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The actor took control of Kimmel’s late-night show Thursday night, starting with the credits — the ABC show’s title was tweaked to Jimmy Kimmel Sucks and the host’s face had been defaced — and continuing through the monologue, guest interviews and conclusion of the show.
The show started out with the video that had been released earlier in the day of Damon with a bound and gagged Kimmel, whom he had kidnapped. After the credits rolled — where all the guests, including the musical act, were announced as being “Matt Damon” — the actor wheeled Kimmel out on stage, still tied up with duct tape and gagged with a necktie.
“Welcome to tonight’s episode of Jimmy Kimmel Sucks. I am your host, Matt Damon,” he said. “Let me ask you this, as an audience is it weird to see a person with actual talent host this show?”
Damon went on to explain that Kimmel had bumped him from the show “1,205 times” — a reference to when Kimmel first started his talk show and began signing off with the line “Apologies to Matt Damon, we ran out of time” — the joke being that no guest that he had on air possessed the star power of Damon.
He said he’d been “waiting for this moment for a long, long time. This is like when I lost my virginity except this is gonna last way longer than one second.”
Damon also likened himself to Luke Skywalker and Kimmel to the Death Star, saying of Kimmel: “He’s big and round and easily destroyed through his garbage hole.”
He continued: “Look at Jimmy over there, with a gag in his mouth. You’ve never been funnier, my friend. Jimmy Kimmel is to late-night talk show hosts what Magic Johnson is to … late-night talk show hosts.”
Damon also went on to make some changes at the show, including replacing sidekick Guillermo with Andy Garcia — who came complete with heavy, Guillermo-like accent — and bandleader Cleto Escobedo Jr. with Sheryl Crow (who later performed her new single, “Easy”). Ben Affleck also popped up as a cue-card holder who demonstrated his loyalty to Kimmel, while Robin Williams dropped by to do jokes during the monologue.
“This is unbelievable — it took Jimmy 10 years to accomplish what I just accomplished in 90 seconds,” Damon said of the show’s changes.
He explained that the origin of all the “hatred and bitterness” is that Kimmel is an aspiring actor and Damon has beaten him out for every role he wanted. A video of Kimmel’s “auditions” showed him trying out for roles in Good Will Hunting, Adjustment Bureau, Happy Feet 2, We Bought a Zoo, Stuck on You and The Bourne Ultimatum, during which Kimmel was confused about who was playing Jason Bourne despite the fact that the movie was the third in the Damon-starring franchise.
A slew of A-listers popped up as guests — Nicole Kidman, Gary Oldman, Amy Adams, Reese Witherspoon and Demi Moore — all of whom continued the joke, saying that Kimmel “f—ing sucks” (Kidman), is a liar who once cooked DiGiorno’s Pizza and passed it off as homemade (Moore) and slipped the tongue during an on-air kiss (Adams).
At one point, Damon quipped: “Jimmy is always complaining about how hard it is it book celebrities on this show. We’re only halfway through and I’ve booked seven big celebrities — and that’s not even counting me!”
Several other famous faces — along with Kimmel’s parents — also appeared in recorded videos to praise Damon. Said Don Cheadle: “Thank you for allowing America to laugh again.” Kimmel’s parents, meanwhile, told Damon that he was “the son we always wanted.”
Damon also brought out Kimmel’s ex, Sarah Silverman, with whom Damon shot the “I’m F—ing Matt Damon” video that went viral in 2008 (Kimmel and Affleck later released a follow-up, “I’m F—ing Ben Affleck”). Silverman described her relationship with Kimmel to the fill-in host.
“You know when you’re in New York and you pass those hot dog vendors and you think, ‘I’m not going to eat one, it’s not for me,’ and then the smell gets to you, and you pound two or three of them? And then later on, you’re puking, ‘Why did I put this inside of me?’ And you think about the encasing and all the entrails that are probably in there? So I guess it’s like that.”
Kimmel, incidentally, barely uttered a word during the entire episode despite being onstage the entire time.
At the end of the show, Damon asked Kimmel: “Is there anything you want to say before we wrap things up? Wait, I’m sorry, we’re out of time.”
During the East Coast airing, Kimmel tweeted: “You win this round Matt Damon. But I will win the war.”
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