After years of being “bumped” from ABC’s late night talker “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” Matt Damon hijacked ABC’s ‘Jimmy Kimmel Live” Thursday night, swapping out the usual parade of B and C listers for an Embalmed Famous Faces Parade that included Nicole Kidman, Demi Moore, Gary Oldman and RobinWilliams.
[UPDATE: ABC announced it will rerun the Damon-hosted “Jimmy Kimmel Live” in primetime — Tuesday night at 10 p.m.]
Mostly they discussed why they had always refused to appear on Kimmel’s show, or been scarred by the experience; Reese Witherspoon brought booze and Kidman stole the spoons out of the green room.
Matt Damon opens hijacked show:
The show pounded Jay Leno’s by 62 percent and Dave Letterman by 120 percent among 18-49 year old viewers who are the currency of network ad sales, ABC boasted Friday morning. Early indications are the Damon-hosted show clocked “JKL’s ” biggest overall audience since moving to the earlier 11:35 p.m. timeslot. More on that later as stats come in...
Williams took over for Damon to deliver the opening-monologue gags, while hopefully teaching the show’s producers how to integrate a product plug into the program in a way less cringe-inducing to viewers, joking about his relationship with Siri on his iPhone.
Robin Williams performs product placement:
Also part of the upgrade: the show’s sidekick/ethnic gag Guillermo was replace with Andy Garcia, who continued to “speak in Guillermo’s broken English accent” – that’s how ABC News delicately handled it.
In another major upgrade, Kimmel’s childhood pal turned show bandleader was swapped out for Sheryl Crow, who was also the night’s musical guest, performing her new single.
Matt Damon swaps out sidekick and band leader:
Those who couldn’t be there sent videos of congratulations to “The Bourne Identity” star, including Robert De Niro, Oprah Winfrey, Jennifer Lopez, Sally Field, John Krasinski, and Don Cheadle.
Kimmel, duct-taped to a chair shoved to the back of the stage and with his necktie stuffed in his mouth, did some of his best comedy in ages. Turns out, he’s got very funny eyes and makes a great sidekick.
“There’s a new host in town and his initials are M.D. That’s right, the doctor is in,” Damon snickered at the top of the show. “I am Luke Skywalker and [Kimmel] is the Death Star -- big and round and easily destroyed by his garbage hole.”
Matt Damon interviews his first guest:
The stunt was part of the publicity machine behind the show’s move this month into the same timeslot as David Letterman and Jay Leno.
For those not in on the gag, Damon put Kimmel’s show on the map back in January 2008 when Kimmel’s then-girlfriend Sarah Silverman surprised him with a birthday gift — a video called “I’m F------ Matt Damon,” in which she and Damon sang a duet about all the places they were supposedly having sex behind Kimmel’s back.
The video went viral, and Kimmel had the good sense to follow it, a month later, with his own response video, “I’m F------ Ben Affleck,” which was jammed with celebrity cameos. That September, Silverman won a Creative Arts Emmy for writing the first song, and Kimmel was a made man.
Affleck also showed up on Thursday’s “JKL,” as a cue-card guy and Kimmel’s only friend. Affleck held up cue cards describing Kimmel as a great guy and a good lover, which Damon – who can read cue-cards as well as any late night host – read before realizing what he was reading and stopped, and Affleck stormed off the stage.
Silverman also put in an appearance – she was Damon’s final guest and, when he asked if if there was anything she’d like to say to Kimmel while he was bound and gagged, the perky potty-mouthed comic responded uncharacteristically, “No, I’m good!” – a nod to the show’s earlier start time?