Jimmy talks Twitter & Late Night

Source: StarTribune.com

By NEAL JUSTIN, Star Tribune NBC
Last update: March 2, 2010 – 10:26 AM

Jimmy Fallon’s idea of celebrating a one-year anniversary consists of hopping an early-morning flight Saturday to Minneapolis, bumming around town for the afternoon and hitting the stage in the evening.

Other hosts in his position might have chosen to spend the weekend breathing a huge sigh of relief. “Late Night With Jimmy Fallon,” which debuted March 2, 2009, has survived some initial pans, a major late-night shakeup at NBC and intense competition from Craig Ferguson. But as Fallon told us earlier this week, going on tour is essential if he wants to be a long-range success.

Q Putting on a nightly show is tough enough. Why do you want to spend your vacation on the road?
A In a weird way, it is kind of a vacation. You get to see a new location, see fans.

Q Do you really see the city? I mean, don’t you spend the time in your hotel room or being carted around in a limousine with tinted glass?
A Actually, I do some research on Twitter, ask folks where I should go to lunch or if there’s a cool ice-cream shop or a hamburger place that’s not a chain and I’ll go out and talk to fans.

Q Doesn’t that get annoying?
A It’s cool. I don’t mind doing it at all. I’m always willing to pose for pictures with fans. I mean, it’s better than them throwing vegetables at you.

Q People have this intimacy with late-night hosts. I mean, the show has your name on it.
A Yeah. I tried to get them to call it “Saturday Night Live With Jimmy Fallon” but they didn’t like it.

Q What can people expect from the live show?
A Lots of impressions. I’ll play guitar, do comedy songs. I get a real rush from it. When I got the TV show, [producer] Lorne Michaels told me to get back on the road to keep me loose.

Q What’s been the most unexpected challenge that comes with running a TV program?
A The long hours. This is the first 9-to-5 job I’ve had since college. The hours at “SNL” were the exact opposite. I’m a night person. It’s still hard for me to function in the morning.

Q Well, you’re doing this interview in the morning.
A Yes, but I’m still in my pajamas. Baby steps.

Q Since Day One, you’ve been communicating with viewers through the Internet and Twitter. Why do it?
A It’s the gratification. There’s now a whole new dimension of fame. You get to speak to fans daily. I mean, if I was a fan of me growing up, I would have loved it. I don’t send things out that are that funny. It’s like, “Did you see ‘Undercover Boss?’ I didn’t like it.” Do you Twitter?

Q No, but I barely have a cell phone. You’ve been kind of the leader in terms of going viral. What have been the turning points in that area?
A We’ve had two really big viral things. One was having Mark-Paul Gosselaar come on as [his “Saved by the Bell” character] Zack Morris. The other was my performance of “Pants on the Ground” as Neil Young. We did it the day after the “American Idol” appearance and there were maybe four people in the audience that got it. Then it took off. I’ll probably be doing Neil Young for Saturday’s performance.

You never know what’s going to go viral and what isn’t. We also had a lot of success making fun of Robert Pattinson and our spoof of “The Real Housewives.” That’s the first time I’ve ever dressed in drag.

Q That’s because you’re not British.
A Yeah, it’s like required for them.

Q You were pretty quiet during the whole late-night shakeup. Do you think NBC made the right decisions?
A Um, I don’t know if they handled it the best. If it was me in charge, I would have done it differently. I’m glad they tried the experiment with Jay in prime time, but, you know, Conan is a friend of mine.

Q Have you talked to him since this all happened?
A Yeah, I talked to him over the weekend.

Q How’s he doing? Is he drinking heavily?
A He’s horrible. He’s talking to animals. Right now, he’s not doing what he does best. But I think he made the right decision. Whatever makes him happy.

Q Some people have speculated that you’re next in line to host “The Tonight Show.” Is that something you want?
A Hey, I’m just happy to have a job.

    • Nicole
    • March 2nd, 2010

    This article is fantastic, Lori! Thanks so much for posting:)

    • jami
    • March 2nd, 2010

    I wanna see Jimmy in his pj’s!

    • Kayla
    • March 4th, 2010

    Great article!! Can’t wait to see him in MN! I love that he cares so much about his fans.

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