Oscars: Jimmy Kimmel defied orders when he read Trump's post

96th Annual Academy Awards - Show
96th Annual Academy Awards - Show / Kevin Winter/GettyImages

Jimmy Kimmel hosted the Academy Awards for the fourth time on Sunday night. Among the highlights was the comedian reading Donald Trump's live reaction to the ceremony.

The 2024 Oscars started an hour early, something Kimmel's monologue made sure to mention. The late-night TV host also made a few jokes about the show running long or what it would take to keep everything on schedule.

But the reality is that the production was actually ahead of schedule at one point. So to kill time, Kimmel decided to read Donald Trump's Truth Social post reacting to the host's performance.

Kimmel later revealed that he was explicitly told not to read Trump's social media post on air. He shared the story in an interview with Live With Kelly & Mark.

“They’re like, ‘You’ve got a little bit of time,’ I was like, ‘I’m reading the Trump tweet,’ they’re like, ‘No, no don’t read that,’ [I said], ‘Yes, I am!'”

The decision was ultimately the right one as Kimmel earned some of his biggest laughs of the night. His line that it was past Trump's "jail time" elicited a roar from the Oscars crowd.

Kimmel's decision is also an example of why he's the perfect Oscars host. He understands the room and trusts his instincts. We've seen how the show can go sideways at any moment. Having a capable comedian running things adds to the enjoyment of everyone in the theater and watching at home.

The comedian also had nothing to lose by defying orders. The Oscars need Jimmy Kimmel much more than he needs the gig.

Kimmel already has a secure contract with ABC. In fact, network executives have teased that they'd like to have Kimmel on air for the next 30 years. With that kind of support, Kimmel is pretty much free to make any jokes he wants.

And making a Donald Trump joke to a room full of actors isn't exactly taking a risk. The Oscars may have been more worried about the crowd at home's reaction than how things would go over in the room. But clearly, Kimmel had a punchline he couldn't wait to use.

We'll see if Kimmel has any more to say about the Donald Trump joke at the Oscars on Monday night. A brand-new episode of Jimmy Kimmel Live! airs at 11:35 p.m. ET on ABC.