LOS ANGELES (Billboard) - Never has an expression of love been so public — or featured so many guys in cutoff jeans shorts — or been so damn sincere.
The post-Academy Awards debut of Jimmy Kimmel’s “I’m F—-ing Ben Affleck” video on his late-night ABC talk show Sunday has tallied almost 500,000 views on YouTube less than 24 hours after it premiered.
The video, Kimmel’s response to girlfriend Sarah Silverman’s plaintive “I’m F—-ing Matt Damon,” which aired on the show’s 5th anniversary special in January, features a host of musicians, “We Are the World”-style, singing about the glory of Kimmel’s and Affleck’s tawdry relationship.
Among those in on the gag: Joan Jett, Good Charlotte’s Benji & Joel Madden, Perry Farrell, Macy Gray, Fall Out Boy’s Pete Wentz, Huey Lewis and Josh Groban, who is featured in a heartfelt/obscene crescendo.
“From the minute Sarah’s video with Matt played, revenge has been percolating in Jimmy’s mind,” says Jill Leiderman, the show’s executive producer. “The Friday morning after it aired, Jimmy came in and said ‘I need Ben Affleck.”‘
Affleck’s consent lead to Harrison Ford’s involvement — he was a fan of Silverman and Damon’s video, apparently — which then lead to Brad Pitt’s cameo as the delivery guy who presents Affleck and Kimmel with a cake celebrating their love.
Head music booker Scott Igoe said that once Pitt was on board, he reached out to the musicians who had appeared previously on the show and had proven themselves to be good sports. Within 24 hours, he had the Maddens, Gray and Wentz on board — and had really ticked off Ashlee Simpson, who wanted to participate but was unable to because she was on tour, he says.
“Basically, we devised the list: ‘Who has been on the show in the past that we really like?”‘ Igoe says.
The music for the song was written by Kimmel’s bandleader Cleto Escobedo, with the lyrics devised by Kimmel, Kimmel’s brother, John, and the show’s writing staff. The video was filmed in two days at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, and at nearby Henson Studios, site of the “We Are the World” session.
“Half the e-mails I’ve gotten the day after have been from publicists so disappointed that their clients weren’t in it,” Igoe says, mentioning Faith Hill, Tim McGraw and Paul McCartney.
Whether the song will be released as an official download is up to ABC, Leiderman says, but she promises they’ll make the appropriate inquiries to see if they can get a single put out.
Igoe, meanwhile, has his sight set on a bling-ier outcome. “Hey, if ‘D—k in a Box’ can win an Emmy, why can’t we?” he asks.