About the Time Tina Fey Nearly Got "The Roots'" Questlove Fired from Jimmy Fallon's Show
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About the Time Tina Fey Nearly Got "The Roots'" Questlove Fired from Jimmy Fallon's Show

By Dustin Rowles | Trade News | June 24, 2013 | Comments ()


Questlove, drummer and joint front-man of "The Roots," has a memoir coming out called Mo' Meta Blues, and excerpts are popping up all over the place. From what I've seen, it seems like a must-read book, especially for fans of "The Roots," "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon" and Prince, if you're into stories about Questlove roller skating with the Purple One.

What I didn't know, however, until I read this excerpt over on Salon, is that Tina Fey -- of all people -- actually got Questlove briefly fired from "Late Night." It came after the Michelle Bachman debacle, when he played Fishbone's "Lyin' Ass Bitch" when Bachman came out, creating a conservative firestorm that nearly cost him his job. Seven months later, still in a precarious position with "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon" and the powers that be (namely, Lorne Michaels), Questlove inadvertently took aim at the wonderling of Lorne Michaels, Tina Fey:

There was also an issue with her appearances on Fallon. In the history of the show, there were only a handful of guests who came out to talk to Jimmy without waving to the band. We had a little ritual where we marked that kind of thing down. Tiger Woods did it, twice, and Tina Fey, at various points had done it five times. Maybe it was shyness or reserve. I understood that; I often felt the same way. But after a while it wore on me. All those things were on my mind when I was asked the question on Andy Cohen's show, and I said something that I thought was a tongue-in-cheek, faux-wounded remark: "Tina Fey, you are never nice to the Roots. We're from Philadelphia. Be nice to the Roots!" But of course, because the media is a game that people play, they took that one sentence out of context and found a free-frame of my face, looking angry, and all of a sudden there I was on the front page of the Huffington Post, having trouble yet again with a powerful woman.

This time, Lorne had a fit. "I want him out of here," he said. "He's gone." I thought he was a little angrier than the incident deserved, but it was only seven months after Bachmann, and things had been building. In fact, I think that I was fired for about an hour, until Jimmy begged for my job back.

Check out the whole excerpt on Salon, where Questlove writes at fascinating length about
the walk-on
. You can also buy his book, and you should.

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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not

  • Jezzer

    The headline is extremely disingenuous. You might as well write an article about assassinations and entitle it, "The Time Jodie Foster Got Ronald Reagan Shot."

  • ,

    found a free-frame of my face, looking angry,


    Jesus, seriously? "A free-frame"? Is that your mistake or Salon's mistake, or is it in the book? The book that apparently wasn't copy edited, or was copy edited by a moron? Is the whole thing that shabbily written/edited? Then it won't be a must-read for people who gnash their teeth at misuses of the English language.

  • e jerry powell

    Nobody copy-edits anything anymore.

    I blame the Internet.

  • BWeaves

    It would never occur to me to wave to the band if I was a guest on that sort of show. I would think I was supposed to wave at the audience, not the band.

  • dizzylucy

    I wouldn't think of that either. My guess is that's the same for those who don't, they just don't know.

  • Obsidiandog

    Maybe he should have played "Lyin' Ass Bitch", which would be appropriate.

  • Sorel

    So... what I'm gathering here, it's not Tina Fey that almost got him fired but Lorne Michaels? Perhaps a headline change is in order?

  • Obsidiandog

    Tina Fey calls Lorne, wahwahwah, crap rolls down hill.

  • Long_Pig_Tailor

    No one would click. It's not news that Lorne Michaels is a dick.

  • Aside for the obvious affinity he has for Tina Fey, I'm surprised Lorne Michael's would want to fire Questlove for his comments on Watch What Happens Live. I always envisioned him as being more understanding and artist-friendly than that?

  • e jerry powell

    Lorne Michaels has a Napoleon complex. 'Nuff said.

  • googergieger

    He seems like a *removed by Pajiba*

  • AudioSuede

    That guy has kind of an itchy trigger finger when it comes to firing or banning people. He's got a very low tolerance for petty things.

    I mean, he banned The Replacements for being drunk on live TV. Dude should be banned from booking musicians if he didn't think The Replacements were gonna come out on stage drunk (and, might I say, their performance was perfect despite their obvious intoxication).

  • rumcove

    Lorne Michaels is a bit thin skinned on some things. Ask Elvis Costello, Jane Curtin, Henry Rollins, Ian McKay, Tracy Morgan, etc. A number of people have gotten on the bad side of LM. However, you can't deny his ability.

  • Dano

    He also banned Frank Zappa from SNL. It does seem like Lorne is a bit of a reactionary who takes himself too seriously. He's good at spotting talent, but other than that I'm not sure what he does other than throwing his weight around.

  • e jerry powell

    You're being kind...

  • PLEASE tell my how Rollins and McKay got on Lorne's bad side. I don't think I've heard that story before!

  • Salad_Is_Murder

    Tom, quit slacking off here. Your comic is waaaay late.

  • Dude, you have no idea.

  • Salad_Is_Murder

    For reals, what is this, Megatokyo? Sure, for them six months late is practically on time...now get crackin'!

  • Gotta finish the Theater Hopper eBooks first!

  • pumpkin

    Michaels has always struck me as someone decidedly not artist-friendly, despite his many years working with them.

  • googergieger

    Another reason to not watch NBC.

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