Jimmy Kimmel has announced that he is taking a break from his late-night show over the summer, to spend more time with his family.
Kimmel, 52, is facing increasing pressure to follow his fellow comedian Jimmy Fallon and apologize for wearing blackface in skits.
He insisted on Thursday, however, that all was well with him and his family, and he simply needed a break.
‘I’m taking the summer off to spend even more time with my family,’ he announced.
‘I’ve been doing this job for almost 18 years. I’ve done 3,130 shows and there’s nothing wrong.
‘My family is healthy, I’m healthy. I just need a couple of months off.’
Jimmy Kimmel announced on Thursday evening that he is taking the summer off from work
Kimmel said that, during his break, ‘a cavalcade of very kind and capable people will be filling in’ for him.
Starting Monday, Jimmy Kimmel Live! will air re-runs for two weeks, before guest hosts step in.
The guest hosts have not yet been announced, but in previous episodes Kimmel has welcomed familiar faces including Jennifer Lawrence, Channing Tatum, and former Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg.
The skit on Thursday saw a cameo from Matt Damon, riffing off on a mock feud that they have been playing with for a decade.
Damon told Kimmel that he couldn’t take a break, as he had been waiting weeks to appear on the show.
Matt Damon made a surprise appearance on Jimmy Kimmel’s Thursday night show
Kimmel’s leave from the show comes as his past record, and those of his late-night rivals, is under the microscope.
Both Kimmel and his rival at NBC, Jimmy Fallon, have found images from their past of them in blackface circulating on Twitter.
Fallon painted himself to look like Chris Rock in a 2000 skit on Saturday Night Live.
On June 1 he apologized, and used his show to discuss issues of race and racism with Derrick Johnson, the president and chief executive of the NAACP, the CNN anchor Don Lemon and the anti-racism educator Jane Elliott.
‘I had to really examine myself in the mirror this week because a story came out about me on SNL doing an impression of Chris Rock in blackface,’ he said.
‘And I was horrified. Not of people trying to ‘cancel’ me or cancel this show, which is scary enough.
‘The thing that haunted me the most was, how do I say I love this person?
‘I respect this guy more than I respect most humans. I’m not a racist. I don’t feel this way.’
Jimmy Fallon, who like Jimmy Kimmel has been doing his show from home, apologized June 1
Fallon had worn blackface in 2000 on Saturday Night Live to impersonate Chris Rock
He continued: ‘I realized that I can’t not say I’m horrified and I’m sorry and I’m embarrassed.
‘I realized that the silence is the biggest crime that white guys like me and the rest of us are doing, staying silent. We need to say something. We need to keep saying something.
‘And we need to stop saying “that’s not OK” more than just one day on Twitter.’
Kimmel also painted himself black to portray characters in The Man Show, which aired from 1999 to 2004.
One recurring segment had him parodying NBA player Karl Malone while donning blackface.
Kimmel has not addressed the controversy, and, with Thursday’s show being his last for a while, will not do so on his program for many months.
Jimmy Kimmel as NBA star Karl Malone in a skit on The Man Show, which ran from 1999-2004