Matt Damon and Jimmy Kimmel have now been "feuding" with each other for 15 years, ever since Kimmel randomly, told his audience after a Season 3 episode of Jimmy Kimmel Live that he had run out of time for his last guest, Matt Damon. Since then, the duo has trolled each other on Kimmel's show and off, even recruiting famous faces like Sarah Silverman, Tom Brady and Ben Affleck to help out.
During a recent interview with Jess Cagle on SiriusXM, Damon looked back on the origin of the duo's long-running joke, noting that no one he knew was watching Kimmel's show on the night the bit began. "People started to call me and ask like, 'Hey, what's your connection to this guy?'" he recalled. "And I'd never met Jimmy. And he literally pulled my name out of thin air one night. And the way he told me this story, he said, 'I had a ventriloquist and a guy in a gorilla suit as my guests. And I just said, kind of as a throw-away, my apologies to Matt Damon, we ran out of time.' He could have said, Brad Pitt. He could have said George [Clooney], he could have said somebody else."
"But he just, for some reason, maybe I had a movie out that week or something, but he just said my name," he continued. "And it changed the course of both of our lives. We've kept this a feud going for — it's gotta be 15 years now and had a lot of fun doing it." After Cagle remarked that Damon and Kimmel's "feud" has been a "long, rich relationship," the Oscar winner remarked. "As he says, it's the weirdest thing. It doesn't behave like any joke ever. He goes, 'I say the same joke every night and it gets a laugh every night. It's the weirdest thing.'"
In 2013, Kimmel told NPR how he landed on the initial idea of bringing up Damon's name at the end of his show. "We had a bad show…The guests were bad, and I was feeling pretty bad about myself at the end of the program," he recalled. "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."
Kimmel confirmed Damon's theory that there was no specific reason he named the actor. "Matt Damon was just the first name that popped into my head," he explained. "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."