Keep your friends close and your frenemies closer. Jimmy Kimmel says that, amid their long-running “feud,” Matt Damon and pal Ben Affleck offered to pitch in and help cover his Jimmy Kimmel Live staff’s salaries during the ongoing Hollywood strikes.
Kimmel joined forces with fellow late-night hosts Jimmy Fallon, Stephen Colbert, Seth Meyers and John Oliver to launch the Strike Force Five podcast on Spotify earlier this week, with the proceeds set to benefit their respective out-of-work staffers as the Writer’s Guild of America strike — which began in May — continues. In its debut episode, Kimmel reveals his real-life friends’ generosity.
“Ben Affleck and the despicable Matt Damon contacted me and offered to pay our staff,” Kimmel shares, referencing the decades-long gag in which Kimmel has made a tradition of ending his broadcasts with, “Apologies to Matt Damon, but we ran out of time,” even though Damon was not scheduled to appear on the show.
The joke has hilariously evolved since its 2005 inception, with Affleck even getting involved by “smuggling” Damon on Kimmel’s show under his oversized jacket in 2016. Most recently, Affleck stopped by the program to promote his film, Air, in 2023 and delivered a bit involving a surprise FaceTime call with his best friend.
Back to the strike: Kimmel continues his podcast remarks by noting that Affleck and Damon “wanted to pay out of their own pockets,” suggesting they could each cover one week’s worth of his employees’ salaries. Fallon chimes in, agreeing that the duo are “good people.”
Kimmel says that he ultimately turned down the offer, saying, “I felt that that was not their responsibility.” The confession prompts teasing from his fellow hosts, with Meyers asking if the offer was “transferable” and Colbert wondering, “Could you say yes and then give your money to us?”
Ryan Reynolds also apparently proposed to chip in and support Kimmel’s staff, offering them free Mint Mobile service for a year. Mint Mobile serves as one of the podcast’s sponsors.
Strike Force Five was created after the men had a series of private Zoom calls every week to discuss the serious issues that surround work stoppage.
“What happened instead was a series of hilarious and compelling conversations,” a press release for the podcast states. “Now, Colbert, Fallon, Kimmel, Meyers and Oliver invite you to listen in on their once-private chats on this all-new podcast.”
Strike Force Five will have a limited 12-week run on Spotify.