Jimmy Kimmel does a lot charity work, but doesn’t make such a big deal of it. But I will, with a personal story from a dozen years ago.
I first met Kimmel at a pretty unusual fundraiser in 2005, at Railhead music club at Boulder Station. It was a charity show, called “Hands Together,” for the Samaritan House men’s recovery home. It was a far-off-the-grid, Sunday afternoon show for a 40-bed, live-in recovery home on North 4th Street hardly anyone had heard of. Yours truly was part of the House’s board of directors in those days, and we sought all variety of entertainer to help fill the bill.
Those who answered the bell included Clint Holmes and music director Bill Fayne, The Amazing Johnathan, the casts of “Midnight Fantasy” at Luxor and “Forever Plaid” at Gold Coast, then-Bellagio headliner Jimmy Hopper, and Trop magician Rick Thomas.
During a planning meeting, I off-handedly asked, “Who are we going to get to host this show?” I was told, “Jimmy Kimmel is already in.” I was stunned. But Kimmel — who had launched his ABC talk show two years earlier — was indeed on board because of his long relationship with the Rev. Bill Kenny, who volunteered at the House and was pastor of Christ the King, where Kimmel attended church as a kid.
So it wasn’t exactly a surprise to learn this week that Kimmel is donating whatever profits he would receive at his Jimmy Kimmel’s Comedy Club at Linq Promenade to Las Vegas charities. Kimmel is in a licensing agreement with Caesars Entertainment at the club, and also plans to promote the venue on his late-night show by airing comics who are currently headlining.
The club’s formal opening is Friday night, and Kimmel will be on hand for a marquee-lighting ceremony and loosely scheduled night of comedy. Kimmel’s philanthropic plan from JKCC is still taking shape, but once more, his hometown is benefiting from his good works.
John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. His PodKats podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts. Contact him at email@example.com. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.