Jimmy Fallon Recalls Famous Blue Oyster Cult / ‘More Cowbell’ Saturday Night Live Skit
Before he started whipping his hair with Bruce Springsteen, late night talk show host Jimmy Fallon made his name as a member of NBC’s ‘Saturday Night Live,’ where he often had difficulty keeping a straight face. In a new interview, Fallon recalls why he broke up in the middle of the famous “More Cowbell” sketch, which aired in 2000.
In the sketch, Christopher Walken plays a producer trying to get Blue Oyster Cult to record ‘Don’t Fear the Reaper,’ which came in at No. 53 on our list of the Top 100 Classic Rock Songs. The band goes through several takes of the song, only to have Walken come out and say that he wants Gene Frenkle, played by Will Ferrell, to add more cowbell to the track. Fallon played the drummer in the sketch.
“I had just started on the show and I’m not the best actor in the world,” he told Washington, D.C.’s Big 100.3. “I do impressions and stuff like that. So I was stuck in a scene with the great Will Ferrell, who’s one of the funniest guys ever and we do the sketch in dress rehearsal and it’s OK — it’s not even that great. And then, on air…he came out with a smaller shirt so that his gut would hang out when he banged the cowbell. And everyone just broke up laughing, and I couldn’t stop laughing. That’s what you get when you play with the big boys.”
Fortunately for Fallon, as the drummer, he was hidden behind Ferrell for most of the sketch, so his poor attempts to hold in his laughter were only seen when he got out from behind the drums, and he had trouble delivering his only line. At one point, Fallon has to bite his drumsticks to avoid breaking the scene.
Listen to Jimmy Fallon Discuss the ‘More Cowbell’ Sketch