David Letterman salutes Jimmy Kimmel’s Oscar’s success, disses Tom Cruise’s no-show

Jimmy Kimmel is still the afterglow of a strong Oscars-hosting performance. Wednesday night he took his final victory lap, in which a guest heaped praise on a night rife with quality jokes that brought a desperately-needed 12 percent boost in telecast ratings over the previous year. And who better to do it than the beloved entertainer who notoriously failed at his sole attempt at hosting the show: David Letterman?

Showing the late-night legend the respect he deserves (during his monologue, Kimmel joked, “I feel like our regional manager is coming for an inspection”), the “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” host welcomed Letterman by saying that “nobody on television means more to me than [him].” 

The extremely bearded comedian, on Jimmy’s couch to promote his forthcoming Disney+ documentary/chat with Bono and The Edge of U2 (what, no love for Larry Mullen?), was quick to congratulate Kimmel on a job well done at the Oscars. He began by repeating a dopey line he always used to say (“In Hollywood, Oscar is King”) and no one in the audience laughed. This is because not enough people realize that Letterman thinks awards are dumb and Hollywood in general is idiotic. Kimmel was in tears though. It was great. 

He called Kimmel’s performance “a sensational moment for the country” and that “he resurrected th[e] carcass” of the Academy. He referred to his own hosting sting as “such a bomb, the network thought it might have been terrorists.”

He cited the moment when Cocaine Bear needed to be reminded to “leave Malala alone” as a highlight (naturally) and said that he could have been the one inside the bear suit. 

Dave then grilled Jimmy on several Oscar-related topics (like finding out when and where he ate afterward) then finally hit on something he called a little sensitive. “Where was Tom Cruise?” he asked. 

“We don’t know,” the host said, fairly seriously. “We heard ‘production issues.’” Letterman was pretty quick to call that “nonsense,” saying he should have been there to “celebrate his ‘Jetpack: Maverick’ show.” Kimmel agreed. The legend said the show was still a hit without “Mr. Bigshot.” #diss.

The 18-minute chat is warm and friendly. Eventually, when Cruise is out promoting the latest Jetpack movie (“Mission: Impossible—Dead Reckoning Part One”), his appearance on “Kimmel Live!” is going to be terrific. 

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