Aaron Rodgers and Jimmy Kimmel Go for Round 2

Kimmel's first monologue of 2024 was a prolonged diss track going after Rodgers over their bizarre Epstein beef—and Rodgers has promptly & predictably hit back.

Aaron Rodgers and Jimmy Kimmel Go for Round 2
Photo:Screenshot/YouTube; Shutterstock

Last week marked the first week of 2024, and Aaron Rodgers and Jimmy Kimmel wasted approximately no time before launching at each other’s throats. It started when Rodgers baselessly accused Kimmel of being on the notorious Epstein list released on January 3rd, which… did not mention Kimmel at all. So, naturally, Kimmel—who threatened to sue Rodgers over his comments—dedicated the opening monologue of his first show of 2024 to excoriating him.

Kimmel referred to Rodgers as “Karen Rodgers,” a “hamster-brained man,” and a “quarterback doing research on YouTube” who’s “too arrogant to know how ignorant he is.” By Tuesday afternoon, Rodgers responded in kind on his weekly, wholly unnecessary appearance on The Pat McAfee Show: “I’m glad that Jimmy is not on the list, I really am, I don’t think he’s the P-word,” Rodgers said. (“P-word!” We’re off to a great start here!) Rodgers then pivoted from accusing Kimmel of, err, the “P-word” to hitting back at Kimmel’s intelligence and comedic chops: “I think it’s impressive that a man who went to Arizona State and has 10 joke writers can read off a prompter.”

Rodgers insisted that he doesn’t “give a shit what [Kimmel] says about me,” and “as long as he understands what I actually said, that I’m not accusing him of being on a list, I’m all for moving forward.” Of course, Rodgers specifically said on live television that he believes Kimmel is “really hoping [the Epstein list] doesn’t come out”—pretty hard to misinterpret that! “I hope that he will give the same type of energy to these heinous crimes when they do come out that you gave to other subjects that you spent a lot of time working on,” Rodgers concluded.

Useless as Rodgers’ comments are, I get why he felt the need to respond—I imagine it’s hard to bite your tongue after being so thoroughly read for filth. On Monday, Kimmel started his monologue by acknowledging that Rodgers’ “insinuating that I am a pedophile” was probably meant to “retaliate” against him for jokes Kimmel made about Rodgers on his show last year. He explains, “Either [Rodgers] actually believes my name was going to be on Epstein’s list, which is insane, or the more likely scenario is he doesn’t actually believe that, he just said it because he’s mad at me for making fun of his top knot and his lies about being vaccinated.” Kimmel then plays a clip of his jokes last year, in which he mocks Rodgers’ conspiracy theory that U.S. government disclosures about UFOs were an orchestrated distraction from the Epstein list. Kimmel, at the time, called Rodgers a “tin-foil hatter” and said, “It might be time to revisit the concussion protocol, Aaron.”

Kimmel’s subsequent jokes Monday night were even more brutal: “Aaron Rodgers has a very high opinion of himself. Because he had success on the football field, he believes himself to be an extraordinary being,” Kimmel says, after mentioning that he himself grew up playing sports and knew people with Rodgers’ mindset. “He genuinely thinks that because God gave him the ability to throw a ball, he’s smarter than everyone else. The idea that his brain is just average is unfathomable to him. We learned during covid, somehow he knows more about science than scientists. … He put on a magic helmet, and that made him a genius.”

Kimmel continued, “Aaron got two As on his report card, they were both in the word ‘Aaron,’ OK? Can you imagine that this hamster-brained man thinks he knows what the government is up to because he’s a quarterback doing research on YouTube and listening to podcasts?” Rodgers, Kimmel says, perfectly embodies the famous “Dunning Kruger effect,” which he specifies is “a cognitive bias in which people with limited competence in a particular domain overestimate their abilities.” Rodgers is “too arrogant to know how ignorant he is—they let him host Jeopardy for two weeks and now he knows everything.”

Kimmel emphasizes that he doesn’t take issue with Rodgers ~getting political~ as an athlete, nor should athletes or people in sports media just “stick to sports.” His problem, Kimmel stressed, is being called a pedophile. Fair! “That’s how these nuts do it now. You don’t like Trump? You’re a pedophile. It’s their go-to move. That shows you how much they actually care about pedophilia,” Kimmel said. “I think Aaron Rodgers has the right to express any opinion he wants. But saying someone is a pedophile is not an opinion, nor is it trash talk.”

Kimmel concludes by saying he’d accept an apology from Rodgers but doesn’t expect one. And, as it turns out, he was right! Rodgers offered nothing in the way of an apology, simply pretended to not have said what he literally said, and suggested Kimmel isn’t outraged enough by “heinous crimes” like child sexual abuse. And I am not surprised: If we can expect one thing from the 40-year-old, rabidly anti-vax quarterback, it’s that he’ll cling on to a stupid, baseless idea for dear life.

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