January 26 marked the 20th anniversary of “Jimmy Kimmel Live!,” marking the longest tenure of any current late-night host in the United States. To celebrate, ABC aired a special primetime episode of the series, featuring throwbacks to the show’s original 2003 premiere — including the complete guest lineup from the show’s very first episode, with George Clooney, Snoop Dogg, and Coldplay frontman Chris Martin all stopping by. But the most surprising throwback was an interview Kimmel did with a very familiar guest: himself.
During a segment on the 20th-anniversary special, Kimmel showed the audience a picture of him from back in 2003, during the first edition of the ABC series. However, the photo glitched, and the younger Kimmel came to life and began speaking to his older counterpart about the changes over the two decades, including the deaths of celebrities like Michael Jackson, the invention of electronic cigarettes, the legalization of weed, and Donald Trump’s presidency.
“The show is still on in 20 years?” younger Kimmel asks. “It makes no sense!”
“I know, it makes no sense,” older Kimmel replies.
The Kimmel-on-Kimmel conversation was created via a special variation of deepfake technology created specifically for the show, a spokesperson for “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” told IndieWire, although they did not elaborate on the methods used for the segment. Deepfakes in general have grown steadily more common on TV and film as a way of imitating celebrities for comedic purposes.
This month saw Britain’s ITV debut the sketch series “Deep Fake Neighbour Wars,” where performers use deepfakes to play unsettling variations of celebrities like Nicki Minaj, Tom Holland, and Idris Elba. Last year, Kendrick Lamar dropped a music video for his single “The Heart Part 5” in which he transformed into deepfake versions OJ Simpson, Jussie Smollett, Nipsey Hussle, Kobe Bryant, and Kanye West. The deepfakes in the video were done by Matt Stone and Trey Parker’s Deep Voodoo studio — the two recently revealed they had plans for a deepfake film about former president Donald Trump.
Check out the full segment from “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” below.
Sign Up: Stay on top of the latest breaking film and TV news! Sign up for our Email Newsletters here.