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INT: Jimmy Fallon

Oct. 8, 2004by: JoBlo

Queen Latifah / Gisele Bundchen / Jimmy Fallon

I have to scratch my head and wonder sometimes what would possess a person to leave Saturday Night Live and pursue a movie career. Every year, you have a stable job getting to play different kooky characters, write silly jokes, and impersonate celebrities in humorous and humiliating ways. Why leave a job like that to ultimately star in a series of cringe-inducing films that fail to make people laugh, get critically bashed, and often tank at the box office? Food for thought.

I have always been entertained by Jimmy Fallon on Saturday Night Live, especially while mimicking Adam Sandler and trying to keep a straight face in scenes where you can tell he is about to explode with laughter. He is great at sketch comedy and impersonations. While TAXI probably wasnt the best choice to launch his film career, I am looking forward to watching his future performances and I wish him the best of luck in not falling into the SNL comedian-turned-movie-actor career slump.

Of all the people Ive had the pleasure of interviewing, Fallon was definitely one of the most amusing. He contains such a hyper-active energy level that its almost hard to keep up with him, between the vocal impressions and jokes he randomly bursts out with. In all truth, Id rather sit in a room and watch him for an hour and a half than see most comedies released these days. He happens to be so hilarious and wacky that you dont even notice he is actually a pretty good looking guy too (which I tend to think is the case with Jim Carrey, as well). Now, on to the interview!


Do you see a grave difference between shooting a movie and Saturday Night Live?

Yeah, I do actually. With Saturday Night Live, you know whether its good or bad immediately. The audience is like, Thats not funny, were not going to laugh at that. A movie, you make it and you wait a year for it to come out, and then you do press for a week saying I hope its good. Eventually you get to see how audiences respond. Its very nerve wrecking, not knowing whether its going to work or not, since its not up to you, its up to the audiences. Im use to the immediacy of live T.V. where you go No, you didnt get it.

Are you going to miss being on the show?

Yeah, I miss it already. I always miss it over the summers anyway. Its like school, where you come back with new shoes, a new haircut, a new lunch box, and you go Hey, how was your summer? I didnt hang out much with the cast because I like to just save it for when were working and writing, and Im going to miss those nights staying over and going out drinking with the guys and girls. Theyve got a tight cast and its going to be good, but Im definitely going to be sad.

I dont want to stop by too soon. Its one of those things where theyre like, Yeah, let us miss you first, okay? Then you can come by and make a guest appearance or even like roaming the halls saying, God, is he here again? How lame is this guy? What is he doing? Im definitely going to miss it. October 2nd is the first show, so Monday is the first work day. Im going to call up Tina Fey if I have ideas for jokes-- I have a couple already. Like Jerry Seinfeld is doing a thingI have a joke about, I think. Hes doing a Thanksgiving special for NBC, Mans Gotta Eat. (laughs). Thats my joke, thats good right? Hes got to eat, man.

You get so many great offers. What made you decide to take this one?

You know what? I read it a long time ago, and the writers are good guys-- Ben Garant & Thomas Lennon. They did Reno 911, and The State. Theyre pretty good writers and I read it and thought it was pretty funny, like an action buddy comedy. Ive always kind of wanted to do one, because Im a big fan of Eddie Murphy, and I know that was his first movie (48 Hours) after Saturday Night Live. So I was looking for the right one and this just didnt feel like it, and then somebody said Latifah was looking at it. Initially they wanted to use two guys, because the original French version has two guys.

But they said Latifah is into it, and so I re-read it and thought, it could end up being really cool. Then they geared re-writing it more towards her, and said Tim Story was going to direct, who did Barbershop, which I thought was hilarious. So this seemed like a puzzle I wanted to be a piece in-- I liked it and wanted to be involved in it. So then I met them and got along with everybody. Latifah had hosted the show, and thats when I first met her and she was a blast, nice to everybody, and listened. She *got* comedy, she understood it. Like some hosts we get dont understand whats going on, and were just like, I cant even tell you. I cant even explain the joke. The host is like This is funny right? and Im like Yeah, I guess so (laughs.) Bring friends to the audience, bring family cause I dont know if anyone else is going to get that joke. But she got it immediately and I knew I would love to work with her again. So we just sat down and it started clicking. I havent seen the movie, so I dont know how they edited it and whats going on, which is out of my control.

