Jimmy Kimmel Says He Felt ‘Lucky’ to Grow Up in Las Vegas Even Though Some People Thought It Was ‘Weird’ (Exclusive)

During an exclusive interview with PEOPLE, the ‘Jimmy Kimmel Live!’ host recalled his favorite childhood memories in Sin City Jimmy Kimmel has nothing but pride for his hometown of Las Vegas! While chatting with PEOPLE about the city’s Excessive Celebration Encouraged campaign, the Jimmy Kimmel Live! host, 56, recalled his favorite childhood memories in Las Vegas and shared the common reaction he gets from others whenever he reveals where he grew up

Published Time: 12.02.2024 - 23:31:04 Modified Time: 12.02.2024 - 23:31:04

During an exclusive interview with PEOPLE, the ‘Jimmy Kimmel Live!’ host recalled his favorite childhood memories in Sin City

Jimmy Kimmel has nothing but pride for his hometown of Las Vegas!

While chatting with PEOPLE about the city’s Excessive Celebration Encouraged campaign, the Jimmy Kimmel Live! host, 56, recalled his favorite childhood memories in Las Vegas and shared the common reaction he gets from others whenever he reveals where he grew up.

Kimmel — whose family moved to Las Vegas from Brooklyn when he was 9 years old — tells PEOPLE he wasn’t aware that it was unique to have a home city like Las Vegas until he left Nevada. 

“I didn't know it was a weird thing to grow up in Las Vegas until I moved,” the comedian recalls. “I was living in other cities and would tell people that I grew up in Las Vegas and they couldn't believe it.”

He adds: “Of course, when you grow up in Vegas, everybody around you grew up in Vegas. So I got a different perspective on it when I left.”

Despite hearing others’ perceptions of Las Vegas once he moved, Kimmel says he’ll always be grateful for the experiences the city brought him. 

“Looking back, I feel very lucky because you do have all the good things about a small town where you play little league and go to church and do all the stuff that everybody does. But then there's all this craziness around you.”

The comedian admits that being surrounded by Elvis impersonators is not the average kid’s experience. He also remembers seeing piano legend Liberace “buying meat at the Mayfair market while wearing a hairnet” once and spotting Rat Pack member Sammy Davis Jr. at a department store.

“When I was in high school, our marching band was hired to go to Wayne Newton's house and play 'Happy -

Birthday' to wake him up in the morning,” Kimmel adds. “So we had a 100-person marching band on Wayne Newton's front porch playing 'Happy Birthday.'”

Kimmel also reflected on Sin City’s distinctive qualities that make it unlike any other major city in the country.

“You go to Las Vegas to do things you wouldn't do at home ever. You go to Las Vegas to do things you're not even legally allowed to do at home,” he says. “I always wind up staying up much, much later than I usually do and seeing crazier stuff than I usually see when I come to Vegas.”

He adds that the city is “just a good vibe in general” because “there’s no closing time” so the action is never-ending. 

“I think that's why people have so much fun in Vegas. One of the things that I like best about being there is just being around a bunch of people who are there for nothing but fun,” he shares.

Kimmel tells PEOPLE that he was excited to take part in Las Vegas's Excessive Celebration Encouraged campaign — launched by Visit Las Vegas and R&R partners — to help spread the word about “celebrating freely” in the desert oasis while the city hosted the Super Bowl for the first time ever on Sunday.

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On having the big game set in his hometown this year, Kimmel says: “It's a lot of fun. We always felt like Las Vegas was a small town, even though it's Las Vegas. So you still get that feeling when something big happens there, like the Super Bowl or the Formula One race. It's like when the circus comes to town."

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