Thank you, Jimmy!
I will always remember the strangely surreal and reasonably awkward moment when Jimmy Fallon told me ‘Thank you’ and I proceeded to reply with a ‘Thank you’ because there is so much to be thankful about, really. I thought to myself that this would be the story I would tell my imaginary children when I am 40 to sound more hip than I really was at 25. I have recently started working on a legitimate popular culture bucket list, considering the transience of life and the undeniable charm of celebrities. Needless to say, The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon featured in the Top 3 of the pop bucket list only to be beaten by a live taping of Saturday Night Live and being on the red chair of The Graham Norton Show.
- Published 17.10.17
I will always remember the strangely surreal and reasonably awkward moment when Jimmy Fallon told me ‘Thank you’ and I proceeded to reply with a ‘Thank you’ because there is so much to be thankful about, really. I thought to myself that this would be the story I would tell my imaginary children when I am 40 to sound more hip than I really was at 25.
I have recently started working on a legitimate popular culture bucket list, considering the transience of life and the undeniable charm of celebrities. Needless to say, The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon featured in the Top 3 of the pop bucket list only to be beaten by a live taping of Saturday Night Live and being on the red chair of The Graham Norton Show.
So, when I was sure that I was visiting New York for a week this summer, I knew that I had to find a way to sneak into The Tonight Show. I had done a fair amount of research prior to visiting the city. It turned out that all the tickets for the show were free and usually got booked a month before taping. They typically open each month’s ticket wait list during the first week of the prior month.
So it is like NBC’s version of the ‘Fastest Finger First’ round from KBC — whoever manages to click on the link first, gets a free ticket. Also, this would have been ideal if my trip was planned in a logical manner — not an impromptu trip based on some unexplainable impulse.
Against all odds
However, there was another way to get standby tickets — it involved a decent amount of luck and basic patience. To get standby tickets one had to stand in queue in front of the NBC marquee on 30 Rockefeller Plaza before 9am, on the day of the taping. A show rep would come and hand out standby tickets with numbers which do not guarantee admission. Then you had to come back to the NBC gift shop at 3pm with a painful feeling in your stomach, unable to breathe, to find out whether you have made it to the show.
There is no fixed number as to how many people can get in the show on standby tickets. Sometimes, there are as many as 40 people they let in and sometimes it is just three, depending on the availability of seats.
So, when I found out that Anne Hathaway, Tony Hale and Ed Sheeran were coming on April 17, I just knew that I would have to see that show live, even if it meant standing in queue for a day. Anne Hathaway made me believe that I was secretly a part of a royal family throughout my teenage years in The Princess Diaries and later appeared in the most painfully-cliched favourite movie of a fashion person which is The Devil Wears Prada (I am sure that I can recite some of the dialogues in my sleep).
On Monday at 5am, my sister and I reached the famous NBC marquee with our typical NYC coffees in one hand, in our athlesuire best. We were number 9 and 10 in the queue.
People before us had come prepared with snacks in their bag, foldable chairs and blankets to keep warm. But we came with training — months of standing in queue in ATM lines during demonetisation had prepared us for this day. We spent the next four hours anxiously waiting.
The show was returning after two weeks and Fallon had hosted SNL that weekend. Also, the Veep finale was that weekend which starred Tony Hale. It was a ‘hot ticket’ indeed.
At exactly 9am, the NBC rep came and handed us standby ticket chips with numbers on it. After us, the queue had reached till number 114. We were instructed to come back to the NBC gift shop at 3pm to know whether we made it to the show. When we came back at 3pm, we were greeted by NBC pages (I honestly thought that they were imaginary) which kind of made me giggle mentally as I thought of Kenneth Parcell from 30 Rock. The pages told us to stand according to our ticket numbers. The rep came and informed us that the first 25 people were allowed in.
