CLOSE
Original image
Getty Images

10 Clearly Unscripted Moments from Late Night with Jimmy Fallon

Original image
Getty Images

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. 

Original image
Magnolia Pictures
arrow
Lists
8 Gonzo Facts About Hunter S. Thompson
Original image
Hunter S. Thompson in Gonzo: The Life and Work of Hunter S. Thompson (2008)
Magnolia Pictures

Like any real-life legend, there are many myths surrounding the life and work of Hunter S. Thompson. But in Thompson’s case, most of those stories—particularly the more outlandish ones—are absolutely true. The founder of the “Gonzo journalism” movement is one of the most fascinating figures of the 20th century. In celebration of what would have been his 80th birthday, here are some things you might not have known about the eccentric writer.

1. HE WAS NAMED AFTER A FAMOUS SCOTTISH SURGEON.

Hunter S. Thompson was reportedly named after one of his mother’s ancestors, a Scottish surgeon named Nigel John Hunter. But Hunter wasn't just your run-of-the-mill surgeon. In a 2004 interview with the Independent, Thompson brought along a copy of The Reluctant Surgeon, a Biography of Nigel John Hunter, a biography of his namesake, which read: "A gruff Scotsman, Hunter has been described as the most important naturalist between Aristotle and Darwin, the Shakespeare of medicine and the greatest man the British ever produced. He was the first to trace the lymphatic system. He performed the first human artificial insemination. He was the greatest collector of anatomical specimens in history. He prescribed the orthopaedic shoe that allowed Lord Byron to walk."

When pressed about what that description had to do with him, Thompson responded: "Well, I guess that might be the secret of my survival. Good genes."

2. HE MISSED HIS HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION … BECAUSE HE WAS IN JAIL.

Just a few weeks before he was set to graduate from high school, at the age of 17, Thompson was charged as an accessory to robbery and sentenced to 60 days in jail. 

“One night Ralston Steenrod, who was in the Athenaeum with Hunter, was driving, and Hunter and another guy he knew were in the car,” Thompson’s childhood friend Neville Blakemore recalled of the incident. “As they were driv­ing through Cherokee Park, the other guy said, ‘Stop. I want to bum a ciga­rette from that car.’ People used to go park and neck at this spot. And the guy got out and apparently went back and mugged them. The guy who was mugged got their license number and traced the car, and within a very short time they were all three arrested.

“Just before this Hunter had been blamed for a nighttime gas-station rob­bery,” Blakemore added, “and before that he and some friends got arrested for buying booze under­age at Abe's Liquor Store on Frankfort Avenue by the tracks. So Hunter had a record, and he was already on probation. He was given an ultimatum: jail or the military. And Hunter took the Air Force. He didn't graduate with his class.”

3. IT WAS A FELLOW JOURNALIST WHO COINED THE TERM “GONZO.”

Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

While covering the 1968 New Hampshire primary, Thompson met fellow writer and editor Bill Carodoso, editor of The Boston Globe Sunday Magazine, which is where Thompson first heard him use the word “Gonzo.” “It meant sort of ‘crazy’ or ‘off-the-wall,’” Thompson said in Anita Thompson’s Ancient Gonzo Wisdom: Interviews with Hunter S. Thompson. Two years later, in June 1970, Thompson wrote an article for Scanlan’s Monthly entitled “The Kentucky Derby Is Decadent and Depraved,” which became a game-changing moment in journalism because of its offbeat, slightly manic style that was written with first-person subjectivity.

Among the many fellow journalists who praised Thompson for the piece was Cardoso, who sent a letter to Thompson that “said something like, ‘Forget all the sh*t you’ve been writing, this is it; this is pure Gonzo.’ Gonzo. Yeah, of course. That’s what I was doing all the time. Of course, I might be crazy.” Thompson ran with the word, and would use it himself for the first time a year later, in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.

4. HE TYPED OUT FAMOUS NOVELS TO LEARN THE ART OF WRITING.

In order to get the “feel” of being a writer, Thompson used to retype his favorite novels in full. “[H]is true model and hero was F. Scott Fitzgerald,” Louis Menand wrote in The New Yorker. “He used to type out pages from The Great Gatsby, just to get the feeling, he said, of what it was like to write that way, and Fitzgerald’s novel was continually on his mind while he was working on Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, which was published, after a prolonged and agonizing compositional nightmare, in 1972.”

"If you type out somebody's work, you learn a lot about it,” Thompson told Charlie Rose in 1997. “Amazingly it's like music. And from typing out parts of Faulkner, Hemingway, Fitzgerald—these were writers that were very big in my life and the lives of the people around me—so yeah, I wanted to learn from the best I guess."

5. HE RAN FOR SHERIFF IN COLORADO.

In 1970, Thompson ran for sheriff of Pitkin County, Colorado on what he called the Freak Power ticket. Among his political tactics: shaving his head so that he could refer to his opponent as his “long-haired opponent,” promising to eat mescaline while on duty, and campaigning to rename Aspen “Fat City” to deter "greed heads, land-rapers, and other human jackals from capitalizing on the name 'Aspen.'" Unfortunately, he lost.

6. HE STOLE A MEMENTO FROM ERNEST HEMINGWAY.

In 1964, three years after Ernest Hemingway committed suicide at his cabin in Ketchum, Idaho, Thompson traveled to the late author’s home in order to write “What Lured Hemingway to Ketchum?” While there, according to his widow, Hunter “got caught up in the moment” and took “a big pair of elk horns over the front door.” Last year, more than a decade after Thompson’s death, Anita returned the antlers to the Hemingway family—which is something she and Hunter had always planned to do. “They were warm and kind of tickled … they were so open and grateful, there was no weirdness,” Anita said.

