Jimmy Kimmel Reveals ABC Tried to Kill John Cena’s Naked Oscars Bit


In his more than 20 years of hosting Jimmy Kimmel Live, Jimmy Kimmel has endured his fair share of run-ins with the network brass over his particular brand of sometimes naughty comedy. But nothing he has ever done on his late-night show compares to the scrutiny he reportedly endured to get a naked John Cena onto the Oscars stage on Sunday to present the award for Best Costume Design.

The 96th Academy Awards marked Kimmel’s fourth time serving as host, and he didn’t have an easy go of it, he claimed, admitting that getting bosses to approve the Cena segment “on the air—of all the times I’ve hosted the Oscars, the Emmys, or anything—no comedy bit has ever received more scrutiny than this.”

John Cena Presented Naked at the Academy Awards

The setup was simple: Cena would scooch across the stage stark naked with nothing but the envelope containing the name of the winner for Best Costume Design, which the Barbie actor was tasked with announcing. But even Kimmel seems shocked that they managed to pull it off.

“There were meetings and side meetings; there were emails and texts and phone calls,” Kimmel noted. “People were sweating, somebody was crying.” But once they realized Kimmel was committed to seeing this through and would refuse to take no for an answer, the mood changed on the part of the network.

“There were intense discussions about the size of the envelope,” he explained. “And whether we needed to Velcro it to John’s body. And we had to fill his crack, and have socks, and various testicalia was discussed.”

Kimmel even brought out the oversized envelope the network wanted them to use, which was so large that it was no longer funny. Still, considering the size of said envelope, Kimmel felt a need to offer Cena some genuine congratulations.

“Very rarely does an idea literally push the envelope,” Kimmel explained. “But this one did.”

When it came time for Cena to present the award, Kimmel shared that the network executives were terrified, much to his own amusement. He went on to thank Cena “for being a good sport, and I want to apologize for nearly killing our department of standards and practices.”

However, that wasn’t Kimmel’s last word on the prank-that-almost-didn’t-happen. He also talked a bit about the scathing post Donald Trump wrote on Truth Social during the Oscars—which Kimmel then read on stage—and the number of people who have since asked Kimmel whether it was real (it was).

“He wasn’t getting attention, he couldn’t stand it,” Kimmel said of the former president, “and so then the Adderall McFlurry kicked in.”

“Funny, we had John Cena on stage naked and somehow Trump still managed to be the biggest dick of the night,” Kimmel concluded.

Jimmy Kimmel Brings His Beef With Trump to the Oscars Stage

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