I love how Jimmy Kimmel does the autograph thing. It’s weird with people in the media. I once gave Jay Leno crap because he was always asking musicians to autograph a CD for him. You could see that right before they went to commercials and Leno was handing a Sharpie and CD to the star. I always wondered if Leno kept those, or gave them to friends/family as nice gifts.
With Kimmel, it’s more about the humor behind it. Recently, he did a bit with an expert in interior design and cleaning who has a show on Netflix (Tidying up with Marie Kondo). He wanted her to help get his office in order. She couldn’t speak English, so there was a translator. That just made it funnier and more bizarre.
In the background, you could see Kimmel had various autographed baseballs. On the wall, he had a wiffleball bat, which was signed by Magic Johnson (everyone knows he’s a Lakers Hall-of-Famer, but he’s also a co-owner of the Dodgers). Not sure why he had him sign a wiffleball bat, because all of us autograph collectors would prefer his huge, nice signature on a Spalding basketball (or a magazine cover, 8x10 photo, etc.).
The funniest thing was a box of Trix breakfast cereal. It was signed by a rapper or R&B singer (maybe Oran “Juice” Jones, not positive). He went on to sing this bizarre song to the woman, which after one minute of him rapping, had a line about “Trix are for kids” (from the famous commercial of the early ‘80s). So he had the rapper sign the box of cereal for him.
Recently, Kimmel had Billy Crystal on the show, and the subject of autographs came up. Mantle is a huge baseball fan, and he told a story about signing a one-day contract with the Yankees (loved the conclussion, where he said George Steinbrenner said he was trading him for Seinfeld).
Crystal said that with his brief time there, he got a metal protective cup, autographed by Joe Torre. The prized possession though, was that he got one of the seats from the stands of Yankee Stadium. He had one of his idols, Mickey Mantle, sign it. It was inscribed, “Billy, wish you were still sitting here, and I was still playing.”
Talk about a priceless, sentimental item in a collection.
Of course, the funniest autographed things Kimmel does is when he sends his security guard Guillermo to the Super Bowl. English is his second language, and the show obviously gets some humor out of that. Yet what’s funnier is that he asks these famous players and coaches, some rather odd questions. The last few years, he’s asked them to autograph items. This year, he asked Tom Brady to autograph a pillow he had made, that had Guillermo’s face on one side, and Brady on the other, with hearts all around it. Of course, Brady laughed and signed it.
He asked Rob Gronkowski to autograph a book he wrote, after he read bizarre passages from it.
Last year he had Coach Bellichik sign something for him. This year, he merely told him a joke (“What did the receiver say to the football? Catch you later.”)
Guillermo had Rams QB Jared Goff sign a shirt that said “Turn your head and Goff.”
I wondered why NFL security doesn’t keep him from doing this. Surely if a regular reporter started asking for autographs on a football, they’d be whisked away.
When I had a press credential in the early ‘90s, I was interviewing members of the NBA on the “dream team” after NBA players were allowed to join the Olympic team. The players included Magic, Bird, Barkley, Ewing, Stockton, and lots of other Hall of Famers. They said if we asked for an autograph we’d be thrown out. I didn’t risk it, but wish I would have.
The NFL probably loves Guillermo doing it, though. It humanizes people like Brady and Bellichik, who usually comes off gruff and angry. And believe me, the NFL can use all the good PR they can get these days.