about retiring.
Kimmel, who has taken long summers off for the last few years, revealed that he had thought about leaving late-night, despite signing a three-year extension with ABC last year.
“I was very intent on retiring right around the time the strike started and now I realize it’s nice to work, when you are working you think about not working,” he said.
Meyers called Kimmel the Tom Brady of late-night.
“I was very very serious. I enjoy getting summers off and you don’t get them off. I like getting the summer off when I’m getting paid to have the summer off,” he added.
The talk then turned to weird pants stories.
Colbert revealed that his mother dated Anastasio Somoza, who was President of Nicaragua between 1967 and 1972 and 1974 and 1979.
“My mom went on some dates with Anastasio Somoza… and he left his clothes in my grandparents house,” The Late Show host said.
Kimmel joked that his mother “gave Castro a handjob in 1975”.
“I was wondering what pullquote was going to get pulled out of this podcast… I didn’t anticipate it would be Stephen Colbert’s family is tangential related to a Nicaraguan dictator. But here we are,” Oliver said.
“I think handjob for Castro is the pullquote,” added Colbert.
Before hosting their own late-night shows, Kimmel and Colbert revealed that they were in the running to be the announcer for syndicated series The Magic Hour, a job that eventually went to Craig Shoemaker.
“I was not even on TV at the time, I was a disc jockey so being on television would have been a big deal but that did not seem like it was going to be [a hit],” Kimmel said.
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