7. HE ONCE USED THE INSIDE OF MUSICIAN JOHN OATES’ COLORADO CABIN AS HIS PERSONAL PARKING SPACE.

Magnolia Pictures

Earlier this month, musician John Oates—the latter half of Hall & Oates—shared a story about his ranch in Woody Creek, Colorado, just outside of Aspen, which is currently on the market for $6 million. In an interview with Colorado Public Radio, Oates recalled how when he first purchased the cabin, there was a red convertible parked inside. “I happened to ask the real estate agent who owned the convertible, and he said ‘your neighbor Hunter Thompson,’” Oates said. “Why is he keeping his car in a piece of property he doesn’t own? The real estate agent looked at me and said ‘It’s Woody Creek, you’ll figure this out. It’s a different kind of place.’” After sending several letters to his neighbor to retrieve his vehicle, Oates took matters into his own hands and deposited the car on Thompson’s lawn. Oates said that the two became friends, but never mentioned the incident.

8. AT HIS FUNERAL, HIS ASHES WERE SHOT OUT OF A CANNON.

On February 20, 2005—at the age of 67—Thompson committed suicide. But Thompson wasn’t about to leave this world quietly. In August of that year, in accordance with his wishes, Thompson's ashes were shot into the air from a cannon while fireworks filled the sky.

“He loved explosions," his widow, Anita, told ESPN, which wrote that, “The private celebration included actors Bill Murray and Johnny Depp, rock bands, blowup dolls and plenty of liquor to honor Thompson, who killed himself six months ago at the age of 67.”

Original image
Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images
arrow
entertainment
15 Memorable Quotes from George A. Romero
Original image
Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images

Hollywood has lost one of its most iconic horror innovators with the death of George A. Romero, who passed away on Sunday at the age of 77. “He died peacefully in his sleep, following a brief but aggressive battle with lung cancer, and leaves behind a loving family, many friends, and a filmmaking legacy that has endured, and will continue to endure, the test of time,” his manager, Chris Roe, said in a statement.

Though he rose to prominence as the master of zombie flicks, beginning with Night of the Living Dead, Romero honed his filmmaking skills on a far less frightening set: shooting bits for Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.

“I still joke that 'Mr. Rogers Gets a Tonsillectomy' is the scariest film I’ve ever made,” Romero once said. “What I really mean is that I was scared sh*tless while I was trying to pull it off.” (Rogers returned the favor by being a longtime champion of Romero’s work—and even called Dawn of the Dead “a lot of fun.”)

It’s that high-spirited sense of fun that made Romero’s work so iconic—and kept the New York City native busy for nearly 50 years. To celebrate his life and career, here are 15 of his most memorable quotes on everything from the humanity of zombies to the horror of Hollywood producers.

ON THE IMPORTANCE OF HAVING A SENSE OF HUMOR

“For a Catholic kid in parochial school, the only way to survive the beatings—by classmates, not the nuns—was to be the funny guy.”

ON THE HOLLYWOOD WAY

“If I fail, the film industry writes me off as another statistic. If I succeed, they pay me a million bucks to fly out to Hollywood and fart.”

ON BEING PIGEONHOLED

“As a filmmaker you get typecast just as much as an actor does, so I'm trapped in a genre that I love, but I'm trapped in it!”

ON ZOMBIES AS A METAPHOR

“I also have always liked the monster within idea. I like the zombies being us. Zombies are the blue-collar monsters.”

ON FINDING OBJECTIVITY AS A FILMMAKER

“There are so many factors when you think of your own films. You think of the people you worked on it with, and somehow forget the movie. You can't forgive the movie for a long time. It takes a few years to look at it with any objectivity and forgive its flaws.”

ON THE REAL VALUE OF THE INTERNET

“What the Internet's value is that you have access to information but you also have access to every lunatic that's out there that wants to throw up a blog.”

ON THE HORROR OF DEALING WITH PRODUCERS

“I'll never get sick of zombies. I just get sick of producers.”

ON THE IMPORTANCE OF COLLABORATION

“Collaborate, don’t dictate.”

ON THE BEAUTY OF LOW-BUDGET MOVIEMAKING

“I don't think you need to spend $40 million to be creepy. The best horror films are the ones that are much less endowed.”

ON HUMANS BEING THE REAL VILLAINS

“My zombies will never take over the world because I need the humans. The humans are the ones I dislike the most, and they're where the trouble really lies.”

ON BEING IMMUNE TO TRENDS

“Somehow I've been able to keep standing and stay in my little corner and do my little stuff and I'm not particularly affected by trends or I'm not dying to make a 3-D movie or anything like that. I'm just sort of happy to still be around.”

ON THE HUMANITY OF HORROR

“My stories are about humans and how they react, or fail to react, or react stupidly. I'm pointing the finger at us, not at the zombies. I try to respect and sympathize with the zombies as much as possible.”

ON THE ENDURING APPEAL OF HORROR

“If one horror film hits, everyone says, 'Let's go make a horror film.' It's the genre that never dies.”

ON THE IMPORTANCE OF SURROUNDING ZOMBIES WITH STUPID PEOPLE

“A zombie film is not fun without a bunch of stupid people running around and observing how they fail to handle the situation.”

ON LIFE AFTER DEATH

“I'm like my zombies. I won't stay dead!”

SECTIONS

More from mental floss studios