NBC Clamps Down on Questlove After Bachmann Incident

by | December 7, 2011 at 3:35 PM | Late Night With Jimmy Fallon, TV News

Michele Bachmann and Jimmy Fallon (Photos: NBC)

Michele Bachmann and Jimmy Fallon (Photos: NBC)

UPDATED: Naughty NBC “Late Night” bandleader Questlove now has to run his song choices by “three different NBC execs” in the wake of his ill-considered decision to play a song called “Lyin’ Ass Bitch” to “welcome” Michele Bachmann when she appeared on the show last month. According to a story in Rolling Stone magazine reported by the New York Post here, NBC’s disciplinary action in the matter was swift, with Questlove awakened at 9 a.m. the next morning and commanded to appear at NBC headquarters to explain himself. In fact, he had long planned to play the song if Bachmann ever appeared, Rolling Stone reported. “It was a real bummer,” Jimmy Fallon said in the magazine article. “We don’t want to censor anyone, but . . . I don’t know. Maybe Questlove is a Romney guy!”

PREVIOUSLY: Sheepish Jimmy Fallon says he apologized personally to Michele Bachmann after his bandleader Questlove directed the band to play an insulting song to welcome her onto NBC’s “Late Night” last month.

But Fallon — who commented on the incident Monday night on Brian Williams’ prime-time show on NBC, “Rock Center” — revealed that Questlove felt the worst repercussions for his musical mistake: He was “yelled at by his mother,” Jimmy told Williams.

“I don’t think . . . anyone should be treated that way,” Fallon said, hanging his head on “Rock Center.” “So I was embarrassed by that — I want it to go away. I called her numerous times to apologize and then I didn’t hear back from her that day, and so I talked to her the next day and she was like [he mimicks her Minnesota accent here], ‘I had a kick on your show. I just don’t know why Questlove played that!’ And I go, ‘I’m so sorry and he’ll call and apologize to you.’ He’s been yelled at by his mother and everybody. He felt bad, he felt really bad.”

But later in the evening on “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” you had cause to wonder how bad Jimmy really felt about the Bachmann “welcome” song (a 1985 tune called “Lyin’ Ass Bitch”) because he and guest Steve Martin staged an elaborate comedy bit based on the incident.

The bit — planned obviously in advance by Martin, Fallon and The Roots — had Martin feigning unhappiness with the music the band played when he came on stage — “Walk Like an Egyptian,” a reference to his “King Tut” past. Martin even got Fallon to let him make another entrance to different music, which turned out to be “Old Man” by Neil Young.

Watch Jimmy Fallon give Steve Martin a homemade Grammy Award on Monday’s “Late Night”:


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