When a 20-foot python nearly craps all over the future host of the Tonight Show in Tampa, it's kind of a stop-the-presses moment. Much of the rest of what's in your notebook no longer seems quite as meaningful or important.
But there was certainly much more to report about Jimmy Fallon's whirlwind trip through Tampa on Wednesday – we just couldn't fit it all into our story about the day (which you can read by clicking here). So we're going to empty out our notebook with some stray anecdotes and observations that didn't make the final cut. Enjoy:
-- Fallon arrived at Tampa's WFLA-Ch. 8 exactly on time, at 2 p.m. sharp, smiling and waving to security. The staff was instructed not to take or ask for photos, but throughout Fallon's three-hour stay, more and more people seemed to ignore that rule.
-- Nice touch: Inside the Daytime studio, the folks at WFLA installed a Ben & Jerry's booth where they were scooping out Jimmy Fallon's Late Night Snack.
-- Fallon's big Tampa thing on Wednesday: Eating a Cuban sandwich from the Columbia Restaurant. This, despite much campaigning on Twitter for him to visit joints like Datz, the Oxford Exchange, Anise Global Gastrobar and Bo's Ice Cream. We asked Datz to come up with a Fallon-themed cocktail on the spot, and they came up with an "Office Washburn Coffee & Donut Cocktail" -- a reference to his character in the film Taxi. Deep cut!
-- The 50 or so people in the Daytime audience were largely advertisers and VIPs invited by the station. Among them was Laura Talakkottar, who brought a gift for Fallon's baby daughter Winnie Rose – a CD of classical lullabies and another by Nick Lachey. It's kind of cool that he's coming to our town," she said. "He's very upbeat, positive, very witty. And he's a nice guy, too."
-- That wasn't the only baby gift Fallon has gotten on this tour. "I've gotten some good little jerseys," he later told me. "Cute stuff. I just got a headband from one of the (WFLA) anchors; his wife makes baby headbands. On the button it says, 'Jimmy Fallon wipes my butt.' That's a pretty good one. That's up there with some of the best stuff I've got."
-- Sure, a 20-foot python nearly lost its load all over Fallon. But in a way, that wasn't the worst thing that happened to him. He was reading promos from a teleprompter when he noticed the introduction that had been typed out for the hosts to read: "Look who stopped by? It's Jerry Fallon from Late Night." "A snake attacks me, poops on me, and you call me Jerry Fallon? Some respect!" Fallon joked.
-- In talking about the Tonight Show, Fallon said: "Every night I can have a different guest. I can talk to you one day, and then I can talk to Connie Britton." As far as I'm concerned, I'm counting this as an invitation to appear on the Tonight Show alongside Connie Britton. I accept this invitation.
-- Fallon, of course, has a three-month-old daughter. I have a nine-month old girl, and naturally, when two new dads get together, the iPhones come out for photo time. I actually have a shot of my daughter standing in front of the TV looking at his show, which he loved. And he pulled out a shot of Winnie in an exer-saucer, which, he said, she's a bit too young to appreciate. "I spent an hour and a half putting it together, so I'm like, 'Oh, you're sitting in this thing. I'm gonna stuff it with blankets, and you're gonna sit in it,'" he said.
-- Fallon and four other comics performed for more than two hours at the Tampa Theatre, and no matter what style of comedy you like, you probably discovered someone new and intriguing. Seth Herzog has to win Opener of the Year for his ambitious set. Immediately after walking out, he started dancing to the Wonder Woman theme, then stripped down to a Wonder Woman onesie … and finished the rest of his set dressed that way. "You are correct: That was awesome," he said after the dance routine.
-- A couple of comics commented on the Tampa Theatre itself. "I'm way into this theater," Herzog said. "It's so ornate. It's like the Mexicans built an empire." Julian McCullough called it "the most beautiful theater I've ever been to," but called out the rustic, chipping paint on the fixtures: "You realize chipped paint means something violent happened on that spot," he said. He added: You realize we're surrounded by ghosts? This theater is full of ghosts."
-- Nick Thune dropped a local story on the Tampa crowd. When he was here in February performing at the Tampa Improv, he was crossing Ybor City's streetcar tracks with a pizza when he tripped and broke his arm. He went to Tampa General Hospital and got loaded up with drugs. "Anybody who ever gets hurt, go to Florida. They will give you drugs. I've never had OxyContin. They just gave it to me." While he couldn't play his guitar – a key part of his act – for six weeks, he went back to the Improv the next day and rocked the joint. "Maybe I found my thing," he said.
-- By the end of the night, everyone probably had their own favorite comic. Bargatze and Herzog were both well received. I think McCullough was my favorite, though Thune, a bookish alt-comedy favorite, had two of the best semi-blue jokes of the night. First: "The other day I walked in on my roommate while I was masturbating. My roommate is my wife. She hates it when I call her my roommate." Second: "I bought a pair of camouflage underwear to support my troops. Those two guys are fighting a war down there."
-- Fallon did a version of "Thank You Notes" live on stage, including one about Orlando: "Thank you, Orlando. I like you for the same reasons I like L.A.: Lots of sunshine, a great Disney park and knowing you're better without Dwight Howard." Another good one: "Thank you, microbreweries, for making my alcoholism seem like a neat hobby."
-- A quote from Jimmy Fallon: "Hashtag Tampa. Hashtag HavingAGoodTime."
-- Jay Cridlin, tbt*