The Jimmy Fallon Interview
How can you not love a guy who serves ice cream to his audience? That’s just how this guy rolls.
SNL grad Jimmy Fallon goes the extra mile for viewers of Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. And he does another show on YouTube for those who don’t want to stay up after 12:37 a.m. In fact, he’s a big fan of social media.
We caught up with Fallon at the Saban Theatre, where he was being honored by the Paley Center for Media and interviewed by Chris Hardwick.
Without being slick, he’s been able to convince his well-known guests to perform wacky antics. Bruce Springsteen donned an ‘80s wig to act as a surprise backup singer to Fallon’s Neil Young imitation. Twilight’s Robert Pattison hung from a tree outside an NBC office. Recently, he convinced Tiger Woods to make his first post-scandal talk show appearance by playing miniature golf with him.
“I was sweating when Springsteen was standing next to me while I was singing. I kept telling myself to focus because I thought I was going to crack up — Springsteen in a wig!”
Fallon created his own homage to Springsteen when he used “Born to Run” in the Glee-inspired opening number of the Emmys that he hosted last September. “He’s my hero,” Fallon says.
Reflecting back on his first talk show with guest Robert De Niro, he says, “What was I thinking? I know he doesn’t like to do interviews and gives one-word answers. Somehow we got through that and we were not cancelled!”
Because he loves reality TV, he spoofs many shows like Jersey Shore and the Housewives.
“I could just sit there and just be a talk show host. But I want to give ‘em more. I don’t mind doing the extra work.”
Jersey Shore’s spoof is called Jersey Floor. “We don’t have a budget. Our cast takes the elevator to an empty floor in the NBC Building. What happens is magic. It’s the pure talent of the cast and the brilliance of our writers.”
He continues: “There’s a lot of history in the 30 Rock building. Our 6B studio is where Bob Hope, Martin and Lewis and Milton Berle worked. Then came Jack Paar, who started the late night talk show. Afterwards, Johnny Carson did 10 years in our studio before he moved west.”
When he interviewed his house band The Roots, he borrowed NBC’s Lorne Michaels’s office because at the time his office was a hole in the wall. “I wanted to impress them.”
Fallon is even amazed that his recent imitation of Charlie Sheen made waves.
“That was a last minute spoof. We didn’t even have a wig. That was my hair. All I can say is that our hair and makeup department is amazing.”
While he watched Charlie Sheen interviews on his laptop, his writers were busy scripting a bit on the new Charlie Sheen cologne, Winning.
A first for an NBC evening talk show: Fallon lets the public listen to his monologue rehearsal.
“We grab some of the people who are on the NBC Experience tour to monitor it. We pick the best 10 jokes for the show.”
If anyone is the boy next door, it’s Fallon, who attended a parochial school.
“This is unbelievable that we just celebrated our second year of the show. I never had any experience doing this!”
Sue Facter writes about all things A-list for publications worldwide. Her credits include “USA Today” and “Los Angeles Times.” Follow her on Twitter @TheFacter.