Photo by Andrew Lipovsky, NBC
Jimmy Fallon brought his wild abandon to Austin (specifically the UT campus), this week, and it was every bit of a burnt-orange filtered rootin’-tootin’ good time as you’d expect. The fringe flayed, Big Bertha banged, and McConaughey was alright, alright, alright.
The energy was akin to the world’s biggest-budget pep rally. Down to the 8-set of pyrotechnics, everything about this show screamed “Everything is Bigger in Texas.” And to great appeal! The energy of the cheerleaders, band, mascots, and other spirit students was matched cheer-for-happy-tear by the student-only (save press) audience, which capped the Bass Concert Halls 3,000 person capacity. After the great endorphin rush left the stage, a team of producers swarmed in on their knees to pop the hundreds of orange and white balloons that had descended from the ceiling only moments ago in a fashion that can only be compared to a Japanese game show. It was a truly fascinating thing to see, even if only by my standards.
Matthew McConaughey (who also appeared as the guest on the recent Austin episode of NPR’s Ask Me Another), was the paragon of what a UT Minister of Culture
should be, giving a McConaughey-style sermon on the Little Big City and premiering his new mantra “Keep Austin Austin.” Texas Home Reno Magnates Chip and Joanna Gaines came on to plug Joanna’s new book and the launch of the couple’s TV network. Gucci Mane, fitted in dripping diamonds and a smart red and black blazer, offered the origins of his moniker (spoiler: it’s an old family name, dating back to WWII), and performed “Move Me,” from Woptober II, which came out last month. The audience screamed praise at literally everything all of the guests said. And who can blame the literal thousands of college kids getting to take a free break from their impending finals to just enjoy themselves in the presence of such titans of entertainment?
Easily the biggest win of the night was watching three unsuspecting UT students being called up on stage to, what appeared to be, surprised with a decked-out Samsung gift bag, only to find out they’d actually won Samsung paying off THEIR STUDENT DEBT! YES Y’ALL! THEIR STUDENT DEBT! And that’s the wholesome high note we’ll leave this on. The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon airs at 10:30 CT.
-Taylor Wallace, Weeknight Host