Hollywood’s most celebrated fake feud reached its epic climax Thursday when Matt Damon took over “Jimmy Kimmel Live” for the night. It was an hour of sweet, highly entertaining revenge for the Oscar-winning star, who’s been “bumped” from Kimmel’s show hundreds of times over the years. With his nemesis bound and gagged in a chair to the rear of the stage, Damon had free rein over the entire broadcast, which he kindly renamed “Jimmy Kimmel Sucks.” It all began with a monologue in which Damon ruthlessly taunted Kimmel (sample dialogue: “I am Luke Skywalker and Kimmel is the Death Star — big and round and easily destroyed through his garbage hole”) and proved himself an adept stand-up performer.
From there, Damon upgraded Kimmel’s supporting players, tossing aside bandleader Cleto and sidekick Guillermo in favor of Sheryl Crow and Andy Garcia. He also revealed the true origins of their bitter rivalry: It turns out that Kimmel, a failed actor, really just resents Damon for beating him out for parts in “Good Will Hunting,” “The Bourne Ultimatum” and “The Adjustment Bureau.” Damon even had the audition tapes to prove it. Pouring salt in Kimmel’s wounds, Damon proceeded to interview a cavalcade of big-name stars, many of whom had never graced Kimmel’s couch before: Nicole Kidman, Amy Adams, Gary Oldman. Demi Moore and Reese Witherspoon, who just so happened to be walking by the studio, made spur-of-the-moment visits, but not until they’d been assured Kimmel wasn’t hosting. As if that weren’t enough, Ben Affleck, Robert De Niro, Don Cheadle, Sally Field, and her royal highness Oprah Winfrey made cameo appearances.
The Damon feud began as a self-deprecating joke about Kimmel’s inability to book famous stars back when his show was brand new, but when an A-list movie star is willing to take over hosting duties for a night, well, it’s pretty clear you’ve arrived.