Elizabeth Leonard
February 16, 2017 01:04 PM


It goes without saying that the current state of American politics serves up fodder for any late-night talk-show host. But will Jimmy Kimmel tap into today’s charged political climate when he takes the stage to host the 89th Academy Awards on Feb. 26?

Pretty likely, yes.

“I haven’t decided exactly how much I will dwell on that,” Kimmel tells PEOPLE in this week’s issue. “A lot of it depends on what happens that week [before the show].”

He admits he probably won’t lack for material.

“There are one, sometimes three, new interesting stories coming out of the White House every day it seems — so who knows what will be happening?” he says.

“I just hope whatever is happening is light.”

Jeff Lipsky/ABC


Watch the PEOPLE & EW Red Carpet Live Oscars preshow on Feb. 26 at 5 p.m. ET/2 p.m. PT on the People/Entertainment Weekly Network (PEN). Go to PEOPLE.com/PEN, or download the app on your favorite device. Then watch our Red Carpet Fashion Wrap-Up after the Oscars!


No matter what, Kimmel says he will be writing new jokes until the 11th hour — and updating material in real time.

“By the week before, I’ll have 80 percent of it done probably and it’ll just be a matter of finding out what is topical,” he says. “I have a tendency to change things right at the last minute. You just want it to be as close to perfect as possible.”

For much more from Kimmel as he prepares for Hollywood’s biggest night, pick up this week’s issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday. The 89th Academy Awards kicks off live on ABC on Sunday, Feb. 26, with a 7 p.m. ET preshow and 8:30 p.m. ceremony.

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