Matt Damon‘s “abduction” of Jimmy Kimmel and subsequent takeover of his archenemy’s late-night ABC talker reeked of being gimmicky — the latest noisy ploy to draw attention to Jimmy Kimmel Live‘s new, earlier timeslot. And yet in its execution (and in part perhaps because I sipped a Monster Energy Drink too close to bedtime), it proved to be a can’t-quite-look-away event.
The “evil,” cackling Damon intro was too predictable, as he revealed his bound-and-gagged captive after a montage recapped Kimmel’s ongoing joke of “bumping” the actor from 1,000-plus shows. But soon enough it became a fun exercise in “Who’s next on Matt’s Rolodex,” starting with [spoiler alert] fellow Ocean’s franchise star Andy Garcia stepping in for Guillermo — accent and all.
After Damon used Siri to find a comedian to deliver the monologue (Robin Williams, covertly reminding folks he’s available for pilot season) and intro’d Sheryl Crow as his bandleader, guests started filling the couch — not to tout their latest project or make any semblance of small talk, but merely to blatantly tee up the next guest. (Example: Who’s an actor Nicole Kidman admires? Boom, here’s Gary Oldman!)
Damon at one point even boasted that “you couldn’t throw a rock” and not hit an A-list star. Cue “Guillermo” outside, literally throwing rocks to turn up two more guests (the latter of which was, heavy sigh, barely physically recognizable).
Throughout the rechristened Jimmy Kimmel Sucks! telecast, Damon incessantly taunted an in-the-background Kimmel about his better version of the show, while each guest shared “horror stories” from their previous visits to the show. (Amy Adams was particularly into this bit of theater; if you kept your eye on her even as others spoke, she stayed “in character” every bit of the way.) There was also a pre-taped bit in which Kimmel quite unsuccessfully auditioned for several of Damon’s film roles. (“The Adjustment Bureau!”)
Capping the outing, Sarah Silverman swung by to too-briefly snark about ex-boyfriend Kimmel, then Crow served up a new song of hers.
I’ve shared a few clips below, for you to watch for the first time or revisit. What did you think of “Jimmy Kimmel Sucks”?
UPDATE: Damon’s “takeover” gave JKL its second-best demo delivery since the move to 11:35.