Questlove says NBC clearing 'Fallon' songs after Bachmann flap
Looks like NBC doesn’t have the same snarky sense of humor as Jimmy Fallon and the Roots.
The network is now vetting set lists from the “Late Night With Jimmy Fallon” house band, The Roots, after a flap last month involving Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann. When Bachmann appeared as a guest, the band performed a snippet of Fishbone’s 1985 track “Lyin’ Ass Bitch” as the walk-on music that accompanied her.
In the latest issue of Rolling Stone, bandleader Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson revealed he now has to clear each song with three different executives. He also isn’t allowed to bring up the Bachmann incident to his more than 1 million followers on Twitter.
"It's still a comedy show, so they promise not to step on my toes or that type of thing, but they definitely want to know the title of the song, the subject matter of the song — can it be seen as an insult?" he later said in an interview with the Associated Press.
"It was kind of wrong for me to throw [NBC] under the bus without telling them what it was, so I understand from a business standpoint."
Before the Nov. 22 episode, he offered a cryptic tease on Twitter that the band would be going for gold with one song on the show. He tweeted that one walk-on song “takes the cake” but instructed fans to “ask around cause i aint tweeting title," before providing a link to buy Fishbone's EP on iTunes. It seems NBC execs failed to read his Twitter timeline before the show.
Fallon laughed off the incident to Rolling Stone, adding "it was a real bummer that it happened. We don't want to censor anyone, but ... I don't know. Maybe Questlove is a Romney guy."
The talk show host apologized to the Minnesota congresswoman, and she also reportedly received a personal letter from NBC's vice president for late night programming, Doug Vaughan.
— Gerrick D. Kennedy
Photo: (Top) Musician Questlove from the band the Roots poses for a portrait, Thursday, Dec. 8, 2011, in New York. Credit: Carlo Allegri / Associated Press. (Bottom) Republican presidential candidate Rep. Michele Bachmann, of Minnesota, left, points to a photo of host Jimmy Fallon, dressed as Bachmann, during a visit to "Late Night With Jimmy Fallon," that aired early Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2011, in New York. Credit: NBC