Jimmy Kimmel’s Wife Molly McNearney Reveals Tom Cruise & Rihanna Oscars Jokes You Didn’t Hear!

There’s more where that came from!

In the days following the star-studded 95th Academy Awards, we still find ourselves looking back on all the goodies we were blessed with… From Lady GaGa and Rihanna performances, to a new Little Mermaid trailer, to Everything Everywhere All at Once SWEEPING all the awards… It was definitely a night to remember — partly a credit to Jimmy Kimmel hilariously — and efficiently — hosting. But apparently, there were TONS more jokes that didn’t make the cut of the 3+ hour show!

Related: The BEST Of Jimmy’s Oscars 2023 Opening Monologue!

Jimmy Kimmel Live executive producer — and Jimmy’s wife of 10 years — Molly McNearney told Variety Monday that just MINUTES before the prestigious ceremony kicked off, a finalized version of the host’s monologue still hadn’t been set in stone… And Rihanna is the reason why! She revealed: 

“We had two versions of the monologue. One if Rihanna was in her seat, one if she was not in her seat. One if Rihanna had her baby on her lap, which she wanted to do. And one if her baby was not on her lap. A lot of our jokes were kind of at the mercy of people being in their seats.”

If you remember, the show opened with Jimmy descending from the rafters in a parachute following his Top Gun: Maverick skit, and Molly recalled shouting him notes just moments before:

“As they were pulling Jimmy up on that harness for the open, we’re shouting up to him, ‘Rihanna is not in her seat! We’re going to adjust the prompter!’”

Really down to the wire, LOLz! We can only imagine what he had in store for the Love on the Brain singer… 

As for other specific shout-outs, the 45-year-old producer revealed that before Tom Cruise officially made the call to not attend, Kimmel had planned to dedicate a decent portion of his monologue to celebrating the star for helping save the movie industry with his 2022 blockbuster: 

“Jimmy loves Tom. Tom had just been on the show the week before. And they talked about seeing each other and Jimmy was excited to tell him that we got real Navy pilots to do the flyover at the top of the Oscars. Jimmy was really disappointed he didn’t come.”

She continued:

“We had about a three minute chunk of the monologue dedicated to Tom Cruise, honoring him and his role in reviving the movie industry. We were so disappointed when we learned a few days before the Oscars that he wouldn’t be there. Jimmy loves him and really wanted to celebrate him.”

Other sources have claimed Tom didn’t attend the ceremony because he wanted to avoid ex Nicole Kidman. But Variety hinted that Tom actually pulled out because he believed Judd Apatow, who previously roasted the Mission: Impossible star at the DGA Awards, was involved in Jimmy’s monologue, but Molly wants to make it clear that wasn’t the case:

“Jimmy tends to send his monologue to a group of people he trusts, comedy writers and comedians. They don’t help with the monologue. They just tell him like that joke’s working, that joke’s not working. No, Judd was not writing or doing anything for the monologue.”

As for the heavy focus on jokes this year over flashy pre-recorded productions or skits, the producer explained: 

“We’ve put a ton of time and energy into these big produced bits, whether they be live, like we did with the movie theater break-in or the Hollywood tour bus that surprised people and brought them in. We’ve also done bigger pre-taped things like we’ve done with Matt Damon. We discovered that those are a ton of work and without a lot of payoff. So, we decided to stick with some simplicity, jokes and focus on the people in the room. I think it went well, but it was risky for us. Because we tend to lean on these bigger produced bits. But we just broke it down to the jokes. And we wrote, I think, 17 rounds of jokes. I mean, we have stacks and stacks of jokes that will never be seen.”

Ooh, we want to see all the stacks of ones they decided were too harsh! LOLz! Molly added that the whittling down was a lot more complicated than you might think:

“You do have to cut jokes on movies that you don’t think the home audience has seen. We had a lot more jokes about Tár, we had some about To Leslie, we had jokes about all the movies, but it’s a real balance of making jokes about what that room has seen and what the home audience has seen. Thankfully, we had a Top Gun / Avatar year with the blockbuster movies. It’s really hard because jokes that would do really well with industry people, people at home don’t know what you’re talking about. You’ve got to try to please both audiences at the same time, which is a balancing act for sure.”

It all seemed to work out! We just can’t stop thinking about those extra Rihanna and Tom goodies, LOLz! Watch the full monologue (below):

Did YOU enjoy this year’s Oscars, Perezcious readers? Let us know in the comments down below!

[Images via ABC & KSDK News/YouTube & MEGA/WENN]

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