Jimmy Fallon Brings Back "Slow Jam the News" With Mayor Pete Buttigieg

The Indiana mayor joined 'The Tonight Show' host for the latest installment of the segment that was popularized by Barack Obama on Monday's episode of the late-night show.
Andrew Lipovsky/NBC

Pete Buttigieg followed in the footsteps of Barack Obama when he participated in The Tonight Show's "Slow Jam the News" sketch with Jimmy Fallon on Monday.

"Hit me five times," Fallon instructed The Roots as the house band began to play a slow song.

Buttigieg kicked off the segment by explaining that he recently launched his campaign for president of the United States. "I believe it’s time for a new generation of leaders. I'm the 37-year-old mayor of South Bend, Indiana. I'm a Rhodes scholar and a veteran of the war in Afghanistan," he said.

"And though I'm running this race to beat President Trump, I'm not going to spend all my time talking about President Trump. I want to talk about you and the needs of everyday Americans," he said.

"Oh, yeah," Fallon said in a deep voice. "Pete Buttigieg wants to satisfy all your needs. Ever since he declared his candidacy, America's been all hot and bothered for him."

The Roots' Tariq "Black Thought" Trotter continued the performance and sang, "He's ready and prepared for a primary battle. His name is worth 800 points in Scrabble."

Fallon continued to use his deep announcer voice when he asked Buttigieg why he felt he was ready to take on the presidency. The candidate answered that he "re-energized" the economy of South Bend and invested in up-and-coming companies.

"As president, I'll continue to tear down the barriers that keep Americans from having a fair shot. I'll get big money out of politics and I'd support getting rid of the Electoral College, even if it means fighting these issues out in court," he added.

"Court is in session and the honorable Butti-judge is presiding," said Fallon. "All rise if you haven't already risen."

Trotter continued to sing about Buttigieg's accomplishments as mayor before Fallon asked about his campaign plans. Buttigieg answered that he was going to travel around America to meet all kinds of potential voters. "I want to show folks that the Republican party does not have a monopoly on freedom and patriotism. Those values are alive and well with Democrats, too," he said.

"Wait a second. If you're saying the Buttigieg bus is stopping all around the country, then I guess that means," Fallon said before The Roots began to sing the chorus of Bubba Sparxxx's "Ms. New Booty." At the end of the chorus, Buttigieg added, "Rocking everywhere."

Buttigieg also spoke about his appearance on Fox News during the segment. He said he was "proud" to appear on Fox News Sunday because he doesn't "believe in leaving out an entire portion of the country." He said, "Americans have a lot more in common than we're given credit for."

The presidential candidate added that he wanted his campaign to be inclusive for both Democrats and Republicans. "What you're saying is you go both ways?" asked Fallon. Buttigieg responded, "No, I'm just gay."

For Fallon's final question, he asked if Buttigieg wanted advice from Trump about becoming president. He said that he had more government experience than Trump and more executive experience than Vice President Pence, "so if they ever want advice, I'm sure their interns can show them how to DM me."

Buttigieg closed the segment by stating, "This is a season for boldness and heart." Fallon added, "It's the job of a leader to shine light in the dark."

"The country is aching, there is no mistaking/ He'll fight for our rights like he fought for this nation," sang Trotter. "The primary's coming and then we must choose."

"And that is how we slow jam the news," concluded Fallon before Buttigieg added, "Oh, yeah."

Buttigieg is the first person to slow jam the news with Fallon since President Obama in 2016. While Brian Williams, Chris Christie and Mitt Romney have all participated in versions of the sketch, "Slow Jam the News" is often associated with Obama, who appeared in multiple versions of the sketch during his presidency.

Also during his appearance on The Tonight Show, Buttigieg spoke about his duties as a mayor. He shared that he once gave the key to South Bend to Jerry Seinfeld, though he had to "trick him into accepting it."

When Buttigieg learned that the comedian was coming to South Bend for a stand-up performance, he decided that he should give Seinfeld the key to the city. "So I had it made up. I had a little plaque. It said, 'Thanks for the laughs, Jerry,'" he said. "And we said to his team, 'You know, it’s cool if he wants to do a low-key backstage thing. That's fine. However Jerry wants to do it.'"

"And then the day of the event roles around and we haven't heard back and finally I say, 'Oh no, he doesn't want to do it,' It's an election year. He doesn't want to do anything political," he said.

While Seinfeld had refused to accept the key to the city, Buttigieg said he was determined to give it to the comedian. He brought the key to the show and found a seat toward the front of the audience. At the end of his stand-up set, Seinfeld took questions from the audience. "I thought, 'Now's my chance.' So I wave my hand real high and he calls on me and my question, of course, is 'Will you accept the key to the city?'"

"He's like, 'What’s that? The key to the city?' And then by the time he said that, I was up there. They couldn't stop me cause it was a city facility," he said. "I gave him the key. Gave a wave and got out of there. No one refuses a key to the city."