Questlove, the leader of The Roots, didn’t lose his job on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon even after he played a grossly insulting song to welcome Rep. Michele Bachmann on the show.
When Questlove got into an oh, so mild skirmish with liberal comedian Tina Fey, the drummer was briefly shown the door according to his upcoming autobiography:
In the history of the show, there were only a handful of guests who came out to talk to Jimmy without waving to the band….
Tiger Woods did it, twice, and Tina Fey, at various points had done it five times. Maybe it was shyness or reserve. I understood that; I often felt the same way. But after a while it wore on me. All those things were on my mind when I was asked the question on Andy Cohen’s show, and I said something that I thought was a tongue-in-cheek, faux-wounded remark: “Tina Fey, you are never nice to the Roots. We’re from Philadelphia. Be nice to the Roots!” But of course, because the media is a game that people play, they took that one sentence out of context and found a free-frame of my face, looking angry, and all of a sudden there I was on the front page of the Huffington Post, having trouble yet again with a powerful woman.
This time, Lorne had a fit. “I want him out of here,” he said. “He’s gone.”
Fallon eventually “begged” for Questlove to be retained, and the musician was able to keep his job.
As for his Bachmann insult, Questlove planned it despite his initial lie that said it was a spur of the moment choice. He claims to have no idea the song selection could be construed as misogynistic.
Questlove did take solace in the fact that Paul Shaffer, the band director for The Late Show with David Letterman, subsequently played a snippet of the song after Letterman read a Bachmann-inspired Top 10 list.