Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Jimmy Fallon charms Tampa with humor and energy

Jimmy Fallon performs Wednesday at the Tampa Theatre in his Clean Cut Comedy Tour.

EDMUND D. FOUNTAIN | Times

Jimmy Fallon performs Wednesday at the Tampa Theatre in his Clean Cut Comedy Tour.

TAMPA — After meeting a skunk named Gloria and an echidna named Darwin, Jimmy Fallon grabbed a 20-foot python named Asia and smiled wide for the cameras.

Minutes later, after the cameras stopped rolling, the python's last meal exploded all over the studio floor.

"It smells like an old 40-ounce!" Fallon yelled to the howling audience at WFLA-Ch. 8, where he and an animal handler from Busch Gardens were taping a segment for the station's Daytime program.

Talk about a welcome-to-Florida moment.

But even in his road-weary, sleep-deprived state, even in the face of an incontinent mega-serpent, the future Tonight Show host just couldn't turn off the charm that's made him one of the most popular figures on television.

Everyone wanted a piece of Fallon during Wednesday's brief layover in Tampa, the last stop on a whirlwind tour of NBC affiliates in St. Louis, Nashville and Orlando.

His Clean Cut Comedy Tour was the Tampa Theatre's hottest ticket in two decades, selling out in 40 minutes. On Twitter, restaurants like Datz and the Oxford Exchange begged him to stop by. Fans gifted him with outfits, accessories and CDs for his 12-week-old daughter Winnie.

It seemed like wherever Fallon went, he left a panorama of grinning faces and a chorus of gushing compliments. And at every turn, he tried to reciprocate.

"You feel like James Bond, running to a plane to make it to the next thing, but it's exciting," Fallon said in an interview Wednesday afternoon. "It's all happening kind of quickly, believe it or not. I know the show's not till February, but it's all picking up. I know I'm just trying to keep my head down and work and try to make the best show we can do."

On this tour, Fallon is offering NBC affiliates and fans around the country glimpses of what his Tonight Show will look like. House band the Roots will be back, as will announcer Steve Higgins. And so, he promised, will the inspired, energetic silliness that's made Late Night with Jimmy Fallon the viral juggernaut that it is. "It'll be exactly the same, I feel like, only an hour earlier," he said.

"I wish Steve Allen were still alive today so he could see what I'm doing," he continued, referring to the Tonight Show's original host from the '50s. "Steve Allen used to get into a giant bowl and make a banana split. He'd be the banana, and they'd put whipped cream on him. … I think he'd be psyched. He'd be like, 'Yes! Let's keep it silly, keep it goofy, keep it fun! That's what it's all about!' "

• • •

Fallon estimates he'll visit at least 25 cities before his Tonight Show debuts in February, and each tour stop is planned down to the minute.

After visiting an NBC affiliate in Orlando on Wednesday, he grabbed lunch at the city's landmark Beefy King and raced to Tampa's WFLA to film Tonight Show promos, sit in on a live 4 p.m. broadcast, sample a Columbia Restaurant Cuban and tape an episode of Daytime, which will air Monday.

Most of Fallon's Tampa fans didn't get to see Fallon in the flesh until Wednesday night, when he and comics Nick Thune, Nate Bargatze, Julian McCullough and Seth Herzog took the stage at the 87-year-old Tampa Theatre.

Fallon, fittingly, served as the emcee, enthusiastically introducing his fellow comics with a little standup or a bit from his show, such as his impressions of celebrities singing TV theme songs: Neil Young on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, the Doors on Reading Rainbow, Bob Dylan on Charles in Charge. Near the end, he blitzed the crowd with rapid-fire impressions of a host of A-list comedians, including Jerry Seinfeld, Robin Williams, Adam Sandler and Chris Rock.

Not on the list: Steve Allen. But Fallon still has a few months to get that one just right.

Jimmy Fallon charms Tampa with humor and energy 10/16/13 [Last modified: Wednesday, October 16, 2013 11:18pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Jordan Spieth wins British Open (w/ video)

    Golf

    SOUTHPORT, England — Someday, perhaps soon, there will be a plaque at Royal Birkdale for Jordan Spieth, much like the one off the 16th hole that celebrates Arnold Palmer and the 6-iron he slashed out of the rough in 1961 to win the British Open and usher in a new era of golf.

    Matt Kuchar plays out of the bunker on the 18th hole and finishes with bogey for 1-under 69. He had a one-shot lead after 13 holes.
  2. Fennelly: Brutal weekend could be start of something worse for Rays

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Well, that was lovely.

    Brad Boxberger suffers his second loss in the three-game series, this time by allowing back-to-back homers in the eighth inning when called on to protect a 5-3 lead. “Just bad pitches,” he says.
  3. Wesley Chapel hockey camp impresses youth players, parents

    Lightning Strikes

    WESLEY CHAPEL — As a 17-year-old Triple-A hockey player, MacCallum Brown regularly plays against elite talent. As a Palm Harbor resident, he often has to travel to face that talent.

  4. Rays claim not to be panicking after third straight brutal loss to Rangers (w/ video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — There was no "here we go again" moment in the dugout as Rougned Odor's two-run homer in the eighth inning arced across Tropicana Field and toward the rightfield seats, even though when it landed, the score was tied and another late-inning Rays lead was blown.

    Rays third baseman Evan Longoria heads back to the dugout after fouling out in the ninth inning with the potential tying run on first.
  5. White House signals acceptance of Russia sanctions bill

    National

    WASHINGTON — The White House indicated Sunday that President Donald Trump would accept new legislation imposing sanctions on Russia and curtailing his authority to lift them on his own, a striking turnaround after a broad revolt in Congress by lawmakers of both parties who distrusted his friendly approach to …

    President Donald Trump’s ability to lift sanctions against Russia would be blocked.