“May I have your attention, please!”

Your friendly bartender had decided last night to not do a post this week-end, to take, in a twist of a phrase, a “barman’s holiday”. There wasn’t that much that happened in Barland, I haven’t missed a gig since Christmas, so why not give my two little fingers a rest? (I’m a hunt and pecker who types with his two index fingers.) But lo and behold that game plan changed, something indeed did happen, and it happened late last night so here I am typing. (And happy to do so.) For how, as you shall see, could I not share this moment?

See, we’re not what you’d call a celebrity bar but we do get a name now and then, and when we do it always gives a lift to the shift. A high point to the joint. It’s part of having a bar here in New York City. You might rightly say it goes along with the geography. Stuff just happens here. But you also have to have the right place and treat celebs the right way, meaning not invade their privacy or make a big fuss over them. Sometimes they just want to stop for a drink and be like everyone else, and not be the person or persona that made them famous. At least that’s how I see it and treat them accordingly.

I’ll never forget the time that I had Pierce Brosnan alone at the bar, not one other customer at the time sharing the hardwood with him, but even so I never acknowledged his Pierce-ness. At least not with words. But he knew I knew who he was all right by the obvious expression on my face, l mean he was James fucking Bond and I wasn’t. So he ordered a “Jack on the rocks” that day and because of the way he said it, just like anyone else ordering Jack Daniels, I was sorely tempted to break my non-invasion policy. I was tempted to take a poke at the line he’d always used as .007… that “Bond, James Bond” when introducing himself… with, “Don’t you want to say Daniels, Jack Daniels, Pierce?” But of course I didn’t. However, after he bummed a Marlboro Light from the community pack I once kept, and appeared to be as regular as you and me, especially when he snapped the cigarette in two while trying to extract it suavely from the pack with one hand (almost blushing as he did so), I wish I’d said that line for I know he would’ve liked it. That’s how regular he was. But that’s how it is with me when it comes to celebrities. I leave them alone.

Which brings me to last night’s tale on celebrity privacy…

Jimmy Fallon came into the bar and took a seat at a table, with a person who works on his late night show as a writer. And completely unlike last Wednesday night when he’d made his initial visit, unannounced and quietly with some other writer, the place last night was packed to the gills with people… drinkin’ people who might not leave him alone. And that worried me. Because even though he was sitting in the corner, pretty much out of view, the word quickly got around and the room was abuzz.

Uh-oh, I thought, as I watched the word make its way through the gawkers and talkers, whether he wants it or not he’s going to get attention. A whole damn bunch ofΒ  it! I just hope he doesn’t mind because it may drive him out of here.

Well guess what happened in a wonderful twist of fate?Β  My worries turned out to be completely unfounded as attention turned out to be exactly what Jimmy Fallon wanted, and I say that respectfully! For after a sip of his gin and tonic he left his cozy, discreet corner, and asked the piano man who’d finished to do another set. Which the piano player agreed to. However this time around Mr. Fallon would join in the singing.

“May I have your attention, please,” he shouted, front and center with the mike, “we’re gonna’ have some fun so how ’bout joining in?” And the show was on!

Now I don’t want to comment on the quality of his voice (he won’t make you forget Roy Orbison), but I will make this humble assessment on the quality of his performance… it was absolutely fabulous. For what he had lacked in “do-re-mi” which often came out “do-fa-sol”, he made up for with his showmanship and his soul. He simply knocked the place dizzy. He put on a show for a good forty minutes, along with our brilliant piano man (a guy he said he might now put on his talk show), and everyone there in attendance couldn’t believe what they were seeing. In fact Mr. Fallon said as much during the set.

“You can’t believe this is happening, can you?” he shouted to the rapt audience, “well neither can I so let’s keep this damn joint hoppin’!” And hop it did. In fact at one point he actually stood on the piano bench, pumping his fist as he warbled, rocking the crowd like Mick fucking Jagger at the Garden. And the crowd pumped right back. And when he wrapped things up with a solo performance of Van Morrison’s classic “Moon Dance”, he did hit all the right notes and the place went wild.

He then finished his drink and just like that he was gone. As was another great moment.

Now I didn’t get to meet him on either occasion, as I said, he’d sat at a table, but I wish I had as I gladly would’ve shared this history with him. Which I’m sure he would’ve loved. See, back in the nineteen seventies, and long before my tenure, of course, the original cast from Saturday Night Live used to come to our bar to unwind, we were one of the places where they held their after show cast parties. I’m talkin’ John Belushi, Bill Murray, Gilda Radner, Jane Curtin, Laraine Newman, Dan Aykroyd and whoever else I’m forgetting… oh yeah, Garret Morris, Al Franken… all in our upstairs dining room blowing off steam. Can you imagine? Why, if those upstairs walls could talk, the words would fill the pages of at least a best seller!

And I know Mr. Fallon would like to have known this now that he’s found our establishment, now that he’s gone and extended a longtime tradition. For he’s retied a long ago thread connected to the glory days. Yeah, next time I’ll definitely make the connection, if I do get a chance to meet him, he deserves to know as a worthy alum and successor. And a really nice guy.

See ya’ next week-end, dear reader, unless either one of those fingers needs a little resting. πŸ™‚

21 Responses to ““May I have your attention, please!””

  1. 1 Comrade PhysioProf April 9, 2011 at 6:38 pm

    Sounds to me like a narcissistic jerk. Why did he need to make the whole bar revolve around him?

