Jimmy Kimmel‘s default position on his ABC late-night show is a slightly detached sarcasm, so it was a little startling to see him so openly emotional in honoring “Jimmy Kimmel Live” fixture Frank Potenza — his real-life uncle — Tuesday night (Sept. 6).
“I’m going to try to do this without crying. And I’m probably going to fail,” Kimmel said at the start of a tribute to Uncle Frank, who died two weeks ago. (Tuesday was the first new “Jimmy Kimmel Live” since his death.)
He was right — but the tribute was that much better for it. Kimmel joked that Frank “always hated when we were on vacation. So — he decided to ruin it for us.
“He hated vacation because he loved to come to work. He loved it so much, he would get here ten hours before the show started. The show started at 9 p.m. — he’d be here by 10 a.m. That’s how he was — he was always early, for everything. If he had a flight at two, he’d get to the airport by six. … So it’s hard to believe he is now the late Uncle Frank.”
The tail end of Kimmel’s heartfelt goodbye to his uncle is up above, but it’s worth watching the whole thing. And keep a tissue at hand, because it’s really pretty moving.