Jimmy Kimmel’s Funniest, Most Withering Upfronts Week Jokes


Disney’s first combined upfront lasted well over two hours, but for many buyers, the length was a small price to see Jimmy Kimmel’s triumphant return to the upfront stage (his 16th upfront, to be exact) to deliver what has become the highlight of upfronts week: his roast of ABC, Disney, their competitors and upfronts week overall.

This morning, ABC said that Kimmel has extended his Jimmy Kimmel Live contract three more years, meaning that he’ll continue to be an upfront staple through at least 2022.

During such a grueling week, buyers eagerly look forward to the opportunity to laugh at the upfront process and their own industry. Here are some of Kimmel’s best lines—about upfronts and the advertising industry overall—from this year’s presentation:

On Netflix killing linear TV:

“[ABC Entertainment president Karey Burke] asked me to make it clear to you that the shows you’ve been seeing today are not her fault. She said and I quote, ‘Blame Channing [Dungey, who exited the network last November].’ So I can’t believe Channing [Dungey] left us for Netflix. Who does she think she is, our viewers? Leaving us to work for Netflix, to borrow a Yiddish term, such a Shonda.”

“Fucking Netflix. They even signed the Obamas. The Obamas are making TV shows and Trump is running the country. If this isn’t some Freaky Friday type bullshit…”

On OTT overall killing linear TV:

“Apple’s making shows now too, they have Apple TV+ and none of these services have commercials. This is getting bad. By the end of the year 34% of homes won’t even have traditional ad-based TV. But the good news is if you look under your seats, you’ll find cyanide capsules. Wash it down with some Whiskey Cavalier [the short-lived freshman drama that he mocked during last year’s event].”

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On ad sales chief Rita Ferro:

“Rita Ferro says, ‘The future of TV, is TV.’ Even Sarah Huckabee Sanders was like, ‘What the fuck kind of horseshit is that?’”

On Terry Bradshaw’s offensive comments during the Fox upfront:

“I am so bummed I missed that. Was that some kind of concussion-awareness PSA?”

On ABC’s troubling year:

“Remember last year when we got you all excited for Take Two and The Kids Are Alright and Roseanne and Speechless? Well: canceled, canceled, racist, canceled.”

On former CBS CEO Les Moonves:

“Remember last year when you guys gave Les Moonves a standing ovation? That was funny. Whoops…  How is it possible that a network whose logo is literally an eye did not see that coming?”

On ad industry buzzwords:

“We have more buzzwords than ever before this year… we can give you a brand lift, and if you don’t know what a brand lift is, it’s the positive movement of the consumer through the purchase funnel. And if you don’t know what a purchase funnel is, run because it means it’s possible you still have a soul.”

On his company’s expanded portfolio:

“The bottom line is you obviously have a lot of choices for how and where to throw your money away. We hope you throw it away on this clusterfuck of networks we assembled. We’ll do anything to get your dollars.”



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