Last week, late night TV talk show host Jimmy Kimmel launched the video "I'm F---ing Ben Affleck" in retaliation for his girlfriend and fellow comedian Sarah Silverman's viral video "I'm F---ing Matt Damon." He spoke to Ramin Setoodeh. Excerpts:
NEWSWEEK: Could you tell me how this whole thing got started? Did Sarah go behind your back and record the video with Matt Damon?
Jimmy Kimmel: That was a genuine surprise. She brought it on the show and showed it. It was supposed to be for my 40th-birthday show. But instead, since we were on strike, we aired it during my fifth-anniversary show.
You saw it live for the first time with everyone else?
Yeah. I didn't even know what was on the tape. It may be the first time I've been actually surprised on the show.
Did you pee yourself laughing?
No. I have pretty good control of my bladder.
Then you decided to make a video with Ben Affleck?
To be honest, I didn't think, "What am I going to do to retaliate?" because it seemed pretty invulnerable. Somebody here had the idea of Ben Affleck, and [Affleck] said, "I was thinking the same thing," and it all came together very quickly. We only shot one day, Ben and I. The next day we did studio shots. We did it on a Wednesday. We started in the morning and finished at 7 o'clock.
Did you tell Sarah?
I tried to keep it a secret, but it became too difficult. Then I realized there's no point to keeping it a secret.
Which one's better?
They're both good. But I think you have to give the edge to hers, because it's the original.
But you get points, I think, because you had more stars in yours than there were at the Oscars.
Maybe so. It really was amazing. Once Harrison Ford came onboard, it convinced a lot of people to do it.
Yes, but getting Harrison Ford is no small feat.
He ran into either Jennifer Garner or Casey Affleck at some dinner party, and he was talking about Sarah's video. They said Ben's doing one with Jimmy. Ben said you should call Harrison Ford and ask him if he wants to be in it. Right away he said yes.
How did you get Brad Pitt?
We just called and asked him. We sent the idea, and he thought it was funny, and made a little time for it.
Yes, she was in it.
These are hard people to get! They were all there on the same day, and you're very casual about it.
It's usually hard to get celebrities to do things. Now I realize if you have something good, it's not as hard.
Will there be another round?
I don't know where we go from here.
I have an idea. You could f--- Casey Affleck.
It's not really my turn. The ball is in Sarah and Matt Damon's court.
So she could f--- Jennifer Garner.
Yeah, that would be fine with me. Believe me.
I'm sure it would be.
This whole thing was a diabolical plan I've laid to get Sarah and Jennifer Garner in bed together.
What did you think about Jon Stewart at the Oscars?
I thought he did a great job. I think it's interesting, I did a joke about "No Country for Old Men" in the show and nobody in the audience got it. I don't think anyone saw any of the movies that were nominated, and that accounted for the lack of enthusiasm for the show. But I thought the show itself was good.
Would you ever host?
Would I host? Yes. Will I be asked to host? No.
What about you and Sarah together?
That probably won't happen either.
Do you and Sarah live together?
We each have our own place. But we spend every night together.
As two comedians, are you funny at home?
We're human beings. Most of what we do is complain to each other about things. It's not like an old Bob Hope movie where we're snapping one liners back and forth. But I'm guessing we're funnier than the average couple.
Do you try to top each other?
No. Not at all. We always give each other ideas. We're not competitive in any way, except when we play Scrabble.
I'm not just better, I'm much better. She hates when I say that, but it's true.
Did you have board game nights?
No. We play on our cell phones. We sit there passing the phone back to each other, which at the dinner table doesn't look good. It looks like we spent the whole night ignoring each other and text-messaging other people.
Don't other people at the table mind?
We only do it if we're alone. We won't be that antisocial.
I think you should invite Ben and Matt over for a game of Scrabble.
That's not a bad idea.
Did you see the reports that Jay Leno could go to ABC? If he did, what would happen to your show?
This is the sort of thing I hear once every nine months, and then I have to spend the next six months explaining that everything is fine here. It's really a nuisance. Everybody says I'm being pushed out the door. A year later, I'm still there.
What do you see for yourself after you're done hosting?
So good things are coming up for you?