Having dropped out of the Democratic presidential race, Pete Buttigieg pounded the pavement of Hollywood Boulevard in search of employment as guest-host of Jimmy Kimmel Live on Thursday night.
After bypassing Hooter’s for obvious reasons, Buttigieg ended up with an interview at Wetzel’s Pretzels, where he tried — and failed miserably — to twist some dough, before being assigned to serve samples. But even that gig appeared short-lived because Buttigieg refused to follow the manager’s orders to “shove” customers who asked for seconds.
Due to the coronavirus outbreak, the show’s studio audience consisted only of Buttigieg’s husband, Chasten, a few friends, and some Kimmel staffers — all seated at a safe distance from one another to avoid transmission. But Buttigieg made the best of it.
“This was not our plan,” Buttigieg said of the mostly empty studio during his monologue. “We just decided this a few hours ago, and it’s disappointing, because I love to crowd-surf. It’s kind of my thing.
“But the experts have told us the best way to prevent the spread of the virus is to physically stay apart, so that’s what we’re going to do. The only way we’re going to get through this crisis is with unity, so let’s do this together. Who’s with me?” he said, before showing a clip of a huge cheering crowd.
“Full disclosure, none of those people are here,” Buttigieg said. “But when you don’t have a real audience, you have to fake one, just like Trump’s inauguration.”
Following some footage of President Donald Trump’s coronavirus address from Wednesday night, Buttigieg plugged a sweeping economic stimulus bill backed by Democrats, before showing a clip of Trump’s sons cheering. “See, they’re even on board,” he said.
Acknowledging that it’s a time of great anxiety for the nation, Buttigieg offered “living proof that America will always be America,” showing a clip of Sarah Palin performing on The Masked Singer on Wednesday night.
“That’s gonna be me in three months, isn’t it?” he quipped.
Buttigieg outfitted the show’s crew with leftover “Pete 2020” T-shirts and hats, and taught Kimmel’s sidekick, Guillermo Rodriguez, to pronounce his last name.
“A lot of folks are wondering how I ended up getting booked to host this show, and all I can say is, that Iowa caucus app really screwed everything up,” Buttigieg said.
“Some people have been skeptical about me hosting a show like this. They’re like, ‘You’re too inexperienced,'” he said. “Well, a lot of people said I’d never get elected president, and I showed them. …
“As you know I dropped out of the presidential race last week, which was unfortunate, but what can I say: Some candidates know when it’s time to get out of the race, and some candidates are Tulsi Gabbard,” he said.
“I really thought we had a shot, but it turns out I was about 40 years too young, and 38 years too gay,” Buttigieg said. “Although we didn’t win, we did achieve some pretty big milestones. I’m the first gay person ever to win a presidential primary, and the first gay man in 30 years to wear pleated pants. We all have our journey.”
Buttigieg later interviewed Tony Hale from Veep, and Sir Patrick Stewart, aka Captain Jean-Luc Picard. A lifelong Star Trek fan, Buttigieg even squared off against Stewart in a trivia game, “Who’s the Captain Now?”
Watch below to find out who won.