The sold-out crowd at Gotham got themselves a real treat, … 2 headliners for the price of one! Bobby Slayton, known as “the pitbull of comedy”, (for good reason), packs them in on his own, but combined with Jimmy Fallon opening the show, it was a guaranteed sell-out!
I had just seen Bobby in Montreal the week before at the Just For Laughs Festival, where he also performed. It’s the biggest comedy festival in the world, and needless to say a very prestigious place to perform.
(So if it’s needless to say, then why did I say it??? LOL )
Even he was excited about performing with Jimmy, and he was the one who told me they’d be on the same bill. Turns out Jimmy was excited to perform with Bobby as well, plus crowd pleaser Buddy Fitzpatrick was the MC, so it was really a guaranteed success.
As soon as I got back to New York, I called Chris Mazzilli the owner of Gotham, and told him to please save me my usual table. Chris advised that I get there early because everyone knew it would be packed.
It’s been 2 1/2 years since Jimmy took over Late Night from Conan O’Brien, and the show is up for 3 Emmy’s. Jimmy is ecstatic, but one of the most humble guys you could ever meet. As well as one of the most talented. He not only does stand-up, and plays the guitar and harmonica, but his characters are amazing, as are his impressions. It’s no wonder that he got SNL when he did. He’s one of those rare “triple-threat plus” guys, ( more like quintuple plus! ) but he cautioned me that he doesn’t dance. I’m pretty sure he could if he tried!
He does singing impressions of Neil Young and Bob Dylan that are so good you really think it was them. And then he did an impression of every comic who ever performed at Gotham starting with Jerry Seinfeld, who he once had to follow as a young comedian.
I went to both the Friday night and Saturday night shows. That wasn’t the original plan. I was originally supposed to interview him after his Friday night set, but he had to leave immediately after the show, so we decided to do it on Saturday night instead. I got the unexpected benefit of being able to see him twice! And Robin Williams showed up at the Saturday show, came down to visit Jimmy, and then saw Jimmy do an impression of him.
At the last minute my DP Sean Mannion wasn’t able to show up, so I was left to my own devices in terms of filming. Everyone I called was busy, so I wound up at the show myself with my camera equipment, wondering how it would all work out.
After Jimmy’s set he invited me down to the Green Room backstage, where he introduced me to his lovely wife Nancy, who just happens to be a TV producer. Problem solved! Nancy was kind enough to film our interview.
Jimmy was so gracious. I only expected to do about 5 minutes and he gave me 22. Foolishly I was using a tape that only had 23 minutes left on it, so The Universe was watching over me, because when we finished, the camera was blinking on 0:01 minutes.
He shared some great stories with me which you’ll see in the upcoming video, and they included how he auditioned for Lorne Michaels for SNL, and was told by everyone there from the make-up person to the director, not to worry because Lorne never laughs. But when Jimmy did his Adam Sandler impression, Lorne laughed and put his head in his hands. I told Jimmy, he was probably trying to hide the fact that he was laughing or it would spoil his reputation! Then Jimmy and I laughed! (LOL)
Stay tuned for the video coming shortly!