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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Late Night with Jimmy Fallon

    It wasn’t much, but for a collegiate Jimmy Fallon, 50 bucks and a gig in Saint Joseph’s Hall was enough to ignite a comedic career destined for “”30 Rock.””

    “”My material wasn’t that amazing, but it was definitely a big moment in my life and I was proud of it.””

    Fallon attended the College of Saint Rose in Albany, N.Y., in the early ’90s, but had aspirations outside the classroom. A stand-up performance with his buddy on campus launched the computer science major into the spotlight.

    And after years of “”Saturday Night Live”” debauchery and big screen flirtations, that spotlight has settled in Studio 6B of NBC’s 30 Rockefeller Plaza headquarters where “”Late Night with Jimmy Fallon”” debuts March 2.

    “”It’s the first time I’ve actually had kind of a 9-to-5 job even though it will be a 9-to-9 job,”” Fallon said.

    “”I’m a little nervous, but I’ll figure it out.””

    Fallon has plenty of experience to fall back on having spent six years on SNL, most notably as the co-anchor of Weekend Update with Tina Fey.

    “”I’m an easy laugh,”” Fallon said.

    “”I really love comedy, and anytime I got around any super talented comedians that were on ‘Saturday Night Live,’ I would break out.””

    It was particularly excruciating for Fallon to hold a straight face when he shared the stage with Will Ferrell and his cowbell for a skit in 2000.

    The scene mocked a Blue Oyster Cult recording session, with guest host Christopher Walken as the producer, Fallon on drums and Ferrell rocking the cowbell. Fallon had trouble with his lines and had to use drumsticks to hide his grin as Ferrell – disguised with a frizzy afro and messy shag beard – danced around in awkwardly tight jeans and a belly-bearing V-neck.

    “”He looks at me and he’s got the eyes of a lunatic at this point. And he’s on a roll, just nailing it,”” Fallon said.

    “”The best of his career apparently was me laughing at him. But he’s a genius. He’s one of the funniest people on earth.””

    Now Fallon is set to make the transition from sketch comedy to talk show host, but it’s unclear how much SNL influence will touch Late Night.

    “”I’m going to focus on just hosting the show and making my guests look good,”” Fallon said.

    “”So if there’s anything I can do to make them look good, I’m going to do it, and if that involves sketches, then sure I’ll try it.””

    Fallon said he realizes that people watching his show at 12:35 a.m. are typically either in bed or about to be and just looking for one last laugh. It’s an audience prime for experimental comedy.

    And what better experiment than comedy with the Queen?

    “”My dream guest would probably be the Queen of England, so if you have her e-mail or anything or anyway to get a hold of her, that would be just fantastic,”” Fallonsaid .

    But this is hairy territory. Fallon is taking on a time slot formerly featuring a tall Irishman with a loyal following.

    “”I’m not taking Conan away. It’s a good thing – he’s not leaving. He’s going to 11:30,”” he said.

    “”So I think if you love your Conan, I’m not hurting you at all. He’s going to give me my lead-in.””

    One of the most essential components of a successful late night talk show is the house band.

    John Melendez and Kevin Eubanks with Leno.

    The Max Weinberg 7 with Conan.

    Paul Shaffer with Letterman.

    And now Fallon is set to take late night music to another level with The Roots grooving on a double-decker stage each night.

    “”We only did two test shows and already people are flipping out just to watch the warm-up and watch the band jam out – they’re so good,”” Fallon said.

    Come March 2, late night TV will have a new personality, and Fallon is excited to be back on center stage.

    “”You know, I don’t know what’s going to happen because you can do the same jokes, the same delivery, different audience, you get a different response,”” he said.

    “”And that’s what makes it kind of fun. I really miss being in front of a crowd and this is going to be fun.””

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