Since nearly his show’s inception, Jimmy Kimmel has closed every episode with, “Apologies to Matt Damon, we ran out of time.” And despite regular appearances to play off the gag, tonight marks the first time EVER Matt Damon will appear on Jimmy Kimmel Live as a legitimate guest (MD doesn’t go on past midnight, y’all). To commemorate the occasion I’ve compiled this abbreviated guide/refresher to how a simple throwaway line early in the show’s history snowballed into a fake Hollywood feud for the ages. All video clips start at the exact moment necessary so as to not waste any time.
To begin let’s dial back the clock to the mid-naughts when the show wasn’t, um, quite the success it is today. Kimmel recently explained in an interview with NPR:
“We had a bad show. … The guests were bad, and I was feeling pretty bad about myself at the end of the program. And I decided to say, for the amusement of one of our producers who was standing next to me … ‘I want to apologize to Matt Damon. We ran out of time.’ … And he got a kick out of it, the producer, so I just started doing it every night to amuse him.
“Matt Damon was just the first name that popped into my head. I was trying to think of an A-list star, and somebody we absolutely would not bump if he was on the show. … The legs on this bit are unbelievable to me. I mean, people laugh every time I say it. … Repeating the same joke every single night, you’d think eventually people would get tired of it, but they don’t.”
Here’s a quick cut up of the gag that the JKL YouTube channel released earlier this week. It ends with a clip from Kimmel’s 2006 primetime special where Jimmy took so long to introduce Matt that — of course — time ran out.
Damon turned the tables on Kimmel in 2008 with the help of Jimmy’s then girlfriend, Sarah Silverman, and a little ditty your mom may even have heard of: “I’m F*cking Matt Damon.”
Which of course Jimmy responded to in 2009 with his own version entitled “I’m F*cking Ben Affleck.” Damon agreed to cameo on Entourage he was so heartbroken.
The Bourne Ultimatum later became a prop to escalate the feud.
This led to Jimmy being evicted from The Handsome Men’s Club.
UPDATE: Thanks to commenter Latrell for the reminder of the Movie: The Movie slight.
All of which lead up to tonight, where Jimmy Kimmel welcomes Matt Damon on his show for the first time with this official statement: “May God help Damon if he dares show his stupid face.” Oh yeah, here’s the promo that just went live:
Consider yourself refreshed.