With “Stereo Club”, Camille Combal revisits “That’s My Jam”, the musical program of the star host from the United States, Jimmy Fallon. Joint and exclusive interview of two accomplices made to meet.
Paris Match. After months of talking remotely, you finally meet.
jimmy fallon . Camille had been described to me as my French version. My first reaction was to ask: “Is he funny?”, “Yes”, I was told. And: “Is he handsome?”, “Yes yes.” Ah, so it’s me! [Il rit.] Camille, I’m honored to be the American “you”.
Camille Combal. We both like to sing too. And we have the same way of approaching our profession. He validates all the steps of what he does, leaves nothing to chance, like me. Behind his huge machine, his activity remains on a human scale. We found each other well. This collaboration is a bit like the NATO of the joke.
Camille, how is it to work with an American television channel?
CC Very different from ours. The ways of doing and watching TV are not the same. And there are many more of them. Just for Jimmy’s monologue at the start of the show, there are ten authors. Ten ! You realize how craftsman we are. I arrived with pictures to show him, his team took such pity on my crumpled A4 sheets that they reprinted everything on laminated signs.
You invite as many actors as singers in “That’s My Jam” and “Stereo Club”. Is it a desire to mix genres?
J.F. That’s what I love. My concepts bring together celebrities from different walks of life and we let the magic happen. We are used to artists being in their role, within the framework of a show, with specific outfits, a calculated attitude. On this show, we rediscover them. Ariana Grande can finally show a more natural side, have fun, get out of this false perfection to dare to be a little more ridiculous. We like to discover the little imperfections of our stars.
CC In the United States, the candidates really prepare their passage, they rehearse, they know the questions that will be asked of them. And they arrive on set at least two hours early. In France, in general, it is practiced more rarely but, for “Stereo Club”, we had to make the guests work. When you have to reproduce a clip identically and in full, you better be ready…
Is the recipe for good entertainment in the United States the same as in France?
J.F. Americans love variety, energy, positivity, in short, fun in the truest sense of the word. They want it to take them out of their daily lives and bring them joy, while being unique compared to what they are used to seeing.
CC The fundamental difference is the timing. In the United States, “The Voice” is only the first part of the program. Then there’s a second big show or a movie. Jimmy starts at 11:30 p.m.! With us, the talk shows are at 7 p.m. and our prime times last more than two hours.
J.F. I did not know that. It’s crazy that it’s so long! In truth, we could do two-hour formats, but we realized that what is shorter is more easily “twittable”. We followed the TikTok trend where everything is faster.
In France, cost and audience issues are such that very few new forms of entertainment are created. Is it easy to launch a new concept in the United States?
J.F. Not at all. The only advantage is that, with us, when a show is a hit, we know it immediately. Snippets of the first episode of “That’s My Jam” were circulating all over the internet the day after it aired. There, we understood that we liked it. It must be said that Ariana Grande or Kelly Clarkson who cover Dolly Parton and Whitney Houston… If you come across this on YouTube, the “wow” effect is immediate, and it gets people talking.
Do you think the Internet has been a blessing for TV?
J.F. Sure. This amplification of our work has enormous value. I wish Johnny Carson, the host of the “Tonight Show” in the 1960s, was still alive to see what the internet and technology has managed to do with this show. It started out as a country’s talk show, something we owned, and it became international. At a time not so long ago, I could walk around London in peace. With the media exposure on the web, I am recognized all over the world. And I have to admit, the older I get, the more I like it! It’s so much more fun than having to say to everyone, “Hello, I’m presenting a show in a distant country.”
So you have become a star in the same way as the celebrities you interview?
J.F. It’s true, it’s a win-win. But don’t overdo it…
Lately, you still spent Easter at the White House with Joe Biden, played golf with Justin Timberlake and you were invited to the Met Gala…
J.F. Now that you mention it, it’s true that my life is crazy. The Met Gala, I feel like I have nothing to do there. It’s great for the actors, but it’s one of the few things you can’t really laugh at. And they still keep inviting me. I set myself one rule: never pose on the red carpet next to a Kardashian. Because they fascinate absolutely all photographers. So if you have the misfortune to be there, they won’t even bother to photograph you, they will tell you: “Jimmy, it’s good now, we saw you, you can move around.” Me, I put on a suit, I did my hair, I got my hair done and I hear them behind me: “Kim, over here!” But still, being able to talk to Kendall Jenner and then Elon Musk in the space of a few seconds in a sublime museum… I don’t see where else you can experience that.
“I am recognized everywhere. And I have to admit, the older I get, the more I like it” Jimmy Fallon
You parodied Emmanuel Macron in one of your sketches. What fascinates you so much about our president?
J.F. I wanted to do an imitation of him in relation to this famous very sexy photo on which he has his shirt open. They had found me a wig, but I looked like anything but Macron! And I have a lot less chest hair than him… So I created a caricature character, with a rubber bread stick – we don’t have real ones here – and a bottle of wine. It was rather embarrassing, but it amused me. He has something of the order of seduction. I’m sure he would be great on one of my shows.
CC Talking politics in entertainment is very Anglo-Saxon. We don’t do it much, even if, at Jimmy, it always remains in a light tone. Besides, since there is his photo and a menu with his name in all the restaurants in New York, I’m sure he would be elected mayor hands down.