During the summer of 2001, Dartmouth grads Mindy Kaling and Brenda Withers were holed up in their air-conditioned apartment in Astoria, Queens, trying to beat the heat. They noticed that Ben Affleck was on the cover of nearly every tabloid that arrived in their mailbox or followed them home from the newsstand. He was, ironically then, at the height of his powers while away from Hollywood, doing his turn at rehab. Not functional, but ubiquitous.
Kaling and Withers soon began to improv Matt & Ben around their apartment, while familiarizing themselves with the lives of their storied counterparts. They were absorbing the gossip, including apocryphal stories such as the one that had William Goldman, an eminence gris among screenwriters, giving Good Will Hunting a final polish. They had shown no evidence of promise, least of all as writers, so went the thinking. How could such a script spring from them? Perhaps, clucked not a few, the script had fallen from the sky. It is this premise that Kaling and Withers mine to maximum effect in their script.
Performed by the authors, Matt & Ben opened at the New York Fringe Festival in 2002, where it received rave reviews and was chosen audience favorite.(adapted from Curtain Up)