Last May, Jimmy Kimmel struck an emotional chord with parents everywhere when he shared the harrowing story of his son, Billy. Due to a congenital heart defect, Billy had undergone open heart surgery three days after his birth. It was a rare moment of vulnerability for the late night host and notorious prankster, and, having come in the heat of the healthcare debate, one that resonated with the political world. Now, four months later, Kimmel has once again opened up.
In an interview with the Hollywood Reporter, Kimmel said that Billy was “doing great” despite having undergone a serious and potentially dangerous surgery just a few months earlier. Kimmel did note that his son would still have to have two more surgeries, but he knows things could be much worse and their whole family is looking forward to leaving this chapter behind them.
Of course, even in such a serious situation, Kimmel couldn’t resist adding a bit of his Kimmelian wit to the interview. He noted that his amazing son is already “translating Flaubert from French into English.” Not bad for a three-month-old. Kimmel spoke on the importance of humor in even the darkest times, recalling that the only thing that kept him going during his son’s surgery was “making fun of everyone else in the family.”
Kimmel also spoke through his decision to talk about something so personal on his show, as well as the amazing response he got from people, including letters of support from President Obama, President George W. Bush, and President Clinton.
Kimmel admitted he’s unsure how big an impact his speech will end up having. Butt he hopes it helps people realize that healthcare isn’t a political issue. It’s a human issue. Kimmel said, “I have spoken with so many people who strongly believe the reason they are alive or their brother is alive or their parents are alive is the Affordable Health Care Act. It’s undeniable if you talk to people.”