Jimmy Fallon did an impression of Bob Dylan Thursday night on NBC’s “Late Night” that was so incredible it even drew praise from Howard Stern.
The pre-produced Dylan bit – in which Fallon, as Dylan, was filmed documentary style in the manner of D.A. Pennebaker’s famed 1967 Dylan doc “Don’t Look Back” – was inserted just before Stern came on as Fallon’s first guest. The surprising song Fallon chose to sing Dylan-style: The theme song to “Charles in Charge.” It was, in a word, hilarious. Stern thought so too.
“I was back stage waiting forever,” Stern said when he came on, “but, boy, was that worth it! That Bob Dylan thing . . . C’mon do it again! I mean, what excitement!”
“That was fun, right?” Jimmy replied modestly as the studio audience went wild.
Then Stern went off on Fallon’s competition, Craig Ferguson, host of “Late Late Show” on CBS. “I think tonight you might even beat Craig Ferguson!” declared Stern, who then attempted to draw Fallon into a conversation about his competitor.
“It’s really coming down to the wire between you two,” Stern said. “I understand you have a 1 share and he has a 1 share . . . What am I doin’ here?! Are you beating Craig Ferguson or not?”
“We do – we flip-flop in the ratings,” Fallon said.
Then Stern joked about Ferguson’s Scottish accent. “You flip-flop back and forth – let me tell you,” Stern said sarcastically, “that accent of his, he’s highly relatable! I think the Bob Dylan thing is going to put you over the top tonight!”
Stern said his appearance on “Late Night” would be his last for a while on late-night TV. He recently appeared on David Letterman’s “Late Show” and “Jimmy Kimmel Live” on ABC (via satellite as a hologram), and agreed to do a cover interview with Rolling Stone magazine, all to promote a new cellphone app enabling users to hear his Sirius/XM radio show on their smartphones.
“It’s unbelievable,” Stern said, referring to what he perceives as Fallon’s low ratings. “I think I might sell three cellphone applications here tonight the way this is going!”
Stern, of course, is famously obsessed with late-night TV, recently telling Letterman he studies late-night “like it’s the Torah.” So Stern had some advice for Jimmy Fallon. “Let me give you some advice,” Stern said. “If they tell you they want to give you ‘The Tonight Show,’ smack ’em in the head!”
He then used Conan O’Brien’s experience to illustrate his point. “That Conan – I like Conan a lot, but he’s a big dope,” Stern said. “I always said to him, ‘You got a cush deal.’ He had this show. He sat here. Nobody watches, nobody cared about the ratings, nobody cares. . . . It’s like your own little playground here. You go on ‘The Tonight Show’ [and] suddenly they have high expectations. Suddenly it’s pressure. What do you need that for? I’d sit right here with these Roots and stand there and stare at each other!”
Stern then joined the Roots to perform the Kingsmen classic “Louie Louie,” for which Stern, surprisingly, played keyboard.