Almost a year old… my how they’ve grown!
With all of the drama in the late-night landscape of late, one overlooked fact is that ‘Late Night with Jimmy Fallon’ on NBC — which employs by far the best and coolest house band ever, The Roots — is turning one year old in March. Initially, few knew how Fallon would adapt to the new medium, but a year in and several viral smash hits under his belt (including his brilliant Neil Young impression singing ‘Pants on the Ground’), things are going pretty well for Jimmy and his crew, even if he won’t admit it. “We’re a year old, and I’m barely understanding what we’re doing. Maybe ask me next year, and hopefully I’ll say it takes two years to get to know what we’re doing,” Fallon told PopEater during our exclusive interview, literally seconds before running on stage to kick off his show. With The Roots pumping in the background, here’s what Jimmy told us:
On the ‘Late Night’ Workflow: “A lot of people told me it was going to be super hard work, and it is if you want it to be good. It’s definitely a crazy schedule, but it’s totally worth it when things work.”
How He (Jokingly) Relaxes: “Mountain climbing… every other weekend. Everyone should do it. If you got a good mountain by you, call up a good sherpa and just let loose.”
On Whether He Tries for Viral Hits: “We’re not going for it, but it’s definitely a fun thing to watch because you don’t know what’s going to go viral. ‘Pants on the Ground’ makes no sense. I guess that was ‘American Idol,’ but before that we had ‘Fresh Prince of Bel Air’ with Neil Young — that makes even less sense. And before that was Zach Morris. That was our biggest viral hit, but there’s no real way you can tell what’s going to be viral. It’s really exciting once it picks up speed, because it hits the 300,000 mark and then it’s out of your hands and it’s like watching election results. Like ‘Oh my gosh!'”
“And [‘Pants on the Ground’] actually got back to Neil Young. We got a call from a friend of ours who worked over at Conan. At Conan O’Brien’s last show, Neil was doing sound check and did ‘Pants on the Ground’ — my version of him singing ‘Pants on the Ground.’ It’s insane. It doesn’t make any sense.”
On Brett Favre Singing ‘Pants,’ Then Losing in the Playoffs: “I’m going to say that wasn’t my version he was singing.”
On How He Got The Roots as His House Band: “I guess the best thing I can say is just ask… I talked to them [band members ?uestlove and Black Thought] and asked them ‘Would you guys want to do this?’ And I gave them my big pitch… So we had a meeting up in Lorne’s [Michaels] office, which is more impressive than my office, which is a hole with a desk. So Lorne’s office overlooks 8H where ‘Saturday Night Live’ is … I gave them my pitch and said you’d raise the bar of what a house band would be. You play with everyone from Tony Bennett to Jay-Z and he [?uestlove] goes: ‘Alright, I’ve got two questions for you. One, say there’s an artist out there that doesn’t get too much airtime — say Herbie Herbie Hancock is in town. Can he play with the band? Second question is, if this is Lorne Michaels’ office, where’s the popcorn?’ And I was like, oh, he’s a comedy fan, I love this guy.”
On The Show’s Keys to Success: “Without the Roots and the Internet, we wouldn’t be where we are. That’s a fact. We’re a year old, and I’m barely understanding what we’re doing. Maybe ask me next year and hopefully I’ll say it takes two years to get to know what we’re doing.”
The original article has a video of the interview.. visit Popeater.com to view it here.