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Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Damon repays Kimmel for years of TV abuse

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NEW YORK -- Matt Damon had his revenge.

The butt of a long-running joke on ABC's Jimmy Kimmel Live, the actor opened Thursday night's show as a kidnapper who tied Kimmel to a chair with duct tape and gagged him with his own tie.

"There's a new host in town and his initials are M.D.," Damon said. "That's right, the doctor is in."

For years, Kimmel has joked at the end of his show that he ran out of time and was unable to bring Damon on as a guest. Kimmel was the silent one Thursday, watching from the back of the stage as Damon did his job.

Damon tormented Kimmel by bringing on a succession of big-name guests. Robin Williams stopped by to finish the monologue. Ben Affleck had a walk-on role. Sheryl Crow was the bandleader and performed her new single. Nicole Kidman, Gary Oldman, Amy Adams, Reese Witherspoon and Demi Moore all crowded the talk show's couch.

"I've been waiting for this moment for a long, long time," Damon said. "This is like when I lost my virginity, except this is going to last way longer than one second."

Damon's guest hosting turn came at a key time for Kimmel. ABC earlier this month moved the show to 10:35 p.m. after a decade of airing it a half hour later, putting him in direct competition with Jay Leno and David Letterman.

Thursday's special program aimed for the same water-cooler status as a memorably lewd short film Damon made for the show a few years ago with Kimmel's then-girlfriend, Sarah Silverman. It went viral and remains probably the best-known skit in the show's history.

To twist the knife even further, Damon brought Silverman on as his final guest Thursday night, with Kimmel looking on forlornly as she likened their five-year relationship to an unfortunate trip to a hot dog vendor.

"Is there anything you'd like to say to Jimmy?" Damon asked.

"No, I'm good," Silverman replied.

Then came the sweetest revenge of all, with Damon promising to ungag Kimmel in the show's final minutes.

"Wait," he said. "I'm sorry. We're out of time."

-- The Associated Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 26, 2013 G2

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