On Monday, the host of NBC’s The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon teamed with Black Eyed Peas frontman will.i.am for the latest segment in the show’s “Ew!” series. In the bit, Fallon and will.i.am dress up as BFFs Sara and mir.i.am and rap about all the things that make them recoil and, thus, go “ew.” A few examples: bread bowls, FaceTime, Trapper Keepers and “impliggies” (aka, posterior implants).
The Internet latched on to the video and isn’t letting go anytime soon. Less than 24 hours after reaching YouTube, the clip has been viewed more than 2.5 million times. It also sparked major Twitter buzz overnight, triggering the track’s ascent to No. 2 on the real-time Billboard + Twitter Trending 140 chart on Tuesday (Oct. 7).
Even Fallon could hardly believe the response:
— jimmy fallon (@jimmyfallon) October 7, 2014
Fallon has partnered with other singers for prior “Ew!” sketches, including Taylor Swift, but the pairing with will.i.am marks the first musical collaboration. (The new track has been released on Interscope, the Black Eyed Peas’ label).
Fallon called into the syndicated On Air With Ryan Seacrest radio show Tuesday to explain the song’s creation. “So, we had will.i.am on the show about two months ago. Backstage we’re talking and he goes, ‘I really like that sketch that you do, “Ew!,” where you dress up as a 15-year-old girl and everything is like, “Ew!”‘ I said, ‘You know, we’re doing it with Taylor Swift this week, but next time you come back, I’ll write you in and we’ll do one,'” Fallon said.
“In three days, before the writers [and I] could even write any lyrics, he sent me a full-on produced song. So then he flies to New York, I go to a recording studio, we tweak it a little, and I write some raps for myself. So this is me rapping, as well, which is sad.”
‘EW’ … FALLON ON THE HOT 100?
In presenting the “Ew!” skit, Fallon also noted how much he’d like to hit the Hot 100.
So could he do so with the new collab?
“Ew!” is available on iTunes (with proceeds from sales going toward the SeriousFun Children’s Network and will.i.am’s i.am.angel Foundation). Depending on how many YouTube streams it draws and downloads it sells, it could. While the Hot 100 will be refreshed Wednesday with sales and streaming data covering the week ending Oct. 5, Fallon’s first chance to make the chart would be next week, following the track’s first full week of availability. (In addition to sales and streaming, airplay contributes to the Hot 100. But it’s unlikely that such a novelty song would accrue anywhere near enough spins to assist its chart fortunes.)
In the meantime, Fallon already boasts an impressive Billboard chart history (just not on the Hot 100 … yet?). He’s racked up a top 40 album on the Billboard 200 — Blow Your Pants Off — which debuted and peaked at No. 25 in 2012. It was his second hit on the chart, following 2002’s The Bathroom Wall, which peaked at No. 47.
Fallon has even hit No. 1: Blow Your Pants Off, which won the Grammy for best comedy album, also topped the Comedy Albums chart.
He’s additionally notched 10 entries on the Comedy Digital Tracks chart, including the No. 1 “History of Rap” with Justin Timberlake in 2012. (Sorry, Jimmy: Your “Nights on Broadway”-inspired theme to The Barry Gibb Talk Show, with Timberlake, hasn’t reached any Billboard charts.)
If Fallon can hit the Hot 100, he wouldn’t be the first Tonight Show host to do so: The show’s first host, Steve Allen, claimed two entries in 1963 (six years after he left the program).
With “Ew!,” Fallon would join another late-night talk-show host to appear on the Hot 100, and via an alter ego, for that matter. Arsenio Hall hit No. 77 in 1989 with a title similar to “Ew!”: “Owwww!” (You’d think talk-show hosts, given their gift of gab, would be a bit more articulate in their song titles.)
Hall charted with the song as his roly-poly doppleganger Chunky A.
Additional reporting by Keith Caulfield and Gary Trust