The Tonight Show host is calling for the challenge to lift spirits during the coronavirus quarantine.

By Alison Fox
March 20, 2020
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All life needs is a little more cowbell.

We’re pretty sure that’s what Will Ferrell' Saturday Night Live character would say, at least. And at a time when the coronavirus dominates our headlines and dictates our day-to-day lives, fellow SNL alum and late night host Jimmy Fallon is calling on the world to turn to that all-important cowbell and “make some noise.”

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“I think I might start a thing by the way… it’s the Cowbell Challenge,” Fallon said during an interview on the Today show on Thursday morning, and called on everyone in the country to gather on Friday at 3 p.m. EST to show coronavirus who’s boss.

“I want everyone to get out your cowbell, get out a pot and pan… open a window, open a door — if you have a balcony, good for you — let's go, let’s make some noise,” he said. “Tell this virus to get away from us, we don’t want you.”

"I'm ready," chimed in Today host Hoda Kotb from the New York studio, banging a highlighter against her metal water bottle. Fellow host Savannah Guthrie, who was broadcasting from her basement, also joined in. 

Fallon said the challenge was inspired by the  beautiful videos of Italians singing together from their homes while in quarantine there.

“The show must go on’ is kind of a thing we learned back when I did SNL,” he recalled. “I was thinking back to probably the last time I felt like this was probably 9/11… and I looked to my late night hosts — Jay Leno and Conan O'Brien and David Letterman — to see what they [were] doing, I was so happy they were there for me. And I remember Letterman saying that it’s a time right now to be courageous and he said 'sometimes pretending to be courageous is just as good.' And my wife reminded me of that quote.”

"I have to do something," Fallon added.

Incidentally, his wife, Nancy, is currently acting as the camera operator while writers and producers are helping from afar.

“Everyone wants to help, everyone wants to do something even if it’s two minutes of calm and some type of normalcy, I think it’s good for everyone,” he added.

So far, "The Tonight Show: At Home Edition," which airs on YouTube, has featured his kids as well as celebrity guests who video conference in like Jennifer Garner and Lin-Manuel Miranda. And Fallon’s opening monologue is still getting a laugh — albeit from a laugh track he presses after every joke.

As to why Fallon is referring to this feel-good challenge as the 'Cowbell Challenge,' see below: