Jimmy Kimmel Has All The Jokes About Matt Damon, But Explains How Billy Crystal’s Advice Has Gotten Him Through The Oscars

 Jimmy Kimmel Hosting 2024's 96th Oscars Ceremony onstage in a tux.
Credit: Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences

Barbie and Oppenheimer's big 2024 Oscars wins and snubs may have dominated the awards talk, but Jimmy Kimmel has other things on his mind when it comes to Hollywood’s biggest night. Mainly, how to host a great show that people will enjoy, and poking at the expense of his friend Matt Damon.

In an interview with THR, late-night host Jimmy Kimmel and his executive producer and wife, Molly McNearney, talked about Matt Damon, hosting the Oscars and retirement. Kimmel has hosted the ceremony four times; however, just because he has done it a bunch does not mean that it was an instant "yes" when he was asked if he would take up the mantle again.

Kimmel talked about how great it was to be able to write jokes about films that a wide audience has seen like Oppenheimer and Barbie, especially since he has a love-hate relationship with Matt Damon. He even mentioned a joke about this during the interview, “I was distracted. I just thought of Matt Damon as DunKen, like the donut,”  a reference to Barbie and the extremely popular Super Bowl ad that starred Damon alongside his buddy Ben Affleck.

Despite tangents about Matt Damon, Kimmel got on track enough to relay some advice that he had gotten about the hosting gig from Billy Crystal, advice that may have helped him to stick with the gig once again:

Well, that’s the advice that the great Billy Crystal gave me. You’ve got to kill in the room, and it makes sense because if nobody’s laughing, it’s not going to seem funny to the audience at home.

McNearney was quick to point out that there is a balance when it comes to that advice. Not every joke that plays well in the room is going to play well to an audience at home. Some industry specific jokes might also go over people’s heads.

Kimmel also discussed how a host can’t build their monologue around the fear of people’s sensitivity. There are always going to be people who don’t like the jokes, but there will also be people who laugh. This was especially relevant after Jo Koy received backlash for his Golden Globes opening monologue. However, unlike Jo Koy, Kimmel acknowledged that the in-room audience of the Oscars are his friends and there is familiarity there that helps immensely. In the interview, he acknowledged the friendships he has with actors like Emily Blunt and said:

...there are certain people who you have a rapport with and it’s fun to see them and they’re going to be laughing, even if they don’t like it, just to be supportive.

For Kimmel, the best part of the show has always been toward the middle and end when things have relaxed a little and there’s room to riff, and possibly go off script. The ability to comment on the things that had happened during the show is fun for him.

Whether or not he would host for a fifth time if asked is still up in the air for Kimmel, but as long as he keeps getting to make his friends laugh, work with his wife, and continue to make jokes at Matt Damon's expense, there's always a possible Oscars future.