On the set with Jimmy Fallon
One of the main benefits to having the Super Bowl in town will be having the spotlight shine on Indianapolis brighter than it ever has before.
Among other things, NBC Late Night talk show host Jimmy Fallon will bring his show to Indianapolis for four nights including Super Bowl Sunday.
Eyewitness News recently had a chance to spend some time with Jimmy in New York, where he and his staff were preparing to take his show on the road for the first time.
Most people got to know Jimmy Fallon on Saturday Night Live. It was his dream job that he got at the age of 24.
"That was my focus, that was my goal, that's all I wanted to do my whole life. I wanted to be on Saturday Night Live," he said.
But after six years, with his contract up, he decided to leave his life's dream behind.
"I never wanted to overstay my welcome. The fun part of the show is that the cast changes with the times and the jokes change and the comedy changes. It speaks to different generations. That's the fun of SNL," he said.
After a few years away from NBC, he landed back in New York in an office just a few floors below SNL.
Like the man himself, Jimmy's office is unpretentious and eclectic. Along with family photos, there' a giant pickle behind a glass ceiling panel passed on from Conan O'Brien staff, a picture of his talk show idol Johnny Carson, and one of the coolest guitars ever made.
"I always wanted a stained glass guitar. I'm gonna call it the ga-thedral. They said OK, we can do that. I said can you make it light up? They said yes. So look at this...and it's pretty loud," Jimmy explained, showing off the unique guitar.
He does the show down the hall in studio 6B, the same studio that Carson used for the Tonight Show 40 years earlier.
Jimmy wasn't even sure he wanted the job until his wife pointed out that this was a chance to make his own place in television history.
"I asked my wife and she was like, 'You have to. If you don't do it, you'll never know if you're supposed to do it or not do it. How many people besides you have done it? You have David Letterman and Conan O'brien. That's it. No one else has done it. You'll be one of three people so even if you fail, your name is still on a cool list,'" he said.
But Jimmy works hard not to fail. In the hours before show time, Fallon and crew work out their comedy routines. On the day we visited, they spent more than an hour running through a 90-second hallway bumper car race to get it right.
When the show is going well, it looks easy. But it's not. It takes dozens of people to put on Late Night every night and, for the first time, the crew will try to do it on the road in Indianapolis.
Fallon and his 60 crew members have been anxious to take the show on the road since they started.
"We have never been on the road. Ever," said Jimmy.
Regarding the choice of Indianapolis, "I am so psyched to get there. I hope all the guys and girls out there in Indianapolis are there waiting for us, ready to have a fun party. We're gonna have a show Wed, Thurs, Fri, and Sunday, Super Bowl Sunday."
All the shows, including the live Super Bowl Sunday show, will be at the Hilbert Circle Theatre.
"You're opening up your home for us and we're gonna treat it with respect. We can't wait to go. We want recommendations, tell us where to go, tell us what to do. We might not leave. We want to be there. We're gonna show the best of what Indianapolis has. We can't wait to get there. It's gonna be a week long party," said Jimmy.
So what happens when the party in Indianapolis ends? If he has his way, Jimmy Fallon will be a late night talk show host for years to come.
"I had a conversation with Jerry Seinfeld at a charity event. I said, 'I,m gonna be hosting Late Night. And he goes, 'Are you sure you want this? You got this job, you'll have it forever, this job.' I go, 'It's a Pope job.' He goes, 'It's a Pope job. You keep it til you die. You don't stop. Are you sure you want it?' I said, 'Yeah, I really want this job. This is it,'" he said.
Jimmy says there will be a lot of "Indianapolis" in the shows he does here, starting with the Hilbert Circle Theatre. He told me that he is so taken with the history and beauty of the place, that they have been through several set designs to make sure their set can match what he calls the "glamour" of their temporary surroundings downtown.