Jimmy Fallon and the Chickeneers supply a clucking ‘Ho Hey’
Jimmy Fallon, Blake Shelton, and ‘Parks and Recreation’ stalwart Nick Offerman kill it on NBC’s “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon”
Who would have guessed in a far flung corner of our galaxy that an all-clucking parody of “Ho Hey”, the ubiquitous hit single by indie folk rock band the Lumineers, could be so inspired and insanely funny?
Delivered on NBC’s Late Night with Jimmy Fallon and introduced by writer-sidekick Steve Higgins, the two-minute segment served as the official debut of the Chickeneers, a serendipitously matched quartet of Jimmy Fallon on mandolin, musical guest Blake Shelton standing head and shoulders above his compadres on acoustic guitar, Parks and Recreation’s Nick Offerman on bass, and show editor Chris Tartaro — a member of the popular “Barbershop Quartet” sketches — kicking the song off behind a bass drum. Further musical assistance arrived courtesy of the Roots.
Minutes before the sketch aired, Fallon teased fans on Twitter with a short message saying, “Oh, this is happening as well tonight”, adding a photo of the quartet in character. The sight of everyone wearing outlandish bright yellow chicken costumes definitely aided the loud guffaws emanating from the crowd.
Everyone was surprisingly on-key. Tartaro was the most valuable player, his earnest lead during the first verse keeping the performance from descending into utter silliness. There was some unintended irony as Shelton, an established singer in his own right, was visibly straining, singing in a lower key than he is accustomed to. He nearly broke into laughter as he concluded his passage.
Tyler Perry, the first guest of the evening, was noticeably absent from the sketch. The moment he sat down on Fallon’s couch, Perry admitted that he wanted to be included, telling the genial host with his tongue held firmly in cheek, “You could have a black chicken up there. What’s happening? Black people like chicken, too.”
When Offerman, who played the deadpan, tough as nails Ron Swanson on NBC’s award-winning comedy, arrived for his entertaining chat, he candidly remarked, “It was my first time in a chicken suit, and it fit perfectly. Every time I come here, I do something really stupid, and it’s the greatest [laughs]. If I am ever lucky enough to be invited back, I challenge you to find something I won’t do.”
Perhaps the sketch was unconsciously inspired by comedian Ray Stevens’s cover of Glenn Miller’s Grammy-enshrined big band number, “In the Mood”. Credited to the “Henhouse Five Plus Too”, the oddly brilliant instrumental consisted of Stevens clucking along in multiple chicken voices. It stunned pundits by going Top 40 on Billboard’s pop chart in January 1977 [Stevens’ definitive novelty hit recordings are excavated in an exclusive interview with the man himself here].
There is also precedence for famous actors appearing in absurd animal costumes during notable American holidays, including John Wayne as an Easter bunny in a 1972 Laugh-In episode and Paul Simon as a plump Thanksgiving turkey during a hosting stint on Saturday Night Live in 1976.
Fallon, Tartaro, Shelton, and Offerman proved themselves to be good sports, unafraid of taking on a unique challenge. Let’s hope they carried those chicken suits home. Their efforts were rewarded when the Chickeneers sketch briefly trended on Twitter. It has accumulated nearly five million YouTube views. Two and a half years later Fallon, who had since succeeded Jay Leno as the perpetually positive boy wonder host of The Tonight Show, revived the Chickeneers with a bass-wielding Meghan Trainor and Alanis Morissette, tackling the latter’s career-making “Ironic” single. Hands down, Fallon offers the most creative, quickly executed, consistent, and downright funniest sketches on the television landscape.
