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10 Clearly Unscripted Moments from Late Night with Jimmy Fallon

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As Jimmy Fallon gets ready to yield his beloved 12:35am EST time slot to Seth Meyers, it’s a good time to look back at what we loved about Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. Fallon is well-known for breaking character from his SNL days, and Late Night embraced that quality. The result was tons of impromptu moments and, frankly, a show that seemed more real than most reality television these days. Here are ten.

1. DMX Thank You Note

It’s hard to imagine that it could get any better than Jimmy writing a thank you note to DMX. But he also raps, “All you need for a hip hop treat / Are some words that rhyme and a really good beat.” Announcer Steve Higgins can’t help but get in on the action and the whole thing deteriorates into references to corncob pipes, raccoon skin coats, and jalopies. Jimmy never seems to recover from the incident as the thank you notes continue.

2. Real People, Fake Arms with Miley Cyrus

In Miley’s defense, her visit to Late Night was smack-dab in the middle of her strenuous promotional tour for her album Bangerz. Her performance in the recurring sketch “Real People, Fake Arms” doesn’t seem to go as rehearsed. She’s supposed to be hiding her real hands from the camera, but they pop onto the screen every once in a while. Jimmy acknowledges her blunders towards the end, saying, “I think I saw an extra hand there.”

3. Improv Dance with Rebel Wilson

Jimmy enlists the hilarious Rebel Wilson to make up dance moves with him like “The Mick Jagger Chicken” and “The I’m Holding Too Much Eye Contact While Thrusting.” The spontaneity comes in when they refuse to act out one card and Rebel asks, “Who wrote these?” As usual, this leaves Jimmy in hysterics.

4. Jeff Musial Fails to Scare Jimmy

Every late show has an animal expert periodically stop by with a bunch of wild animals to terrify the host. It’s comedy gold. Jeff Musial is that person for Late Night. One of his most awkward visits to the show involves a prank gift that his kids allegedly made for Jimmy. When the old fake-spider-in-a-box trick fails to scare him, Jimmy’s face is priceless as he tosses the cube aside (watch at 1:55).

5. The Puppy Predictors Go Nuts

It would be a crime to script a segment that involves Jimmy Fallon and puppies. This is clear when Jimmy tries to calm his “puppy predictors” before releasing them. When they finally get let out, half of them run in opposite directions. Jimmy ends up scooping up puppies through the rest of the segment. But, hey, the overall group predicts Argo, which did win the Academy Award that year. Maybe the puppies know something we don’t.

6. Egg Roulette with Tom Cruise

Jimmy must have a way of convincing celebrities to do bizarre things, such as getting Tom Cruise to smash eggs into his hair for a game of “Egg Roulette.” Tom loses this round, cracking two raw eggs over his head. It’s hard to believe that Tom wouldn’t have micromanaged this game during the pre-show, but Jimmy’s hysterical laughter reveals how authentic the interaction is. He even yells, “This is the best, man!”

7. Jimmy’s Post-Pun Walk Away

Every week, Jimmy solicits his Twitter followers for tweets using a particular hashtag, like this one: #PolarVortexSongs. One tweet contains the pun “Chilly Joel,” which encourages Jimmy and Steve to start making puns of their own. Jimmy makes his last joke, then walks away ... through the set window. Warranted? Probably.

8. Freestylin’ with The Roots

A more obvious example of unscripted moments from the show is the popular segment, “Freestylin’ with The Roots.” It’s great to see Jimmy charm his audience and hear The Roots jam in all different genres. Plus, they have tough material to work with, like audience member Troy, who says he would have named the royal baby Prince Lucifer.

9. Jennifer Aniston Can’t Play Pictionary

Jimmy and Jennifer are joined by Lenny Kravitz and CeeLo Green in one of Jimmy’s favorite games, Pictionary. Jennifer seems reluctant to play and walks up to the other team’s easel. She groans, “I told you I stink at this!” Then CeeLo shouts out guesses for the other team. The moral is that if you’re ever playing celebrity Pictionary, pick Lenny Kravitz to be on your team.

