Did Jimmy Kimmel Go Too Far Making Fun Of Caitlyn Jenner's Cover?

Photo: Matt Baron/BEImages
Jimmy Kimmel isn't known for being especially tactful. The late night host often toes the line between comedic and crass and it was only a matter of time before he snuck in a bit about Caitlyn Jenner's coming out to the world.

Last night, he did a bit about Donald Trump's social media announcement that he would soon be making an important announcement (bear with us). Though — as Kimmel mentions — it's most likely that the tycoon will be proclaiming a run for presidential office on June 16, the comedian decided to have a bit of fun.

"I think it would be more fun if he's planning to announce this," he said, as the camera pulled away to reveal Trump on the cover of Vanity Fair. The magnate's face is superimposed on Jenner's body; the copy has been changed to read: Call me Donna.

“Wouldn’t that be something?” Kimmel said. “That’s how you give Hillary Clinton a run for her money.”

Caitlyn Jenner made her declaration on Monday of this week, and the spoofs were bound to begin pouring in sooner than later. But, while Donald Trump's face on a woman's body is an absurd sight, whether or not the image is funny isn't the question. Here's what is: While Kimmel isn't pointedly ridiculing Jenner, does turning her newly-iconic cover into a joke make light of the courage it takes to come out trans in the first place?

As always, the coin has two sides. The gag doesn't seem intentionally mean-spirited; nor does it overtly slam the trans experience. If anything, Kimmel is making a mean remark about Donald Trump being an unattractive woman — and while that sort of statement isn't devoid of shaming issues, it's innocuous enough. The problem here is that America isn't so far along the path of progressive attitudes about trans people that a single joke, heard by millions, can't do damage to the cause.

There's little point in lambasting Kimmel for his decision to use Vanity Fair's cover for late night fodder. Admittedly, his segment was perhaps in poor taste, and — in pursuit of a laugh — that was more than probably the point. But, there is absolutely such a thing as "too soon," and this time Jimmy Kimmel is on the wrong side of it.
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