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See Paul Shaffer Make One-Night-Only Return to Late-Night on ‘Fallon’

Longtime Late Show bandleader and his World’s Most Dangerous Band accompanied Jimmy Fallon on genre-shifting rendition of Harry Styles’ “As It Was”

Paul Shaffer made his one-night-only return to late-night Friday as he sat in for the Roots on The Tonight Show.

“It’s such a coincidence we’re here tonight because 41 years ago this very week was when David Letterman came on the air right across the hall here at NBC… so this is like our 41st anniversary,” Shaffer told host Jimmy Fallon.

The former longtime Late Show bandleader and his World’s Most Dangerous Band subbed in for Questlove and company so the Roots could attend Sunday’s Grammy Awards in Los Angeles. “So thanks to you, I have reunited the entire band from the Letterman show, and we’re all here,” Shaffer added.

Shaffer discussed his long history with Letterman and 30 Rock, and how he first declined Letterman’s overture to serve as musical director of the host’s then-NBC morning show. When Letterman moved to late-night, Shaffer accompanied him.

Shaffer and the World’s Most Dangerous Band later showcased their still-sharp musical chops by helping Fallon perform Harry Styles’ “As It Was” in a variety of genres and singers, like David Bowie and Bob Dylan:


“Paul Shaffer is one of the most important musical figures in late night history,” Fallon previously told Rolling Stone. “From SNL to Letterman, he’s done it all. I’m beyond honored and excited that they’re getting the band back together.”

The idea to bring Shaffer and his band back to NBC for the night surfaced over the past couple of weeks. “What a lovely gesture on Jimmy’s part,” Shaffer told Rolling Stone. “Questlove has always been so nice about mentioning my work with Letterman to me. He and the guys have gone ahead and blasted it into the 21st century.”

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