10. Questlove’s Spit Take

Why did Questlove spit during Jimmy’s interview with Key and Peele? Who knows. Does it matter? No way. And because this one deserves to be watched over and over again, the Late Night tumblr has a gif. You’re welcome. 

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David Lynch's Amazon T-Shirt Shop is as Surreal as His Movies
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Dominique Faget, AFP/Getty Images

David Lynch, the celebrated director behind baffling-but-brilliant films like Eraserhead, Blue Velvet, Mulholland Drive, and Twin Peaks, is now selling his equally surreal T-shirts on Amazon.

As IndieWire reports, each shirt bears an image of one of Lynch’s paintings or photographs with an accompanying title. Some of his designs are more straightforward (the shirts labeled “House” and “Whale” feature, respectively, drawings of a house and a whale), while others are obscure (the shirt called “Chicken Head Tears” features a disturbing sculpture of a semi-human face).

This isn’t the first time Lynch has ventured into pursuits outside of filmmaking. Previously, he has sold coffee, designed furniture, produced music, hosted daily weather reports, and published a book about his experience with transcendental meditation. Art, in fact, falls a little closer to Lynch’s roots; the filmmaker trained for years at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts before making his mark in Hollywood.

Lynch’s Amazon store currently sells 57 T-shirts, ranging in size from small to triple XL, all for $26 each. As for our own feelings on the collection, we think they’re best reflected by this T-shirt named “Honestly, I’m Sort of Confused.”

Check out some of our favorites below:

T-shirt that says "Honestly, I'm Sort of Confused"
"Honestly, I'm Sort of Confused"

Buy it on Amazon

T-shirt with a drawing of a sleeping bird on it
"Sleeping Bird"

Buy it on Amazon

T-shirt that says Peace on Earth over and over again. The caption is pretty on the nose.
"Peace on Earth"

Buy it on Amazon

T-shirt with an image of a screaming face made out of turkey with ants in its mouth
"Turkey Cheese Head"

Buy it on Amazon

T-shirt with an odd sculpted clay face asking if you know who it is. You get the idea.
"I Was Wondering If You Know Who I Am?"

Buy it on Amazon

T-shirt with an image of a sculpted head that is not a chicken. It is blue, though.
"Chicken Head Blue"

Buy it on Amazon

T-shirt with a drawing of a lobster on it. Below the drawing, the lobster is labeled with the word lobster. Shocking, I know.
"Lobster"

Buy it on Amazon

T-shirt with an abstract drawing of what is by David Lynch's account, at least, a cowboy
"Cowboy"

Buy it on Amazon

[h/t IndieWire]

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9 Things You Might Not Know About Maurice Sendak
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Maurice Sendak's books were shaped by his own childhood: one marked by the Lindbergh baby kidnapping, the concentration camp deaths of most of his extended family, and parents consumed by depression and anger. When Sendak started illustrating and writing for children, he vowed that he wouldn't write stories of sunshine and rainbows, because that's not real life. In honor of what would have been his 90th birthday, here are a few other things about Maurice Sendak's real life you may not have known.

1. HE DESIGNED F.A.O. SCHWARZ'S WINDOW DISPLAYS.

Sendak and his brother visited Manhattan’s F.A.O. Schwarz in 1948 to try to get the company to purchase their handmade, fairytale-inspired wooden toys. Though the toy store declined to purchase the brothers’ work for reproduction, they were impressed with Sendak’s artistic eye and asked him if he’d be interested in a job dressing windows. He worked at F.A.O. Schwarz for three years while taking classes at the New York Art Students League.

2. WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE WAS ORIGINALLY TITLED WHERE THE WILD HORSES ARE.

The book was intended, of course, to feature fillies, foals and mares. Editor Ursula Nordstrom adored the title, finding it poetic and beautiful, but there was one problem: Sendak couldn’t draw horses. When he told his editor that the whole horse thing wasn’t going to work out, he recalls her “acid tone[d]” response: “Maurice, what can you draw?”

