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Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

A sleep-deprived George Stephanopoulos tells Jimmy Kimmel why nobody can go to bed yet

Jimmy Kimmel, George Stephanopoulos
Screenshot: Jimmy Kimmel Live

Appearing for some intra-network election talk, former political strategist and current disheveled political reporter and host George Stephanopoulos took some time out from his schedule of telling everybody “it’s too close to call” by telling Jimmy Kimmel on Friday that—it’s too close to call. Granted, the Jimmy Kimmel Live chat happened on Friday afternoon, the pandemic has made for unprecedented mail-in and early ballot tabulation, and the heated debate over whether or not to give a second term to a child-caging, racist, sociopathic would-be dictator meant that turnout was historically high, but, still—Friday? As Stephanopoulos told the impatient Kimmel, there’s also the matter of various Republican state governments refusing to allow election officials to even start counting early votes until day-of voting was finished. You know, as part of GOP plans to follow their aspiring authoritarian’s plot to delegitimize the entire election and steal four more years for Donald Trump.

Still, Kimmel’s introduction summed up pretty much everyone (except Trump’s) desire for this thing to be over and called in favor of the person anyone with glazed Twitter eyes knows will be the next President of the United States, Joe Biden. Raising hopes for Stephanopoulos to “explain with absolute certainty what’s going to happen so we can all go to bed,” Kimmel was then disappointed that the tight-lipped ABC News and Good Morning America anchor toed the line that, yes, goddammit, it’s too close to call. (As of press time, he and his colleagues are still saying that, in the sense that they haven’t made the call, even though it’s not remotely that close in any of the four battleground states. Fear of a rage-spiraling Trump tweetstorm or desire to hang onto these sweet, sweet election coverage ratings—you decide.) Regardless, Stephanopoulos was clearly as ready to move on as the rest of us, as he admitted to having slept about 14 hours total since Tuesday, his voice was a bit gravelly, and, as he confessed, showers were infrequent. Join the club.


Kimmel repeatedly tried to prod his ABC family member into some schadenfreude at the clearly doomed Trump’s expense, with Stephanopoulos mostly demurring. To Kimmel’s question about whether the anchor would do a follow-up interview with the former president “in prison,” Stephanopoulos only laughed. (He was going to chat with formerly locked up former Trump henchman Michael Cohen before COVID.) As to whether the longtime political operative and former Clinton (Bill) advisor thinks Trump will, once the networks finally pull their boots up and call this thing, make the traditionally gracious and nation-soothing concession speech of all presidential losers (Stephanopoulos cited George H.W. Bush’s eloquent torch-passing as an example), well, there was that laugh again. “He might acknowledge at some point—in his words—that the election was stolen from him,” Stephanopoulos said of the man currently reported to be anger-bingeing Fox News and tweeting out noxious nonsense while his sweaty advisors play “Not it” on who will have to break the news to their boss when it finally comes.

Kimmel joked, in reference to speculation that Trump might just hole up in the people’s White House and refuse to leave, about Stephanopoulos’ insider knowledge of points of ingress and egress from the residence, with Stephanopoulos assuring Kimmel that it’s not Trump’s choice in the matter. Plus, there are those secret tunnels the Secret Service could use, presumably to sneak up on him and pop a sack over his head. (Stephanopoulos didn’t say that last part, but it’s a fun image.) Stephanopoulos also told Kimmel about the time he flew on Air Force One with Trump, only to have to listen to him railing against pet propaganda network Fox News for disloyally and reluctantly showing polls that didn’t favor his chances. Kimmel joked about Stephanopoulos looking for a parachute at some point between Nebraska and Washington D.C., but one can only imagine what it sounds like in Trump’s White House TV room right now.

And [checking Twitter for the fiftieth time while writing this article] nope. Still no call. Remember to hydrate, people. 

Contributor, The A.V. Club. Danny Peary's Cult Movies books are mostly to blame.