Last Updated: November 2019
Why does Jimmy Kimmel hate Matt Damon? It seems like a fair question to ask if you just picked up on the occasional random insult and over-the-top appearance that one of them makes to fire a shot at the other. In truth, their “feud” goes back years. That’s why we’ve compiled this abbreviated guide/refresher to how a simple throwaway line early in the show’s history snowballed into a fake Hollywood beef for the ages.
To begin let’s dial back the clock to the mid-aughts when the show wasn’t, um, quite the success it is today. Kimmel 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.”
Of course, Jimmy responded to in 2009 with his own version, “I’m F*cking Ben Affleck.” Damon agreed to cameo on Entourage because he was so heartbroken.
The Bourne Ultimatum later became a prop to escalate the feud.
This led to Jimmy being ejected from The Handsome Men’s Club.
Then of course there was the slight found in Movie: The Movie.
All of which lead to Jimmy Kimmel welcoming Matt Damon on his show for the first time with this official statement: “May God help Damon if he dares show his stupid face.” Damon took a combative approach:
You can watch the highlights from that takeover show right here.
Damon would later make it back onto Jimmy Kimmel Live as part of the cast of The Monuments Men. Unfortunately, technical difficulties kept him from answering any of Kimmel’s questions.
Because things may have gone a little too far, Jimmy and Matt tried couples counseling.
It didn’t seem to pan out, as Damon was still waiting to go on Kimmel, and even offered fans to wait with him.
After that, their rivalry came to a head following the 2016 Oscars, as Ben Affleck intervened to help resolve the feud. Kimmel wasn’t having any of it, though.
For the world premiere of Jason Bourne in Las Vegas, a mulleted “Matthew from South Detroit” crashed Aunt Chippy’s game of blackjack, much to Kimmel’s chagrin.
With tensions reaching a high point, the two gave couples counseling another go.
After insults were hurled about his man bun, Damon then launched an attack ad on Kimmel’s run for VP.
Not satisfied, Damon then chastised Kimmel for his 2016 Emmy loss.
The day after the Patriots shocking Super Bowl victory, Damon used a little trickery to sneak his way back onto the show to fool Kimmel.
The gag was worthy of a celebration.
The following week, Damon and Kimmel faced off over paternity on Maury and it ended with a surprise guest taking the spotlight.
— ABC News (@ABC) February 27, 2017
And during the presentation for Best Original Screenplay, Kimmel did just that.
Kimmel jumped on the opportunity to tie the United fiasco to his everlasting Damon feud in April of 2017 as well.
The pair took a break with feuding up until Damon decided to butt in on Kimmel’s interview with Chris Hemsworth about Thor: Ragnarok in October 2017.
Kimmel and Damon again reignited their bitterness in October 2017, this time for the sake of Autism Awareness in Jon Stewart’s Night Of Too Many Stars. They even invited a lucky fan to take part in their feud with an Omaze-awarded invitation to an “awkward dinner.”
George Clooney was even roped into their feud when he brought his twins onto Jimmy Kimmel Live, brought by none other than Matt Damon aka Clooney’s “manny.”
Kimmel turned Damon into a supervillain later that year for a star-packed superhero trailer in honor of Kimmel’s 50th birthday.
In March, Jimmy Kimmel hosted the 2018 Oscars, and surprisingly, Matt Damon didn’t make an appearance. Kimmel didn’t let up, though, apologizing for Damon’s presence in a tribute video to the military and falling back on his familiar remark at the show’s conclusion over running out of time for Damon.
Kimmel wished his frenemy a Happy 60th Birthday after that, only he was off by a few years.
The pair were spotted together at Game 5 of the 2018 World Series, with both Kimmel and Damon sporting very tasteful “I’m With Stupid” t-shirts.
The rivalry was on hold for awhile, right up until Kimmel enlisted Tom Brady to re-ignite it by firing a football into Damon’s kid’s window. The act of vandalism was quickly forgotten, though, as Mr. We Bought A Zoo himself was way more excited about meeting the football legend.
In November, Damon appeared on the Bill Simmons podcast, for which he reiterated the origins of this whole grand affair as previously explained by Kimmel to NPR. The Good Will Hunting actor explained how, the first time he met Kimmel, he asked, “What’s the deal … why me?” The host responded that he was simply cracking the inside joke about not being able to book guests, and he could have used any actor’s name, but Damon’s name slipped out of his mouth. Finally, Damon confirmed that the fake feud is not in hiatus, and hopefully, we can expect much more juicy conflict to come.
— Bill Simmons (@BillSimmons) November 13, 2019
Consider yourself refreshed.