Jimmy Kimmel’s Kid Pranks Aren’t Funny Anymore – They’re Just Mean

Kids are hysterical. At least a dozen times a day my child says something completely ridiculous that makes me shake my head, spit out my drink or literally fall to the floor with laughter. People have made millions simply by videotaping the adorable things that come out of those little mouths. (Hi Mr. Cosby!)

And after four years as a mother, I’ve learned that you don’t have to prompt kids to get a funny answer. You don’t have to put them in compromising circumstances. You don’t have to lie to them, trick them or play a prank. All you have to do is listen to them.

Maybe that’s why I’m a little disgusted with Jimmy Kimmel lately. On his late night show, the comedian has created a recurring sketch where he basically tricks young kids and then invites his audience to laugh at their discomfort or tears. First there was Halloween, where he challenged viewers to tell children that they ate all their kids Halloween candy and watch them break into hysterics. Then there was Christmas, where viewers gave kids a horrible present and recorded their disappointed reactions. And let’s not forget the fun that was Silverstone-ing your kids by giving them pre-chewed food to eat.

Now, Kimmel has decided to stop letting his viewers have all the fun and reduce kids to tears himself. This time, he hooked a little boy up to a fake lie detector test and got to admit to peeing in the swimming pool. The child honestly looks like he wants to die.

So the whole shtick is to make kids extremely upset and then laugh at their feelings. That’s… awful. I’m sorry, but it’s cruel. And even more than that, it’s unnecessary. Kids can be funny and entertaining without bursting into tears. Making kids cry and then laughing about it is like aiming for the lowest form of a joke there is. It doesn’t take intelligence or imagination, it takes a mean streak.

See the video for yourself and let me know whether you think Kimmel is comedic genius or completely cruel.

(Photo: andPOP)

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  • ipsedixit

    Meh, I think the parents said he had the “time of his life” doing the sketch, and since the parents know him best, I’m going to defer to their expert opinion. They know his maturity and what he could handle.

    In the others, no one forced those parents to make videos of their kids and send them in. Perhaps we should point fingers at them, rather than Mr. Kimmel?

    • Donna

      ipsedixit – he had the time of his life? Really? Then how come he’s the only one in the room NOT laughing?
      I can’t see what the parents were hoping to gain from subjecting the child to this. Can’t say I found it funny at all but obviously some people find making fun of children hilarious.

    • Ipsedixit

      Well, Donna, like I stated above, that comment was made by his parents. I’m not going to purport to know what the kids innermost feelings are from a two minute video clip, so I’ll defer to his parents…who actually, you know, know him.

      Do you have personal knowledge that this child was in some way emotionally damaged from this experience?

  • Elaine

    Poor little guy looked terrified throughout most of this! My daughter is still a baby, but this was kind of hard to watch. The peeing in the pool thing could have been funny, but clearly the kid was mortified. Not a big fan :/

  • Ipsedixit

    Well, Donna, like I stated above, that comment was made by his parents. I’m not going to purport to know what the kids innermost feelings are from a two minute video clip, so I’ll defer to his parents…who actually, you know, know him.

    • Donna

      I’m not sure why there are two (almost) identical posts, but I’ll only reply to one.
      To start with, I really don’t need anybody – not even this boy’s parents – to tell me whether or not he is having the time of his life. If this is really an example of him having the ‘time of his life’ then I hate to think what the rest of his life must be like.
      Originally you said “I think the parents said” but judging by your defensive reply I’m guessing that you are now sure that they made this statement. I’d really like for you to share where you read this as I would love to read their justification for myself.
      Let’s assume that they did make the statement. What else would you expect them to say? Once any concerns started being raised would you really expect them to say “We made a stupid parenting decision that allowed our son to be humiliated in a way that the entire world can see” or do you think they might try and cover their butts by saying that he actually had a whale of a time and it just doesn’t show in the so-called sketch?
      Humiliating people who can’t defend themselves is going too far.

  • Cosmic

    C’mon, this is hilarious! The boy is obviously having the time of his life. See right at the end there where he looks like he’s about to burst into tears? If you look real close, his lip twitches! A definite giveaway that he’s gonna start laughing any minute. I’ll bet they’re just tears of happiness welling up! Can’t wait for the episode where they ask him about the day he wet his pants in class. Comedy gold!
    Seriously – parents, have some respect for your kid and don’t use him as a way to get five minutes of fame.

  • Sean Wilkinson

    I more than fully agree that practical jokes, pranks, and the like are awful in general, but especially so when perpetrated on kids, who haven’t yet grasped our adult discernment of truth and bullshit. If I had a nickel for every father who brought his kids to inconsolable wailing by telling them “heh heh, I shot Santa/Rudolph/the Easter Bunny/etc. with the ol’ hunting rifle” and then copped an “I was only joking!”, I’d have enough nickels to wipe out Greece’s national debt. It’s fucking cruel, tremendously thoughtless, and could ruin a child/parent relationship for good. I’ve seen it, and it’s happened to me to a lesser extent, and it’s a case of words hitting like a fist. The perpetrators ought to be haunted by the cries of frightened, betrayed children up to the moment they die. Screw them.

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