Longtime Late Show bandleader and his World's Most Dangerous Band accompanied Jimmy Fallon
PAUL SHAFFER MADE his one-night-only return to late-night Friday as he sat in for the Roots on The Tonight Show.
“It’s such a coincidence we’re here tonight because 41 years ago this very week was when David Letterman came on the air right across the hall here at NBC… so this is like our 41st anniversary,” Shaffer told host Jimmy Fallon.
Getting “the band back together” for one night meant Shaffer calling on “Most Dangerous” regulars such as guitarist Felicia Collins, drummer Anton Fig and bassist Will Lee, who started off their “Tonight Show” performance Friday by playing The Roots usual introductory theme music, even down to their doo-doo-doo chorus vocals.
“Hey, am I in the right studio?” teased Shaffer before the live studio audience in Studio 6B at 30 Rockefeller Center in New York City before Fallon hit the stage.
Fallon’s conversation with Schaffer turned to comedy, with Fallon admitting that he was a “fan” of Shaffer's. “Not only did you change the game and raise the bar as to what a band can do on a show. Obviously there was Doc Severinsen (Johnny Carson’s bandleader at ‘The Tonight Show’). But you took it to the next level. And I think that you changed the face of comedy as well, if I may say… When Dave told a joke and the audience wouldn’t really laugh, you would go, ‘Heh.’ And, that’s when you knew it was funny. Comedy nerds at home were going ‘He’s right.’ The audience just didn’t get it yet.” Fallon added that many comedians now imitate that laugh. “Tina Fey laughs like you. They’re all doing you.”
The nicest tribute to Shaffer on Friday came during the “Thank You Note” segment when Fallon thanked the bandleader with a nod to his time on Letterman. “When people talk about legends of late-night TV, you are number one on everyone’s top 10 list.”