Jimmy Kimmel calls Tampa 'the worst place I ever lived' on Marc Maron's podcast

Published Jan. 31, 2012

Generally speaking, Tampa residents love getting their panties in a bunch whenever celebrities talk smack about their town. Like when Natalie Merchant whined about getting sick from a salad at the Columbia restaurant. Or when Conan O'Brien called Tampa "a fine place to live, if you're a mosquito." (On the other hand, whenever Tina Fey gives Tampa a shout-out on 30 Rock, we love it.)

Which brings us to Monday, when talk show host Jimmy Kimmel appeared on one of the most popular and acclaimed podcasts on the Internet, WTF with Marc Maron. It's a typically enjoyable episode that touches on Kimmel's feud with Jay Leno, obsession with David Letterman and relationship with Sarah Silverman, and also delves into his peripatetic career in radio and television.

Before he rose to TV fame on The Man Show and Win Ben Stein's Money, Kimmel spent years in radio, working at stations around the country. And like so many other radio personalities, he pulled a shift in Tampa, as a producer for Q-105's Morning Zoo in the early '90s.

Apparently, it didn't go so well.

Let's pick up at the 35:55 mark:

KIMMEL: I got a job in Tampa, Florida, which is the worst place I ever lived.

MARON: Oh, Tampa, Florida's horrendous. The failing Ybor district.

KIMMEL: The Ybor district. Yeah.

MARON: There's an Improv there. I can't, it's just…

KIMMEL: My car was stolen, and we were burglarized in the first two days that I lived there. And I lived there for almost a year. Was fired from that job. …

MARON: Why were you fired there?

KIMMEL: General misbehavior.

MARON: Again?

KIMMEL: Again, with the, you know – I just didn't have a sense of myself. I was a very skinny kid who probably looked about five years younger than I actually was.

MARON: Were you big in the market there, though? Was your show successful?

KIMMEL: No, we weren't successful there. I was the morning show producer at that (station), and I did characters and that sort of thing on the air.

So yeah, shocking though it may seem, Jimmy Kimmel does not consider his brief tenure at the Q-105 Morning Zoo a career pinnacle. But to be fair, earlier in the interview, Kimmel does say that a chance night on the town in Tampa indirectly led to one of the bigger breaks of his career:

The program director of KROQ, which is a big station here in L.A., came to Tampa, to the radio station I was working at, we happened to go out to dinner that night, and dinner turned into a whole night, and it turned into breakfast, and to like 4 o'clock in the morning, and afterwards he was like, "Wow, this guy is really funny." And he hired me at KROQ based on hanging out with me at a diner that night.

So that's nice. The whole thing isn't very inflammatory, but hey, we know how mad St. Petersburg residents got when Cocoon actress Maureen Stapleton complained about the area's abundance of sunshine. So you never know.

We've got no beef with Maron or Kimmel -- let's face it, Ybor City CAN be pretty horrendous at times -- but what do you guys say? Should all of Tampa Bay rise up in unison and launch a feud with Kimmel over this?

-- Jay Cridlin, tbt*