'SNL' 40th Anniversary: Jimmy Fallon, Seth Meyers Tell Behind-the-Scenes Stories (Video)
The 'Tonight Show' host also explains how the afterparty's epic jam session occurred.
Jimmy Fallon and Seth Meyers were still reeling from Saturday Night Live's star-studded anniversary special and afterparty — featuring performances from Prince, Paul McCartney and Taylor Swift — when they taped their late-night shows on Monday. And each of the SNL alums devoted a portion of his show to recapping the fun he'd had the night before, sharing some inside stories from the celebration, including more information about how the afterparty played out, that might not have been clear from the videos and photos floating around social media on Monday.
Fallon began his long story by recalling the craziness of all the stars who were in the same room during one of the rehearsals for the special.
He explained that as he and Justin Timberlake were rehearsing, first Chris Rock came in, then Lorne Michaels came over, followed by Eddie Murphy. Noting that Murphy hadn't been back to the SNL studio in more than 30 years, Fallon said he was eager to see what Murphy's reaction would be.
"He's just looking around and he's like, 'It's smaller than I remember it being,' " Fallon recalled. "It's like going back to your high school."
The Tonight Show host then explained that Paul McCartney, Jack Nicholson and Jerry Seinfeld joined the rehearsal group. Just as his story is starting to sound like a joke, Fallon said, "I go, 'This is my comedy act from when I used to do … I did impressions of all these people. This is my act! This is my act in real life.'"
Fallon added that he sat in front of Nicholson during the show, and he imitated the veteran actor's laugh. During the commercial break, Fallon also said that he went over to Tom Hanks, whose shoe was untied, and started to tie it as a joke, saying "Anything else you need, Mr. Hanks?"
"Before I even finished it, he gave me a $20 bill," Fallon said.
He then revealed how he became the emcee for a star-studded jam session at the Plaza afterparty. Fallon said a stage was set up at the hotel with just instruments and microphones, no band, in case anyone wanted to perform.
He went onstage when he was told that Dan Aykroyd invited Fallon to join him and Paul McCartney. They sang a blues song and then Fallon called Taylor Swift up. She asked for a guitar and they went into "I Saw Her Standing There" followed by "Shake It Off."
Fallon, left onstage by himself, then orchestrated the following performances: He asked Miley Cyrus to come up, and she played a sad song about her goldfish dying. Ariana Grande offered to sing something. He invited Debbie Harry onstage. The three of them then performed Blondie's "The Tide Is High." That performance was followed by Michael Bolton doing "When a Man Loves a Woman," followed by The B-52s' "Love Shack" and Elvis Costello's "Pump It Up," joined by Bill Murray on tambourine, Martin Short and Maya Rudolph.
Dave Chappelle then told Fallon that Prince was there and perhaps he could persuade the Purple One to take the stage.
Searching for a delicate, skillful way to woo Prince, Fallon said, "I've had a few Kool-Aids, just a couple. I go, 'Prince, if you're here, I dare you to come up onstage.' "
"All of a sudden the crowd parts and there's purple smoke and a dude floating toward the stage. It's almost like he's got jet-packs on his knees. His feet weren't touching the ground," Fallon recalled, walking out from behind his desk to show how Prince floated to the stage. "He gets onstage, he grabs his guitar, and he goes, 'Dearly inebriated …' "
Meyers recalled many of the same details from the party, praising Fallon for his masterful job facilitating the performances. The Late Night also revealed that Prince handed his guitar to the audience after he played. But after Prince sang a bit and reached out for his guitar, he got the guitar back.
And he shared this sophisticated conversation he had with Beyonce on the way out.
"I think she was really impressed because I think [Jay Z and Beyonce] are a couple that when they meet people, no one even knows how to treat them like people. And I wouldn't be surprised if she's on this show soon because I feel like I asked her questions that were just more informed and interesting than the kind of questions people normally ask her," Meyers explained. "Like, for instance, the first thing I said was [yelling] 'This is fun, right?!' And then I had a real good follow-up of, 'Goodbye!' You might be thinking I was yelling over music. There was no music at that point, just a very loud white person screaming at Beyonce. So I think she'll be here soon."
Meyers, who said the afterparty really got going around 1 a.m., also claimed he only got about 90 minutes of sleep on Sunday night, realizing the logistical problem of having an epic afterparty on a Sunday night.
"I realize the biggest difference between doing Saturday Night Live on a Saturday night and going to the afterparty and doing Saturday Night Live on Sunday and going to the afterparty, is how much f—ing harder it is to come to work on Monday," he said. "'Cause doing SNL, you go to bed and you think, 'Maybe I'll wake up at 1 and order all the Chinese food.' But I was like, 'Oh, I've gotta go to work.' "
Meyers also explained that his studio was used for overflow from the celebration in Studio 8H, with two bars and a screening room.