Paul Simon's Monologue Worries
Watch Saturday Night Live highlight 'Paul Simon's Monologue Worries' on NBC.com
Blake Lively on ‘Saturday Night Live’: The ‘Gossip Girl’ risks it all on live TV
Comfortably enjoying married life with fellow actor Ryan Reynolds, Blake Lively, the former star of Gossip Girl — the…
Flashback: Comedy maestro Jay Leno delivers emotionally charged goodbye as ‘Tonight Show’ host
Read a thorough review along with exclusive photos and video detailing Jay Leno’s final episode as host of NBC’s “The…
When TV's Craig Ferguson dropped by 'The Tonight Show with Jay Leno' after a 14-year sabbatical
Uncover Peabody-winning stand-up comic Craig Ferguson's engaging second appearance on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno"…
When Merle Haggard sang the stellar ‘I Am What I Am’ on ‘The Tonight Show with Jay Leno’
The country music icon made a rare visit to late night TV when he sang the unflinching ballad and title cut of his 2010…
When Led Zeppelin and Elvis Presley collided on Letterman’s ‘Late Show’
Robert Plant has reinvented himself as an authentic roots rock singer, having released two soon-to-be-classic solo…
Watch Craig Ferguson and Quentin Tarantino dish on iconic war epic ‘The Great Escape’
See the unscripted interview between director Quentin Tarantino and “Late Late Show” host Craig Ferguson exploring…
An ‘American Shaolin’ in the presence of the unbelievably charismatic Craig Ferguson
“Bruce Lee: A Life” author Matthew Polly relives his sole late night visit — being interviewed on “The Late Late Show…
Patty Griffin’s gospel boogie on ‘The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson’
Read about Patty Griffin unleashing a fiery, syncopated live cover of the traditional gospel song “Move Up” on late…
Tony Bennett’s ‘final’ Christmas performance with Conan O’Brien
Tony Bennett guested 16 times on Conan O’Brien’s absurd NBC late night show, always during Christmas. The final 2009…
Johnny Carson, the consummate ‘King of Late Night,’ holds court on Antenna TV
The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson may have ended its 30-year run 25 years ago, but fans of the undisputed King of…
What Johnny Carson really said about Elvis Presley on ‘The Tonight Show’
A less publicized facet of Elvis Presley’s fascinating character is that he admired comedy with an intense passion…
Long-lost video of Andy Griffith and Don Knotts performing classic skit surfaces
The Andy Griffith Show, perhaps television’s first dramedy, remains one of the most beloved, iconic programs of all…
Revisiting the Emmy-winning ‘Barney Comes to Mayberry’ 1967 episode of ‘The Andy Griffith Show’
“Barney Comes to Mayberry” materialized during the seventh, next-to-last season of the beloved Andy Griffith Show…
‘Don Knotts: Tied Up with Laughter’ DVD unearths vintage ‘Hollywood Palace’ skits
Don Knotts remains a beloved comic genius 12 years after his passing who sculpted two characters still heavily seen in…
Speak to me, kid, say a few syllables! Paging Moe Howard of the Three Stooges
The Three Stooges will never win an armload of awards from the critical elite. So then why does the trio’s brilliantly…
Caught in the middle: Author Steve Cox salutes lovable Three Stooges porcupine Larry Fine
You nitwit you! Larry Fine, best known as the frizzy haired lightning rod of the Three Stooge, was the eldest of four…
Stooge chronicles from a 24-year Savannah River Site radiochemist
Redeeming qualities of the Three Stooges’ 1959–1965 films, Kook’s Tour and the impact of Larry and Moe dying occupy a…
Just myself and a guitar: Funny shenanigans with ‘Spiders and Snakes’ song architect Jim Stafford
Mid-’70s “Swamp Witch” singer-guitarist Jim Stafford holds nothing back in a thorough interview covering a star-studded…
Streakin’ through the hits with witty wordsmith Ray Stevens
Singer-songwriter Ray Stevens remains a driven artist in the second decade of the 21st century. With a long and varied…
Having a ‘Mississippi Squirrel Revival’ with side-splitting songwriter Buddy Kalb
“I don’t even know if I’d be in the record business if it wasn’t for my friendship with Ray.” Supreme songwriter Buddy…
Heart to heart with ‘Two and a Half Men’ outsider Jennifer Taylor
In her most expansive interview, Charlie Sheen’s former TV fiancé talks #MeToo, bad auditions, God, love, healthy…
© Jeremy Roberts, 2013, 2018. All rights reserved. To touch base, email firstname.lastname@example.org and mention which story led you my way. I appreciate it sincerely.