“Things,” he said, and "things" he drew.

Side note: Ursula Nordstrom was also the editor of a few classics like The Giving Tree, Goodnight Moon, Harold and the Purple Crayon and Charlotte’s Web among others. Not a bad resume.

3. THE “THINGS” SENDAK ENDED UP CREATING WERE INSPIRED BY HIS IMMIGRANT RELATIVES AND THE WAY HE VIEWED THEM AS A CHILD.

“They were unkempt; their teeth were horrifying. Hair unraveling out of their noses.” Though the monsters were modeled after his family, they weren’t named after them; in fact, the things had no names in the book. They finally received monikers when Wild Things was made into an opera. “We had to have names to tell [the actors] when they were screwing up. They had Jewish names: Moishe, Schmuel. But the names were dropped after the opera. They never had names until they became movie stars.”

4. MOST OF HIS EXTENDED FAMILY DIED IN CONCENTRATION CAMPS.

It wasn't until he was older that Sendak realized how lucky those immigrant relatives were to be alive—and how lucky he was. Most of his extended family died in concentration camps, which his father discovered the day of Sendak's bar mitzvah. He attended the happy event anyway. When unknowing guests burst into "For He's a Jolly Good Fellow" when Mr. Sendak walked through the door, Maurice knew something horrible had happened by his father's expression. "My father's face was vivid, livid, and I knew I had done something very bad, that I had made him suffer more than he had to. This 13-year-old ersatz man."

5. EVEN IF WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE HADN'T BEEN SUCH A HIT, YOU PROBABLY WOULD HAVE KNOWN SENDAK’S WORK ANYWAY.

Prior to the success of his own books, Sendak illustrated the popular Little Bear series by Else Holmelund Minarik.

6. ONE OF HIS BOOKS IS FREQUENTLY BANNED.

Though many parents and libraries initially protested that Where the Wild Things Are was too scary for children, it was his later book, In the Night Kitchen, that landed on the American Library Association’s frequently challenged and banned books list. It features a little boy named Mickey, who is nude throughout most of the story, likely because he’s dreaming. “Have you never had a dream, yourself, where you were totally naked?” he said, when Stephen Colbert asked him about the nudity. (Colbert: “No.” Sendak: “I think you’re a man of little imagination.”) Because of Mickey’s full frontal and some of his nude antics in the book (he jumps into a milk bottle, for instance, and later slides down it), critics have deemed it inappropriate for children. It was #24 on the ALA’s frequently banned books from 2000-2009.

7. HE WAS DEEPLY AFFECTED BY THE LINDBERGH BABY KIDNAPPING.

Sendak believed that the Lindbergh baby kidnapping very much affected his childhood, his work and his views on life in general. Though he was only 3.5 years old when the tragedy occurred in 1932, he says he vividly remembers the whole thing, including hearing Mrs. Lindbergh’s tearful voice pleading with the kidnappers via radio to rub camphor on her infant’s chest because she didn’t want his cold to get worse. “If that baby died, I had no chance. I was only a poor kid, okay? [When the Lindbergh baby was found dead,] I think something really fundamental died in me.”

8. SENDAK HATED EBOOKS.

Waiting for a sweet Where the Wild Things Are app for the iPad so your kids can explore the book in a new way? Don’t hold your breath. To say that Sendak disliked eBooks is an understatement: "F*** them is what I say; I hate those e-books. They cannot be the future ... they may well be. I will be dead, I won’t give a s***!”

9. HE NEVER CAME OUT TO HIS PARENTS.

Sendak never told his parents that he was gay. “All I wanted was to be straight so my parents could be happy,” he told The New York Times in 2008. “They never, never, never knew.” His partner of 50 years, Eugene Glynn, passed away in 2007.

This post originally appeared in 2011.

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