Last Updated: March 2018
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.”