“In The Bachelor vernacular, I think I’m pretty awesome,” bragged Tom Hanks genially on Thursday’s Jimmy Kimmel Live! It’s hard to argue, what with the multiple Oscars, playing literally every notable white man who’s ever lived, and not being Tim Allen. Still, Kimmel had a test for his esteemed guest, challenging Hanks’ “reputation for being wonderful and perfect in every way” with a little light larceny. “I fear nothing,” boasted Hanks before Kimmel dared the Hollywood icon to walk to the tourist trap gift shop next to Kimmel’s studio and come back with one of the benignly grinning Tom Hanks standees all such places carry.
“Watch this,” said Hanks, even before Kimmel had to double-dog-dare, grabbing a suspiciously handy wireless mic and striding purposefully out onto Sunset Boulevard. And perhaps Hanks did a little more crowd work than the average guy planning a low-level heist (he worked the store like he was playing Vegas), but when Tom Hanks comes to steal a Tom Hanks, Tom Hanks steals a Tom Hanks. He also took a few precious seconds to indulge one of Kimmel’s longest-running bits, furthering the Jimmy Kimmel-Matt Damon feud by defacing a Damon cutout with a blackout out tooth, black eye, and some Tom Hanks-esque wholesome forehead graffiti. (“You are a dope.”) For good measure, Hanks also swiped an armload of Academy Awards from the gift shop, presumably because he’s filling out an Oscar statue chess set. “I’m Tom Hanks and I’m stealing this standee!,” Hanks called out as he left the store, because he is, in fact, Tom Hanks.
Working his way back through the Hollywood Boulevard lookie-loos (who got more than they could have hoped for, frankly) with protection/henchman work from Kimmel’s trusty sidekick Guillermo Rodriguez, Hanks further incriminated himself by stealing a street sausage. (He had Guillermo slip the nice vendor lady a twenty-he’s Tom Hanks, after all.) Returning with his booty in hand, Hanks defiantly set up his cardboard likeness right behind Kimmel’s desk, ordering that he be left in place to supervise the rest of the show. (Second guest Pamela Adlon was thrilled, having chickened out at meeting the three-dimensional Hanks backstage.)
Overall, a pretty successful piece of illegal silliness, something that Kimmel should have seen coming from his illustrious guest earlier in their interview, when Hanks whipped out the voluminous, top secret talking points memo from the “Disney Corporate Vertical Integration Marketing Division.” Defying the hard, attorneys-vetted dos and don’ts of his (and Kimmel’s) corporate overlords, Hanks read off some of the sample questions and PR strategies he was in no way supposed to let Kimmel see. Because, what are they going to do? He’s Tom Hanks.