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“Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” & The Roots

This week, EMPT interviewed SNL star Jimmy Fallon in preparation for his new talk show “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon,” slated to debut on March 2nd from 12:30-1:30 AM. What’s more exciting is that the show will play host to Fallon’s new house band: The Roots.

Though Fallon is not a direct ‘replacement’ for Conan O’Brien (who took over Jay Leno’s seat on The Tonight Show) there’s been quite a stir over the fact that Fallon bumped him into the 11:30 time-slot thus alienating loyal fans.

Nevertheless, these past few months leading up to his debut, Fallon has successfully produced and hosted a video blog (aka: “v-log” …sounds dirty, no?) that runs nightly on NBC.com at 12:30 am. In our interview he said the v-log has been a great tool for him because he’s been able to “Try out skits and ideas on the website first and then use that information to appeal more to what the fans want.”

Ironically, this isn’t the first time Fallon’s stepped into the strange world of ‘vlogging.’ Do any of you guys remember the SNL skit “Jarrett’s Room” where Jimmy played “Jarrett–the college blogger” ? Well, it seems like his ‘vlog-life’ has manifested itself in a whole new light…

“Fallon as the host of Jarrett’s Room”

Here’s a brief recap of our interview. It isn’t word for word… but just go with it…

Jimmy on The Roots:

Q: How did you choose The Roots as your house band? Did you have to convince them to join you?

A: Honestly, I was in the car with a buddy of mine right around the time when we were starting to come up with a gameplan for the show. We were talking about how much we loved The Roots– in fact, I think they were on in the background? Joking around I go– “God- how cool would it be if I could get them to be my house band ?” And then I kinda got hung up on it. I’ve always been a big fan of them. The thing about The Roots is– they’re so diverse and talented. On any given day you can see them playing one night with Tony Bennett and then the next with Jay-Z. They are true musicians. Plus– they’ve been playing together for so long so it’s not like I would just be hiring some session folks to come in and try to get along with each other every night. These guys know each other… in fact– they know EVERYONE! Plus- they live in Philly and its like 2 hours via Acela so that makes it easier for them.

So, even though I figured it would never happen, I took a chance and put in a call to their manager. A month or so went by and no word. Then one day I get a random call from ?uest’s manager. I figure he was calling to thank us for the offer… but no thanks.

Instead, he goes “Hey Jimmy– I have ?uest on the other line… about that show of yours– he just has one question.” Obviously I thought he was going to ask “how much you payin me?” but instead, he goes “Well– if I have some friends in town, like– if Herbie wants to come on stage with me or somethin– can they come on?”
And my jaw dropped. That was kind of how it went down..

Jimmy on Van Morrison:

Q: So we hear that Van Morrison is your first musical guest. Tell us a little more about that…

A: Van Morrison is a classic but it’s going to be interesting because our lineup is so diverse. We have Van one week and then Santogold the next. And what’s cool about the way we’re setting it up is that our audience can actually get tickets to come and watch just the music performance. So say you’re a huge Santogold fan, you can get special tickets for these rafters behind the stage where you can squish in and watch the artist perform. I am just trying to decide if I think it’s appropriate for Van Morrison to have like 200 screaming young fans behind him– what do you think?

Q: Well– i think he’s such a well respected artist & his music translates to all different generations. I think kids in raftors would be cool! It kind of give him that x-factor, don’t you think?

A: I guess so– I am still deciding what to do. We’ll figure it out…

Jimmy on The Queen Of England:

Q: What guest would you love to interview?

A: Hmmm…. I’d really love to “Skype [with] the Queen of England” I think that’s when I’ll know I’ve made it.

Jimmy on Getting Advice:

Q: Has anyone given you any good advice about your next step into the world as a talk-show host.

A: Well– actually, Stephen Colbert said something really cool to me that was apparently passed down to him from Conan… which he got from Carson. He said “With this show, you’ll use everything you know.” I thought that was really cool.

Jimmy on iPods:

Q: So, what songs do you have in rotation on your iPod right now?

A: Uhhh….You’re never going to believe this but I haven’t had my iPod in over THREE MONTHS! I lost it the last time I was in LA and I so haven’t gotten it back or bought a new one. I am so bad at keeping track of them… i lose them all the time & then you have to fill them up again with new songs, etc. It’s a mess.

Q: Okay, so what were you listening to right before you lost it?

A: Hmm– I love a lot of music which is one of the main reasons I am so excited about The Roots (like we talked about) but lets see? Hmm– the Ting Tings, Al Green, Mick Jagger, Ludacris– I have a really diverse collection.

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Check us next week for EMPT’s interview with The Roots.