It went over well at the screening.

It did? Someone else told me that they were clapping or something like that. And I was like Yes! If you can clap in a movie, thats not bad. I mean, I tried to clap in Passion of the Christ (laughs), but it didnt really go over very well.

Being a New Yorker yourself, do you have any crazy New York cab stories?

Yeah, I mean it happens everyday. I remember once there was this guy named Osama- Bin-something that drove me somewhere and I was like, You have to have had a bad day, man. I just had to tip that dude, give him double tip and go, Everything is cool man, its cool, I know, I know, you dont have to tell me. Then theres always the guy whos drunk and just wants to drive through red lights at 4 in the morningYou want to see how fast I can go? Im like Why not, man. Then you get the ones that smell, or the guy who gets into an argument with you. Then you get in a bad mood. But I always tip taxi drivers all the time no matter what they do because I know they must put up with a lot. Even though sometimes theyre the lunatics, there are a lot of lunatics that must get in their cabs.

Did anybody help you with your Cuban accent?

You know what? This is so weird but yeah, I went to a voice coach for eight months-- no Im just joking. (laughs). For the movie I would watch Serpico everyday just because I thought that this character would really watch that and be a fan of that film. I thought that he would watch Serpico and pretend that he was a bad-ass. Then the other movie I got was Scarface, so I had like a Pacino marathon in my trailer. I started talking like (imitates Al Pacino as Tony Montana) You cant tell me where to go, Im a Tony Montana, just got off the banana boat! I just thought he was great in that movie, and I tried to do something like that but hes just so way over the top.

I remember the actor, I dont remember his name who was my partner in the first scene, but he had a great face. Hes undercover trying to make a drug bust and I show up with just a terrible seventies outfit, and Im like How ya doing?! (with a Cuban accent) and hes looking at me like, I cant believe this my fucking partner! (laughs.) That guy was great. So that was pretty fun, and the guys that we were doing it with were hilarious. It was just fun to do that, something so over the top. That last part where I was that Russian undercover dude, I ended up looking like Ben Affleck (laughs.) I was dressed like Ben Affleck with a crazy goatee. It was fun, we had a lot of good characters to work off of. Henry Simmons was really fun, and Jennifer Esposito, she was great.

Can you talk about Fever Pitch?

Definitely! Its a movie directed by the Farrelly brothers and starring Drew Barrymore. Ive been in Boston the past two weeks at Fenway Park during playoff time, just having a blast. I really lucked out with my co-stars, I mean, Queen Latifah and Drew Barrymore-- it's like you couldn't think of two nicer people in the world, so I really lucked out.

How are you able to do the filming with the playoffs going on?

They've been great to us. We film after the games. Well actually we did a couple of shots during the games but we dont want to bother anybody, so it's like in between innings we'd run in and sit down with the camera guys in front of us, and we'd just watch a couple of innings. But that's the first time they've ever done that I think in any movie, where we have actual fans around us and no actors. They're amazing, these fans. (Imitating the Farrelly brothers with a bullhorn:) If you look in the camera you will not be in the movie. And the fans are like, okay, and they just watch the game, and could give a crap about the movie. They love sports in Boston.

So you guys are actually filming during the games?

Yeah, during the games. Then we did one thing that I will never forget-- we asked the fans to stay for the final scene of the movie. Everyone stayed! Thirty-five thousand people stayed. It was the most memorable moment Ive ever had. It was so emotional and cool. I just ran across the field and everyone was cheering. It was exactly like watching the end of Rocky or something. I was like, Hey! I'm kind of Rocky! This is great.



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