Last Updated: December 2018
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.