Barbra Streisand was in for a surprise when she made her first appearance on The Tonight Show in 50 years last night. She, of course, is plugging her new album, Partners — because Tony Bennett already has dibs on Duets — in which she sings standards with well-known music stars including Michael Buble, Blake Shelton and, through the miracle of modern technology, Elvis Presley. Fallon stood in for all three, mistaking it for a comedy bit — at one point she told him not to touch her.
Then Fallon directed Babs to sit in his chair behind the desk, and he sat on the couch because, “Let’s be honest, you’re never coming back here” — setting up another comedy bit. When she tried to play along, asking him about his life, Fallon pretended to be Babs and began prattling on happily about life with James Brolin. “You don’t have to pretend you’re me,” she schooled him, noting his hair color was all wrong and said, in re his singing, he should not give up his night job. Babs said she and her husband watch him all the time and think he’s doing a great job hosting Tonight. Fallon, in turn, began to praise her voice — said it sounded like she had a speaker in her chest. “It’s powerful. Like a vibration. Like a sonic beam,” he raved. The chat also was notable for how many times Fallon interrupted Babs, which takes some kind of nerve but is known to Fallon fans as part of his Newfoundland puppy interview-style charm.
Then, no doubt with the best of intentions, Fallon began to rave that Babs actually had shown up on time, was polite to his crew and generally nice to everyone. “What have you done with Barbra Streisand?” he asked. Resisting the urge to clonk him over the head with a blunt object, Babs said she’s not a diva, rather a simple woman who likes to stay at home and take short trips in her husband’s truck. She said she doesn’t ride horses, as Fallon had suggested — interrupting her again — because she’s very allergic to them. She is, however, not afraid of clowns — Fallon asked.
Babs explained why did did not perform live for nearly three decades. She said she was going to sing “Come Rain Or Come Shine”, which she sings with John Mayer on the album, out today. She praised Mayer’s voice, performance style and guitar playing. “Are you talking about me? That’s so thoughtful!” Fallon gushed clunkily.