YAAASSS! It was such a surreal feeling to know that I would actually be watching a live taping of a show I have been watching intently for years. We were then taken to The Tonight Show waiting lounge which had images of all the iconic guests over the years. First the people with confirmed tickets were seated and then the standby ticket guests were seated. Well, we sat on the last row corner which vaguely reminded me of the time I went for the Global Citizen Festival on complimentary green zone tickets and ended up being on a different GPS location than the band (that is how far it was!). Luckily, this was a small studio space and the seating was perfectly aligned — I could see everyone clearly. First, the producer came and introduced himself and spoke to all of us about the show and the etiquette to follow. He then proceeded to dance for a while. We spoke to him about how we came all the way from India and he made a few hysterical brown people jokes — nothing too offensive or mean... all in good talk show humour.
Finally, Jimmy Fallon came on stage and delivered his iconic monologue. I think somewhere it had still not sunk in that I was watching this man live.
The show began and soon Anne Hathaway came on stage looking every bit the gorgeous goddess that she is. She glided on stage in a black sack-like gown, radiantly making the rest of us look like mere mortals. She went on to tell a story about taking her son to the park and poked about her new oddball of a movie, Colossal. Then she played a hysterical new singing game with Jimmy Fallon about how Google Translate works on popular songs I Can’t Feel My Face by the Weeknd and I Will Survive by Gloria Gaynor. (Also, The Roots, which is the in-house band for the Tonight Show, are fabulous).
After that, Tony Hale came and spoke about the Veep series finale.
Unfortunately, the Ed Sheeran portion of the show had been filmed earlier as he was performing in Glasgow that day. We never got to see him live (more to add to the pop bucket list).
As close as it gets
Jimmy Fallon closed the show and proceeded to walk into the audience. Never have I been more thankful to sit on the corner of the last row. I had a proper moment (Or, I would like to believe so) with Mr Fallon as he had to turn from my seat to go behind. Of course, I screamed ‘thank you’ on his face as he shook my hand (so chill). Thank you NBC and my efficient alarm clock for this incredible opportunity! Now, I just need to figure out how to reach Graham Norton’s Red Chair and charm him.
Srishti Gupta Roy
FIVE TIMES FALLON KILLED IT ON THE TONIGHT SHOW
THE HISTORY OF RAP
Jimmy Fallon’s been collaborating with good friend Justin Timberlake since 2010 for the ‘History of Rap’ segment. The inaugural edition in 2010 saw them performing Rapper’s Delight, California Love and Juicy. Given how the segment went viral, they reunited several times, and it just keeps getting better. They’ve run through a catalogue that includes A Milli, Baby Got Back, Gin and Juice, and a remixed version of Ignition.
WHEN HE BLEW IT WITH NICOLE KIDMAN
Fallon had a charmingly awkward moment in 2015 when Nicole Kidman stopped by The Tonight Show and revealed that she and Fallon had gone on a date years ago. They addressed their romantic history in the interview, with both agreeing that Fallon’s efforts were “embarrassing”.
WHEN HE SAID HELLO FROM THE OTHER SIDE
In 2015, Fallon provided backup for Adele when the Grammy winner stopped by The Tonight Show to perform her hit single Hello. Fallon and The Roots used a lineup of toy instruments and he spent much of the performance looking giddy, loving every moment of Adele’s vocals.
WHEN HE BROKE IT DOWN WITH MICHELLE OBAMA
Former First Lady Michelle Obama appeared on The Tonight Show in 2013, boogying down next to Fallon for a bit on the ‘Evolution of Mom Dancing’. She danced to Go Shopping, Get Groceries, Raise the Roof, Hip Bump and Sprinkler. She returned to the show two years later for a follow-up segment.
WHEN FALLON DID A SPRINGSTEEN
He couldn’t have picked a better person to parody the classic Bruce Springsteen rock tune Born to Run, mainly because he recruited The Boss himself.
The pair came out dressed in the legend’s iconic Born in the USA-era outfits, complete with a bandana and a sleeveless denim shirt, and sang a reworked version of Born to Run, which they titled Gov. Christie Traffic Jam, taking a stab at the governor of New Jersey, Chris Christie, who was at the time caught up in “bridge closure scandal” around the George Washington Bridge.
Compiled by Nikhil Sen