“Every time I got bumped off this show it left a mark. But if you bump a man long enough a night will come when he bumps you back,” so said Matt Damon during the opening monologue of his hostile takeover of “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” Thursday night.
Kimmel, who is celebrating his tenth anniversary of hosting the show and will be moving to the 11:35 pm timeslot to compete with lifelong idol David Letterman, has used the same signoff each night for a decade: “Apologies to Matt Damon, we ran out of time.”
On Thursday night Damon finally got his revenge, hosting “Jimmy Kimmel Sucks” while the regular host looked on, gagged and duct-taped to a swivel chair in the background. Damon was joined by Robin Williams, Sarah Silverman, and Ben Affleck, and even replaced Kimmel’s sidekicks with Andy Garcia and Sheryl Crow.
Silverman’s appearance was especially popular because she dated Kimmel for five years and was involved in Damon’s first would-be retaliation against the host. During an interview on “Live” years ago, Silverman debuted a confessional song she’d been working on with Kimmel’s punch line called, poignantly, “I’m F*@#ing Matt Damon.”
The video went viral and Kimmel would eventually return the favor by making a similar song about Damon’s friend Ben Affleck, who would (hilariously) stay loyal to Kimmel on Thursday night’s show.
Maybe the reason Damon’s version of the show had the Internet buzzing so quickly was because the celebrities on the show were clearly having fun. The late night shows - essential viewing during the time of Johnny Carson and David Letterman - have turned into vapid public relations opportunities for stars promoting new movies.
Like Jimmy Fallon, Kimmel has quickly gained traction with the younger demographic because he’s been able to turn the format into a loose, almost surreal atmosphere where the biggest movie stars in the world just might be willing to take a chance.