Matt Damon paid a touching tribute to his father this weekend in his opening monologue on Saturday Night Live.
This was Damon's second time hosting SNL, though the first was 16 years ago — or as he explained "five Jason Bournes ago." The actor has been through a lot since then, including the passing of his beloved father.
Damon's parents divorced when he was 2 years old. He and his brother moved to Cambridge, Massachusetts, with their mother while their father remained in Newton. However, as he explained in his monologue, they had one special tradition with their dad that meant a lot to him, and has continued to resonate to this day.
"It really does mean a lot to me to be he here tonight," he confessed. "Growing up, my brother and I would go to my dad's house every other weekend. He told us that if we could stay up until 1 a.m., we could watch Saturday Night Live. So, week after week I tried to stay up, and it wasn't until I was 8 years old that I made it all the way to the end."
"I probably didn't get all the jokes," the actor went on, "but I laughed at everything that my dad laughed at. And although it was way past our bedtime, my dad knew that there was nothing more important in the world than to laugh with the people that you love."
Beyond the fond childhood memories, there was a timely element to Damon's tribute as well. His father, stockbroker Kent Telfer Damon, passed away last December, and Damon's own family is now around the same age that he was when SNL first made such a big impression on him.
"My father passed away a year ago yesterday," he said. "Tonight, my big brother is in Boston right now watching with his two boys, and all my kids are here, including my youngest, who happens to be 8 years old. My wife and I told her that she can stay up all the way until 1 a.m., and she can watch Saturday Night Live. And she said, 'Who's hosting?'"
Damon's story was met with a collective "aww" from the audience, as well as a giggle where it was appropriate. In the end, he raised a toast to "all the moms and dads who let their kids stay up too late for all the right reasons."
The heartfelt monologue was something of a departure for SNL. It had only a few punch lines and just one brief cast member cameo. Still, it seemed to suit the show, especially considering that, as Damon pointed out, he had no movie to promote and he was only hosting because he wanted to.
Photo Credit: Will Heath / NBC