Jimmy Kimmel, a late-night host not known for his sincerity, spent a good chunk of his monologue Monday night in tears. If you watch the 13-minute video of him recounting the first days of his son's life, you'll probably need a tissue, too.
“I have a story to tell about something that happened to our family last week,” Kimmel began, before launching into a moving story about his son William—Billy for short—and the heart condition doctors discovered hours after his birth.
Billy needed emergency open heart surgery to repair a valve and days after his birth, he was on an operating table with his chest open. "It was the longest three hours of my life, but the operation was a success," Kimmel said.
He went on to thank, by name, the many nurses, doctors and family members who helped him and his wife through the ordeal. And while he became choked up many times, Kimmel managed to squeeze a few laughs out of the crowd by referencing the bizarre custom of pretending a newborn can buy gifts for his siblings and giving props to "that son-of-a-bitch Matt Damon," who sent flowers.
The whole thing makes for some gripping TV, as Kimmel bounces between heart-wrenching pain and cracking wise. At one point, he showed a picture of his family after Billy's return home and pointed out the pissed-off expression o his two-year-old's face. "As you can see, Jane's pretty excited about having a another kid in the house," he says.
Kimmel ended the segment by turning his attention toward all the familes in the country who might have a harder time than he did making medical decisions.
"If your baby is going to die and it doesn't have to, it shouldn't matter how much money you make," he said. "No matter if you're a Republican or a Democrat, we all agree on that."
Kimmel deserves a ton of credit here for his openness and refusing to hide his emotions. His ability to inject lightness into a dark story makes it all the better. But it's his willingness to use his platform to advocate for increased access to healthcare that is really admirable.
Kimmel is a professional goof and he didn't have open up about this incredibly personal, unbelievably tumultuous moment in his life. But he did and he used the opportunity to try to push the country toward a better place. Excuse us our own moment of sincerity, but that's a damn good thing.