Jimmy Fallon’s audition and the roles of comedians from “Almost Famous”

This week, filmmaker Cameron Crowe visited Late Night with Jimmy Fallon and reminisced with Fallon about¬†Crowe’s semi-autobiographical 2000 film, Almost Famous. Here’s a special cut of Fallon’s audition that segues from the screen test to the actual scene of him in action with the band.

Roll the clip!


Fallon was barely recognizable in the film with his beard and hairdo, but he was far from the only comedian to make a contribution to Almost Famous.

Do you remember…

Nick Swardson, who played “Insane Bowie Fan,” and screams “It’s Bowie!” when he’s spotted walking in the lobby of a Cleveland hotel. This was Swardson’s big-screen debut.

Marc Maron, who played “Angry Promoter” when the band encounters electrical difficulties at a gig.¬†Maron continues to use his seminal line from the scene — “Lock the gates!” — in the opening of his podcast, WTF with Marc Maron.

Eric Stonestreet, last year’s Emmy winner for his work on ABC’s Modern Family, played “Sheldon the Desk Clerk” who delivers a phone message from young William Miller’s mother, Elaine. It was his first role in a feature film.

The late Mitch Hedberg appeared in the poker scene as the “Eagles Road Manager.” He already was dressed for the 1970s, though, wasn’t he?

Jay Baruchel played Vic Munoz, a young music fan who obsessively follows Led Zeppelin on tour. The back of his T-shirt says, “Have you seen the bridge?”

Erin Foley played Alison the Fact Checker at Rolling Stone magazine.

Alongside Rainn Wilson, who played real-life RS magazine writer/editor David Felton.

Of course, none of them enjoyed as much of a role in the movie as did Fallon (at far right), playing slick rock band manager Dennis Pope, who shows up with some big plans for the aspiring band members of Stillwater and shakes things up.

So that’s five stand-up comedians and three other comedic actors appearing in largely non-comedic roles in a movie that won the Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture…in the Comedy/Music category.

And that’s not even counting Zooey Deschanel, who played young William Miller’s big sister, Anita, and who stars in her first network sitcom this fall in FOX’s New Girl.

What are the odds of having that many comedians in one movie who aren’t playing funny types? It’s certainly striking to see a well-known comedian play it straight in a dramatic role, but to see eight or nine, that’s remarkable.

Can you think of another movie to pull off this trick so well?

Oh, and Almost Famous is on TNT later tonight. If you haven’t seen it already, you must see it.

Sean L. McCarthy

Editor and publisher since 2007, when he was named New York's Funniest Reporter. Former newspaper reporter at the New York Daily News, Boston Herald and smaller dailies and community papers across America. Loves comedy so much he founded this site.

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3 thoughts on “Jimmy Fallon’s audition and the roles of comedians from “Almost Famous”

    1. Nice call! I think Almost Famous is by far a better movie, but as a journalist I’m biased toward it. The Informant’s cast included Tom Papa, Joel McHale, Rick Overton, Thomas F. Wilson (whom most people still think of as Biff from the Back to the Future, but whom really is a touring stand-up), the Smothers Brothers, Bob Zany, Paul F. Tompkins, Allan Havey, Patton Oswalt, Scott Adsit. Although The Informant is meant to be a comedy through-and-through.

      I’m thinking more untraditional casting of comedians, as in, say, The Wrestler, which featured Todd Barry and Judah Friedlander.

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