Kimmel's blackface apology last week wasn't the first time the late-night host has expressed regret for his time on Comedy Central's The Man Show. In fact, when promoting the launch of Jimmy Kimmel Live! ahead of its 2003 premiere, Kimmel insisted he wasn't the crass, sexist jerk seen on TV. “The idea that I am this guy who runs around snapping people in the a** with a towel, that’s not really me,” Kimmel told The New York Observer in 2002. “I like to think there is a little more to me than that. I know there is.” In a 2017 interview, Kimmel told Vulture: "I look back at every show I’ve ever done and cringe. My vision of hell is a bunch of monitors with my old shows running on them." But as Hazel Cills notes, Kimmel landed the late-night gig because ABC was seeking to capture the 18-34 male demographic at the time. Kimmel, says Cills, "is not a political radical, but in late night’s centrism, his voice has emerged as something critics and viewers celebrate. The late-night host believes his past at The Man Show, the gross sketches, the blackface, the sexism, was simply poorly executed satire long behind him; he’s now a reformed political commentator. But Jimmy Kimmel Live! exists because of The Man Show, and Kimmel can only be the down-to-earth late-night dad because he was once a beer-guzzling, sexist, a so-called 'average dude,' that complained about his wife and enjoyed gazing at hot chicks. Kimmel seems to know this, as when he told Vulture that 'to hear someone like me talk about equal rights for homosexual people hits harder than when people hear (Ellen DeGeneres) talk about it... to hear the guy from The Man Show.' To Kimmel, his straightness, and his history of speaking as a gleeful misogynist, actually makes him more of an authority on something like gay rights because he’s speaking from a place of straight 'objectivity' instead of the real, lived experience of a gay person. The template for America’s late-night host is that of a 'regular' white guy in a nice suit, his authority as a commentator, no matter what his background, baked into the program itself. Men trusted and laughed with Kimmel on The Man Show, and they do so today during his late-night slot. Jimmy Kimmel is not successful in spite of his past work but because of it, and all the rowdy audience members who cleaned up and followed him to ABC for a different kind of man show, but a man show nonetheless."