Jimmy Kimmel wasted no time getting to the really important questions when Danica Patrick was on his show Monday night.
Is she a Packers fan? Who drives when she and Aaron Rodgers are together? Will she make him a punchline when she hosts the ESPY Awards?
After asking the 36-year-old race car driver how retirement was, the late-night talk show host shifted gears to the good stuff.
“I don’t know why I get a kick out of something like this. You’re dating Aaron Rodgers, the quarterback for the Green Bay Packers,” Kimmel said, to moderate audience applause. “How long have you guys been dating?”
“Since the very beginning of the year,” Patrick answered.
She told him she’s a Packers fan — “the biggest Packers fan” — but was she a Packers fan, Kimmel wanted to know. She admitted she was not, telling how she grew up near the Wisconsin-Illinois border. She was born in Beloit but was raised a Chicago Bears fan in Roscoe, Illinois
“So my dad grew up with all Packers fans, so what he says is, ‘I’m not against the Packers, I’m against the Packer fans.’ So I don’t know what that really means, because now I’m a Packers fan, so I guess we better have a talk about that.” (Preferably before that Bears-Packers season opener on Sept. 9 at Lambeau Field).
Patrick told Kimmel that Rodgers is a really good driver — not as good as she is, of course, but he’s likely had fewer tickets than she has. She confessed to once getting pulled over three times in three days.
Patrick’s appearance was in advance of the ESPY Awards, which will air at 7 p.m. Wednesday on ABC. She’s the first woman to host ESPN’s annual celebration of sports. It’s where she first met Rodgers in 2012.
She asked Kimmel, a former ESPYs host, for some advice.
“Make fun of the athletes. They’re right there. They’re the best audience,” Kimmel said. “Will you make fun of your boyfriend on the show?”
“Absolutely not,” Patrick said, then slipping in that people will have to watch to find out.
Kimmel insisted it was a must.
“You’ve got to call out the elephant in the room?” Patrick asked. “Or the hot guy in the room, I should say.”
Patrick and Rodgers spent time together last week in South Lake Tahoe, Nevada, where he golfed in the annual American Century Championship celebrity tournament. He posted a photo on Instagram of the two of them together (the first such one on his account), thanking her for being “a beautiful distraction when I started to play poorly.”