A few months ago, Jimmy Fallon didn’t know what “hook ‘em” was. Now, he’s on campus and ready to party.
For the first time in the show’s history, “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” is filming on a college campus to an all-student audience. The show, airing on Thursday, will feature Matthew McConaughey, Chip and Joanna Gaines and Gucci Mane.
The Daily Texan sat down to talk with Fallon about why he chose UT and what he’s been up to upon arriving in Austin.
Daily Texan: So, why did you pick UT to be the first University to do a show at?
Jimmy Fallon: I saw you guys on an ESPN (College) GameDay or something and I was like, "What's the deal with UT? They look like a really fun school." And everyone was like "Oh man, Hook ‘em Horns." I was like, I really don't even really know what that is because I don't know about college sports, so I had to learn. But I was like, maybe let’s take the show on the road and go to a college, because our biggest fans are 18-year-olds and in college. We wanted to come and say thank you for watching and supporting our show. So then I said, "How about UT?" And the producers were like, that's the best, we should ask them and just float it out there, see if they like the idea. Immediately we heard back from the president, he was like "Dude, we'll roll out the red carpet." Honestly, we were so excited. We didn't even ask any other schools. This is our first and only choice. If this goes well, we'll take it to other schools, but there's nothing planned yet.
DT: I saw you say on some promo videos that you're bringing the party to Austin. Has Austin returned that favor by bringing the party to you?
JF: Yeah. Oh, my goodness. It is insane. This place has been a nonstop party. We've only been here a couple days, and I'm already losing my voice because we're screaming, yelling. I think the food is awesome. The music scene is great. But the people are just the nicest, most welcoming community. Everyone's like, "Yo, Jimmy go to this place. Jimmy you have to go blah blah like, here, you want a beer? You want that? Can I buy this?" And I was like, "No, I'll pay for stuff." I love to pay for stuff. Last night, I went to The White Horse and someone taught me how to two-step. It was really fun. It's opening my eyes to new things.
DT: So, was The White Horse your favorite place last night?
JF: Yeah … well, I will say Hole in the Wall is an experience that not many people have, and they should just to check out the bathrooms alone. I took photos in there; I took selfies. On a break during shooting they were like, "You got to see the women's room." There's two toilets next to each other, no walls, no stalls. I'm like, "Wow, I've never seen anything like that in my lifetime." It was just a really great bar. You go to a place and you can feel if the place has good bones, and that place has good bones. You know there's a lot of good times happening in that place. I think if I was a college kid, I would love to go there. Even now, I would actually love to go there. I'm 45, I probably would stick out like a sore thumb.
DT: What has your favorite UT experience been?
JF: Getting to see the Tower and see how big this campus is. The school I went to was so small. I barely had a basketball court. You have a stadium that holds 100,000 people. That is insane. You're so lucky to have that. This is amazing to have this much opportunity. It's so beautiful here. Everyone's so nice, and everyone seems to be really proud of their school. I have my burnt orange T-shirts I've been wearing, and I got a football jersey from the president. So expect to get a loss this weekend when I play for the team. (The announcers will) be like a first man injured, comedian Jimmy Fallon, his head popped off.
DT: Can you tell us what UT’s own personal celebrity Matthew McConaughey is going to be doing on the show?
JF: He's a smart guy. I love him. He has been a great guest on our show before. He loves Texas and UT so much. I mean, honestly, he was one of the reasons too, we were watching College GameDay and he came on. He was singing “The Eyes of Texas” and Hook ‘em Horns and I was like, "Oh, this is fun." He's a good egg. I like that guy. So we'll have fun with him and just show how much he loves the school (and) loves Texas. It'll be a nice little kind of love letter. I'm going to go shoot a little piece with him just to show that he's a professor here. And I'm going to maybe take a test with him, and hopefully, all my answers will be alright, alright, alright.