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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

<p>Gilbert Flores/Variety via Getty</p> Jimmy Kimmel at the Los Angeles premiere of "The Greatest Night In Pop" in Jan. 2024.

Gilbert Flores/Variety via Getty

Jimmy Kimmel at the Los Angeles premiere of "The Greatest Night In Pop" in Jan. 2024.
  • Jimmy Kimmel opened up about his experience growing up in Las Vegas during an exclusive interview with PEOPLE.

  • The comedian revealed that the city gave him the best of both worlds as a kid because it offered small town qualities mixed with a little bit of "craziness."

  • Kimmel teamed up with Visit Las Vegas to spread the word about how fun the city is as his hometown prepared to host the Super Bowl for the first time on Sunday.

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.”

Related: Jimmy Kimmel Reveals How to Do Las Vegas Like a Local Ahead of Super Bowl (Exclusive)

<p>Getty</p> Downtown Las Vegas.

Getty

Downtown Las Vegas.

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.'”

Related: Jimmy Kimmel Jokes His Wife Tries to Avoid Sex Every Valentine's Day: 'It's Our Annual Tradition' (Exclusive)

<p> Denise Truscello/Getty Images for Jimmy Kimmel's Comedy Club</p> Jimmy Kimmel at Jimmy Kimmel's Comedy Club in Las Vegas.

Denise Truscello/Getty Images for Jimmy Kimmel's Comedy Club

Jimmy Kimmel at Jimmy Kimmel's Comedy Club in Las Vegas.

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.

Related: Patrick Mahomes Wins 2024 Super Bowl MVP After Kansas City Chiefs Defeat San Francisco 49ers

<p>Jimmy Kimmel/Instagram</p> Jimmy Kimmel and Guillermo Rodriguez in front of Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas before the 2024 Super Bowl.

Jimmy Kimmel/Instagram

Jimmy Kimmel and Guillermo Rodriguez in front of Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas before the 2024 Super Bowl.

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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Read the original article on People.