Jimmy Kimmel Revealed That Ben Affleck And Matt Damon Offered To Personally Pay All His Late-Night Staffers Amid The Ongoing WGA Strikes, And Here’s Why He Turned Them Down

Other celebs, take notes!

As the Hollywood strikes rage on heading into the fall, talk show hosts are making the most of their break from late-night TV.

Close-up of Jimmy Kimmel smiling at his desk on his talk show

For a bit of context, the Writers Guild of America went on strike back in May, which means that writers for major shows have put their work on hold until the WGA reaches an agreement with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, which is still yet to happen.

Writers on strike on a picket line with signs

One of the first and most noticeable impacts of the WGA strike all those months ago was the shutdown of late-night comedy and talk shows, like Saturday Night Live and The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.

Guest host Ana de Armas on SNL

And so, with their regular jobs on hold, hosts Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel, Stephen Colbert, Seth Meyers, and John Oliver have teamed up for a special podcast called Strike Force Five with Spotify.

Seth on Jimmy Fallon's show

The podcast will see the hosts delve into discussions surrounding the strikes and their talk shows, with all the proceeds going to their respective late-night staffers as the WGA strike enters its fifth month.

Close-up of Stephen Colbert on his show

In the premier episode this week, the fivesome got off to a strong start as they discussed their indefinite break from TV, starting with Jimmy Kimmel, who revealed that two of his most famous friends stepped in to support his staffers amid the strikes.

Matt Damon and Ben Affleck with Jimmy at a baseball game

“Ben Affleck and the despicable Matt Damon contacted me and offered to pay our staff,” he revealed, shouting out the Hollywood heavyweights and real-life BFFs, who also happen to be close friends of Jimmy’s, despite his and Matt’s decade-spanning “feud.”

Ben and Matt in bow ties and embracing

Jimmy said that Matt and Ben reached out with the offer to pay his entire staff for two weeks, each of them personally footing the cost of a week.

Ben and Matt standing together at a media event

“They wanted to pay out of their own pocket, our staff,” he said, prompting Jimmy Fallon to agree that the Oscar-winning pair are very “good people.”

Close-up of Ben and Matt standing together at a media event

Despite their generosity, Jimmy revealed that he turned them down, admitting that he felt it was “not their responsibility.”

Ben and Matt standing together onstage

In response, his cohosts jumped in to see if the offer was “transferable,” prompting Stephen to ask if Jimmy could “say yes and then give your money to us?”

Ben and Matt sitting together on a talk show

As you may or may not be aware, Ben and Matt are no strangers to using their platforms to support talented artists within the industry.

Ben and Matt standing together at a public event

Last year, the close collaborators launched an independent production company called Artists Equity, which aims to ensure that all cast and crew members on movies get a fair cut of profits.

Ben and Matt smiling together at a media event

“As streamers have proliferated, they have really ended back-end participation, and so this is partly an effort to try and recapture some of that value and share it in a way that is more equitable,” Ben explained earlier this year. “Not just writers and directors and stars, but also cinematographers, editors, costume designers, and other crucial artists who, in my view, are very underpaid.”

Close-up of Ben in a suit and tie at a media event

If you’ve watched Jimmy Kimmel Live, you’ll know that Ben and Matt have appeared on the show countless times, often to take part in skits centered on Matt and Jimmy’s long-standing rivalry.

Matt and Ben on Jimmy Kimmel Live

However, Jimmy hinted in the new podcast episode that we might not be seeing him on our screens for that much longer, revealing that he was “very, very serious” about stepping back from the show around the time the strikes began.

Close-up of Jimmy in a tuxe and smiling

“I was very intent on retiring right around the time where the strike started,” he told his cohosts before admitting that taking a break from his hosting duties gave a him a renewed sense of passion for the job.

Jimmy interviewing Jake Gyllenhaal on his show

“And now I realize, ‘Oh yeah, it's kind of nice to work,’” he confessed, adding, “When you are working, you think about not working.”

Jimmy sitting in a chair and holding a microphone

Despite Jimmy’s ambivalence, it was reported in September 2022 that he signed a three-year contract extension with ABC, meaning he’s locked in to host the show through its 23rd season.

Jimmy during the monologue on his show

You can listen to the full episode of the Strike Force Five podcast here.

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