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Jimmy Fallon and the art of the non-interview

Jan 13, 2010, 12:34 AM EDT

fallon_100112.jpgIf you need any more evidence that NBC is destroying its late night lineup by driving off Conan O’Brien, look no further than Monday night’s appearance by David Ortiz on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.

(kudos to Dan Lamothe at Red Sox Monster)

We all know that celebrities use talk shows to promote things they are selling to the public, whether movies, or music, or, as in Ortiz’s case, a line of hot sauce.

But you’d think that on the day Mark McGwire admitted taking steroids, a prominent baseball player like Ortiz – who has himself been implicated in the use of performance-enhancing drugs – might have something to say on the topic. Or at least ask him about it and deal with the brush-off. You know Letterman would ask five or 10 times before giving up or running out of time.

But Fallon, as lovable and irrepressibly charming as he is, either was unable – or unwilling – to ask Ortiz any questions of substance. Instead he fawned over his Boston Red Sox hero, talked about the movie Fever Pitch, and generally wasted time.

Actual sequence from interview:

Ortiz: We have two more (hot sauce flavors) coming out.
Fallon: Two more? (stunned) Oh my gosh.

Wow. That’s some good stuff.

By the way, the fellas on Morning Joe had Papi on Tuesday morning (enough with the hot sauce!) and they managed to ask him about McGwire. Ortiz didn’t say a whole lot, but at least they tried. See Jimmy, that wasn’t so hard. He didn’t even get mad!

Watch the video below:

  1. Michael - Jan 13, 2010 at 1:25 AM

    I can’t decide whether this is a failed attempt at lampooning the crappy sportswriters who claimed Costas was lobbing softballs at McGwire, or you’re not acquainted with “TV.”
    Please clarify.
    If the latter, I can also tell you that morning-show weathermen spend time trying to be humorous, “The Office” is not supposed to be an actual reality show, and “American Idol” isn’t a weekly rerun of the Brady Bunch episode where they went to Hawaii.

  2. billybill - Jan 13, 2010 at 4:26 AM

    My friend swears that hot sauce makes him more of a man.
    Figures Ortiz would be in on it.

  3. Josh - Jan 13, 2010 at 4:49 AM

    Um, that’s exactly what I love about the show, they actually have conversations and it doesn’t sound like an interview. They actually “talk.”
    It’s not like ‘You have a new movie out tell us about it.’

  4. GBSimons - Jan 13, 2010 at 7:19 AM

    At the 1:09 mark, did one of the hosts actually say to Ortiz, “You do it clean?!?!” Did he miss Ortiz’s name being leaked from the List of 103?

  5. ossurworld - Jan 13, 2010 at 7:29 AM

    As a few readers understand (but NOT the writer), the show is not a news interview format. This is not Face the Nation: it is a light, breezy comedy during late night.

  6. NC - Jan 13, 2010 at 7:40 AM

    Actually, no, I can’t bring myself to willingly click on a link that I know will lead to me spending a single moment watching Jimmy Fallon. I’ll take your word that it sucks, Craig.

  7. Bill@TDS - Jan 13, 2010 at 8:59 AM

    I don’t get comment #1 at all. Conan or Letterman would’ve asked about McGwire. Hell, the morning show weatherman would’ve asked. Major fail by Fallon.
    I also made the mistake of leaving the TV on during Fallon’s show last night, and he didn’t make even a single, even thickly veiled reference to the giant news story he’s a part of. Conan’s entire show was about it, more or less, and was even funnier because of it. I’m one of the few people who actually kind of likes Jimmy Fallon. He’s just terribly out of place in that job.

  8. aceshigh - Jan 13, 2010 at 10:05 AM

    So Papi…did you ever sort out precisely WHY you showed up on the 2003 list??
    I’m a big Sox fan, but he flat-out lied to us all. I’m guessing NO ONE in the media will ever press Ortiz on the the progress of his “investigation” into why he tested positive.
    Typical nonsensical U.S. corporatist media. Absolutely useless.

  9. Stultus Magnus - Jan 13, 2010 at 10:35 AM

    Why are you surprised that Fallon sucks at interviewing people? He’s never been good at anything he does in entertainment.
    Goofy man on TV who can’t keep a straight face. Don’t raise your expectations.

  10. Moses Green - Jan 13, 2010 at 10:44 AM

    The good thing about the reaction to Papi’s steroid “revelation” is that it proves the media reaction isn’t based on race. Too many people are rushing forward to claim the difference between the reactions for Bonds and McGwire are based on race. They aren’t. The reaction is now officially based on whether people like the Steroid Cheat in question. Personable? Charming? A good interview? You get a pass. Surly? Egotistical? Overtly Narcissistic (i.e. multiple paintings in the bedroom with your head on a centaur) — You get slammed. Do not pass Go, No $200, straight to Slammed. It doesn’t matter how or whether you apologize, when or if you tell the truth. The litmus test is simple – like you or don’t like you. That’s all.

  11. ecp - Jan 13, 2010 at 10:47 AM

    Umm…Not Craig. But yeah, I agree, Jimmy Fallon is unfunny and unwatchable.

  12. Moses Green - Jan 13, 2010 at 10:49 AM

    I hear that – not a big fan of segues like …. soooo … your new book …. tell us about it.

  13. VF551XVT - Jan 13, 2010 at 1:21 PM

    I love this blog theme. Where can I find it?

  14. YANKEES1996 - Jan 13, 2010 at 3:13 PM

    So that is what Big Papi tested positive for Hot Sauce, silly me I thought it might have been steroids. Why didn’t he just come out and say he tested positive for hot sauce instead all that bulls*** about I don’t know what I tested positive for and I don’t know why my name is on the list but I’m going to find out! It was Habanero peppers Big Papi, yea thats it Hot sauce, go with that!

  15. Old Gator - Jan 13, 2010 at 4:58 PM

    I heard they cut Drew Barrymore’s nude scene out of the European version of Fever Pitch because the test audiences were falling asleep. But apparently they left Fallon‘s nude scene in.

  16. Bob Harkins - Jan 13, 2010 at 7:05 PM

    I don’t mind being confused with Craig. Craig rocks. In fact, anyone else like the sound of “Late Night with Craig Calcaterra”

  17. eman - Jan 14, 2010 at 1:20 PM

    Jimmy Fallon isnt a journalist. Hes also not David Letterman.

  18. Lucila Kehm - Feb 8, 2010 at 11:42 AM

    lol, Letterman is so wild! I love him.

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