Justin Timberlake spent four years recording upcoming Everything I Thought It Was album, so it’s no surprise that the “Selfish” singer had some energy to spare when he jumped on the couch on Thursday night’s (Jan. 25) Tonight Show. From his sprinting up to the cheap seats rumba line entrance with old pal host Jimmy Fallon, to a greatest hits run classroom instruments bit, Timberlake seemed eager to kick off his EITIW era after several years of being mostly off the radar.
Introducing JT at the top of the show, Fallon went on an extended news-inspired riff in the opening monologue ticking off just how close the pair are. “He is the Taylor to my Travis,” Fallon joked. “He’s the missing bolt to my Boeing plane… He’s the recall to my exploding Tesla… Yeah, he and I are besties. We got together like a soccer mom and a Stanley tumbler… That’s right, we’re quite a team. Think of us like Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, but with chemistry… I’m so glad he’s here. Last week when it slowed a little in New York, I looked at the grass and I saw those frosted tips and I thought, ‘I should call Justin.’”
The pair then crammed into the Tonight Show schoolroom for a round of Classroom Instruments, with the Roots gathered around as Timberlake struck a triangle to kick off a funky, unplugged version of his just-released new single, “Selfish.” They only got a verse in, though, before diving into a quick-hit run through JT’s solo catalog of hits, pivoting to a snippet of hip-swiveling “Señorita,” before jumping into “SexyBack,” “My Love,” “Suit & Tie,” “Rock Your Body,” and a raucous “Can’t Stop the Feeling.”
Timberlake, 42, made a proper entrance by roping Fallon into doing a dance up the steps into the audience and then busting some disco moves before hoofing it back down to the stage and declaring himself “exhausted.” Fallon said he’d never seen anyone work harder on anything than Timberlake did on EITIW, describing Timberlake’s work ethic in the studio, while Justin copped to how strange it was to be explaining the new album’s origin to Jimmy, with whom he said he’s already discussed it ad nauseam in private.
“I feel like we’ve already had this conversation, but we have to have it so you guys can hear the story,” Timberlake said, of the difficulty of recording during the pandemic, having his second son, Phinneas, with wife Jessica Biel, and tracking 100 songs over different runs across several years. In describing the sound, Timberlake suggested that the Tonight Show should have a spin-off called Jimmy Fallon Listens to Your Album.
Timberlake then described what a kick he got out of watching Fallon listening to the album. “What was I doing?” Fallon asked in perfect rehearsed confusion. “A lot,” Timberlake laughed, as Jimmy described himself as totally “cool” and “chillin’ out” in the studio. Justin then proceeded to jump on the couch and channel Fallon by shouting “what is this song?!” “OH! What?!,” “OH My GOD!” before busting out some goofy dance moves.
JT also revealed the upcoming Forget Tomorrow World tour, which kicks off April 29th in Vancouver, with stops in Seattle, Phoenix, Fort Worth, Raleigh, Miami and New York, with dates and venues to announced soon.
The segment ended with Fallon recalling an unlikely bunker shot he nailed while playing at Timberlake’s 8AM Golf Invitational tournament last year, where the friends were paired with Kansas City Chiefs dynamic duo Travis Kelce and QB Patrick Mahomes. Jimmy described Timberlake giving him some meticulous swing advice, before cueing up the video of Fallon sinking the shot and getting lifted up into the air by an overjoyed Kelce.
It got better, though. In an extended view of the special moment, after Timberlake sprinted around in circles, he made his way over to congratulate the two and Justin said that was nearly the end of him. “Travis Kelce almost… I saw my life flash before my eyes,” Timberlake said of his abject fear when jumping up to do a hip bump with the 250-pound NFL tight end.
“I was like, ‘he’s doing it! I have to do it!,’” Timberlake recalled thinking, forgetting that the professional baller has about 80 pounds on him. As the tape kept rolling, it showed Kelce hip-checking Timberlake flat onto his sexy back on the green.
Timberlake will be back as the musical guest on Saturday Night Live this weekend and will play a free show at 1,100-capacity Irving Plaza in New York on Jan. 31.
Watch Timberlake on The Tonight Show below.