She may be the little sister of Jimmy Kimmel, but Jill Kimmel can hold her own on the comedy stage.
Jill Kimmel was one of the featured comedians participating in the Laugh Off To A Cure, a benefit for the Michael J. Fox Foundation and the St. Louis community. The event at the Pageant in St. Louis was held on November 16.
As a first time visitor to St. Louis, Jill, who lives in Phoenix, AZ, made sure she tried the toasted raviolis and saw the Arch.
“I used to get the toasted raviolis when Jack in the Box sold them,” said Jill. “I was literally, emotionally upset when they stopped selling them. In the first 24 hours in St. Louis, I ate them twice.”
Jill said she was not sure of Imo’s Pizza, another St. Louis must-have, because a friend of her compared it to Costco Pizza. But she plans to check out some St. Louis ribs and visit the City Museum downtown while in town.
The 47-year-old mom of two teenagers, started her career as an actor.
“I loved having a creative outlet,” said Jill.
But the hard part of being an actor is that someone has to cast you in a part, Jill joked.
“I’ve always enjoyed making people laugh,” said Jill.
Her friends encouraged her to share her stories on a different stage—as a comic. So, nearly 12 years ago, Jill took a chance and attended her first open-mic night—and she absolutely loved every minute of it.
Jill considers her style of comedy ‘relatable’ storytelling. She said 98 percent of her jokes happened to her. The other two percent happened to friends, and it was too funny not to share on stage. Many of her jokes in the early stages were related to her marriage, her weight (she’s lost 100 lbs) and raising two small children. Now divorced and 100 lbs lighter, Jill tells stories as a newly dating divorcee with two teenage kids.
“I tell stories about stuff that’s happening in my life,” said Jill.
Since starting her stand-up comedy career in July 2006, Kimmel has worked with Tom Papa, Greg Fitzsimmons, Jim Norton, Jeffrey Ross, Tig Notaro and many other great comedians at Stand-Up Live, the Improv clubs, The Laugh Factory, Catch A Rising Star and several additional venues around the country.
Comedy just seems to run in the Kimmel family—and it all started with mom Joan Kimmel.
“You can’t say something without my mom having a witty remark,” said Jill. “My mom’s very outgoing, very warm and very witty.”
And Grandpa Sal has always has a clever remark or a pun ready, she said.
According to Jill, all three Kimmel kids—Jimmy, 50, Jill, 47 and Jonathon (a director), 41—didn’t really fully find their comedic side until their late teens. There were no pranks or funny jokes in the family as kids.
“Jimmy’s three years older than me, so when we were growing up I was like OMG, boys and makeup,” said Jill. “Jimmy was super smart and he was off being funny with his friends. I was absorbed in hair products.”
Jill said her little brother Jonathon, who is now a director, was really quiet in his teens. But now, Jill said he’s the funniest of the three siblings.
When Jimmy got his own late night show Jimmy Kimmel Live! on ABC, Jill said the family was not shocked at all. She compared his success to a slow weight gain—he steadily moved up the ranks, so it was not a surprise when he reached his current level.
Jill said Jimmy has always been a hard worker. He got his start calling radio stations begging them to let him write jokes. He then got his own radio show and transitioned into television on Win Ben Stein’s Money and the Man Show. In 2003, Jimmy got his own late night talk show on ABC, Jimmy Kimmel Live!
“We were so happy and excited for him, but it was a natural step to the next level,” said Jill.
Jill has not done any stand-up comedy on her brother’s show, but she has participated in a couple of sketches—including dancing with Richard Simmons. Jill said performing on his show would be great for her career, but it makes her so nervous she would throw up.
“Everyone wants to impress their big brother,” said Jill.
This Christmas the whole Kimmel family will be together. Jill said as a Catholic and Italian family, Christmas is the biggest holiday gathering. The Kimmel family, who is spread out in Arizona and both the east and west coasts, will travel to California where mom Joan and brother Jimmy will whip up a feast.
“The rest of us will pitch in to clean up,” said Jill.
Jill has been part of several groups of comedians who were selected by Armed Forces Entertainment to perform for the U.S. military. Since the spring of 2013, Jill has traveled to bases in Germany, Belgium, England, Italy, Turkey, Kosovo, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Egypt and Jordan. She performed on her fifth tour this past December, spending Christmas and New Year’s Eve with our American troops overseas.
Jill said she looks up to a lot of comics, but some of her all-time favorites include: Anthony Jeselnik, Chelsea Peretti and Bo Burnham.
“Anthony is so dark, and says terrible things, but he is so funny,” said Jill. “And I sat through two shows for Chelsea in one night.”
Jill has appeared on the website SheKnows, and has filmed multiple commercials for companies such as Vocera, Sit N Cycle, Presto Loans, George Brazil, Plexus, and ThinOptics. She regularly hosts lifestyle TV segments on various morning shows, for the PR company Orca Communications. Jill also appeared on Comedy Central’s, “Kevin Hart: Hart of the City” in November.
“It was really fun and a great opportunity,” said Jill.
Up next for Jill? She said she has several projects she’s working on right now, including a pitch for a TV show.
“You have to keep juggling all of the projects in the air because someone could love you in casting, but the funding could fall through,” said Jill. “That’s an exhausting part of the business, but you can’t take it personally.”
For more information about upcoming shows and projects, visit www.jillkimmel.com.