  2. 2 scribbler50 April 9, 2011 at 8:34 pm

    Comrade: You’re wrong, Prof, he just wanted to blow off some steam. And have a good time. And as I said, he really was a nice guy.

  3. 3 Ken April 9, 2011 at 9:58 pm

    Sounds liked a great moment, Scrib. Thanks for sharing.

  4. 4 Anonymoustache April 10, 2011 at 7:01 am

    Great stuff, man! A fine line, isn’t it, between being a narcissistic jerk and a genial entertainer in circumstances like this? Clearly, Fallon seems to have managed the whole thing well and shared a good with the folks as opposed to imposing on them…good for him…
    And Scrib, I’m disappointed….I would’ve thought you’d start your reply to CPP with “Comrade, you ignorant slut….”

  5. 5 scribbler50 April 10, 2011 at 8:08 am

    Ken: You’re welcome, friend, and thanks for reading.

    Anonymoustache: Hah! You’re right, that would’ve been perfect… the old Aykroyd to Curtin line, “Jane, you ignorant slut!” And as far as Mr. Fallon’s performance goes, it was far from an imposition it was welcomed. The place loved it.

  6. 6 fraught April 10, 2011 at 1:36 pm

    Nice, Mr. Scrib. As a former bartender who loved it when celebs bellied up, I learned to tell the difference between the pain in the asses and the genuinely nice ones who enjoy being recognized, or not. I came to NY to write and to see movie stars and famous writers and I met plenty of them in both good and bad circumstances.
    I’ve thought for a while now that Jimmy Fallon would be one of the good ones. I cannot imagine anyone not loving a free, spontaneous performance from him.

  7. 7 Pharm Sci Grad April 10, 2011 at 2:05 pm

    Glad to see ya, tho I could see why you’d need a week off typing like that!! πŸ™‚ I grew up using nine of my ten to type, so I can hardly imagine…

    Jimmy spiced up your week, that’s awesome. NYC can be fun I’m sure when the stars come out at night and want to shine. Although, I know sometimes I just want to have a quiet drink, and others I’d love to run into someone who wants to chat. I’m sure they’re much the same, except for their more extreme lack of privacy.

    Enjoy your week (or two) ’til next time… πŸ˜‰

  8. 8 Jennifer April 10, 2011 at 2:16 pm

    Ha! You’re wrong! I have it on good authority that Jimmy Fallon merely stopped in because he had heard the Scribbler worked there. I think Pierce told him.

  9. 9 scribbler50 April 10, 2011 at 2:56 pm

    fraught: Thanks for the comment and best of luck with your writing.

    Sci Grad: I may show up next week-end, except for answering your comment here I’ve had my typing twosome packed in ice. πŸ™‚

    Jennifer: Oh, you mean my new best friend The Broz… yeah, he probably set this whole damn thing in motion.
    (You’re a funny lady, Jenny!)

  10. 10 Davis April 10, 2011 at 3:27 pm

    Wolcott sent me, and I’m glad he did. Nice story. Only in New York.

  11. 11 scribbler50 April 10, 2011 at 6:44 pm

    Davis: Thanks and welcome aboard.

  12. 12 jc April 11, 2011 at 12:57 am

    Matt Damon sent me, and I’m glad he did!

  13. 13 mike April 11, 2011 at 8:52 am

    (Checks byline to make sure it wasn’t April 1st.)
    (Furiously googles “Jimmy Fallon gossip bar piano sing midtown”)
    I’m hot on your trail now, Scrib!

  14. 14 scribbler50 April 11, 2011 at 9:47 am

    jc: Hey, “smartass” :), just so you’re aware, Wolcott also did this and I’m glad he did. (http://www.vanityfair.com/online/wolcott/2011/04/the-joint-was-jumpin.html)

  15. 15 jc April 11, 2011 at 4:38 pm

    Yes, I saw that, and that’s why I added the snark over Jason Bourne. *waves to Wolcott*

  16. 16 chris April 11, 2011 at 11:38 pm

    Honestly with all the camera phones out there now days I wouldn’t be surprised if this ends up on youtube or something eventually. Very surprised that it hasn’t already. Good story Scrib sounds like it was a memorable moment.

  17. 17 scribbler50 April 12, 2011 at 9:38 am

    Mike: Hope the trail runs cold, man, but surf away if you must. πŸ™‚

    Chris: It was a memorable moment and I hope it stays just that… a memory.

  18. 18 Jager April 12, 2011 at 2:26 pm

    Wonderful story, Scrib, however it certainly doesn’t rise to the level of shopping the wine department at Costco right behind Heather Locklear and her mother or bumping into John Ratner at the Do-It Center as he searched for drywall screws.

  19. 19 scribbler50 April 13, 2011 at 9:43 am

    Jager: Whatever floats your boat, or fills your carafe!

  20. 20 sheila April 16, 2011 at 6:41 pm

    Love this! Wish I was there! For a brief time in my life, I had an office next to Jimmy Fallon, and he was totally nice and regular, and really fun. He doesn’t sound like a “narcissistic jerk” at all to me here. Sounds kind of playful and sweet. Only in New York, indeed!

  21. 21 scribbler50 April 17, 2011 at 7:32 pm

    Sheila: Thanks for your comment, Sheila, I’d love to know what job you had with Jimmy Fallon as your neighbor.

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