All that was needed was animal expert Julie Scardina with a zebra and Jay Leno would have had an “all-Z” “Tonight Show” Friday night.
But Scardina — Leno’s go-to wildlife wrangler (she’s “Animal Ambassador” for the SeaWorld and Busch Gardens parks) — was not on-hand when Leno hosted Zooey Deschanel and ZZ Top on Friday’s “Tonight Show,” with new NBC sitcom star Anthony Anderson appearing in-between the two. (I guess you could then say the show had guests from A to Z, but we’ll stick solely with the “Z” theme here, except to say this about Anderson: He stars in “Guys With Kids,” a new NBC comedy premiering next Wednesday, Sept. 26, at 8:30/7:30c).
Why focus on this “Z” business? Well, it IS trivial (and probably coincidental that the two “Zs” were booked for the same “Tonight Show”), but the fact is, Zooey Deschanel, 32, is one of the most visible show business personalities in the world at the moment, and just the other day, we just happened to preview the upcoming season premiere of “The Simpsons” in which she guest-stars — and the episode was great.
But more on that in a moment. Before Jay asked her about “The Simpsons,” the two ran through a handful of topics that illustrated just how multi-faceted Zooey is.
They began with a discussion about her first-ever TV role — a guest-starring spot on the old Kirstie Alley sitcom “Veronica’s Closet” when Zooey was 16. They then talked about the daylong get-together Zooey recently enjoyed with country-music legend Loretta Lynn in Nashville. That was because Zooey — who writes music, sings, and plays guitar and ukelele — is preparing to star as Lynn on Broadway in a new “Coal Miner’s Daughter” musical now in development.
Oh, and Zooey also talked about the time recently when she met Paul McCartney at a party and he complimented her on a DVD he’d seen recently on which she appeared. She then discussed her interest in “nail art,” and showed some pictures of artistic works she’d had done on her fingernails. Plus, they talked about her Web site, HelloGiggles.
Then it was on to “The Simpsons” and the season premiere (Sunday, Sept. 30, at 8/7c on Fox) in which Zooey has a guest-voice role as a love interest for Bart Simpson, to whom she sings a country-styled love song that she wrote and composed personally. (Also heard in that “Simpsons” episode, in which the Simpsons return to New York City: Al Roker, Ken Burns, Natalie Portman, Sarah Silverman and many more).
Finally, Leno and Zooey talked about her Emmy nomination for “New Girl,” which starts its new season next Tuesday (Sept. 25) at 8/7c on Fox. The Emmys, of course, are on Sunday night — starting at 8/7c on ABC, with Jimmy Kimmel hosting.
And of course, we leave this Z story with ZZ Top, who performed their new single, “I Gotsta Get Paid” from their latest CD, “La Futura.”