Speed Reads

last night on late night

Jimmy Fallon panders to Texas shamelessly at his Austin show, and Texas is there for it

From the venerable Hole in the Wall to the sloppy pavement of Dirty 6th, the august campus of the University of Texas, and the Darrell K. Royal–Texas Memorial Stadium, Jimmy Fallon played all the hits to kick off his Tonight Show from Austin, Texas. Mostly, he sang an Austin-specific version of "Thank God I'm A Country Boy," a song made famous by one-time Texas resident John Denver.

Fallon shamelessly wore a Longhorns shirt, insulted the University of Oklahoma, praised Texas barbecue, paid homage to Daniel Johnston, raised the Hook 'em Horns salute, and sang about the "hot-ass weather" — though it was 45 degrees in Austin on Thursday night, only slightly warmer than New York City. The crowd of UT students in Bass Concert Hall ate up every word.

"I am so pumped to bring The Tonight Show to UT," Fallon said in his monologue. "Because if you saw my grades in high school, you'd know this was the only way I was getting into UT." So many students wanted to attend the show, "we had to do a lottery for tickets," he said. "But if you wanted to come somewhere that's easy to get into, y'all would be at Texas A&M right now."

"I wanted to let you all know that there will be no political jokes tonight," Fallon said. "I also want to note that your school colors are white and burnt orange, so you're making it pretty hard." That was accompanied by a photo of the vice president and president, naturally.

Actor and newly minted UT professor Matthew McConaughey then laid out for Fallon what he sees at Austin's values in his role as the official Texas minister of culture.

McConaughey also tried and gave up on teaching Fallon his script class, but he did help Fallon perform "The Eyes of Texas," the UT reconfiguration of "I've Been Working On the Railroad," with some vaguely creepy imagery about an all-seeing eye. Watch below. Peter Weber