Bram Gonshor’s reaction to meeting Jimmy Fallon for the first time was probably the same as it would be for any fan of the comedian turned talk-show host – nervous and maybe a little bit star struck.
Gonshor, 22, admits he watched Fallon on Saturday Night Live for years and then on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, when the show debuted in 2009.
As the music intern for Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, Gonshor spent the past four months working with one of his childhood idols.
He recalled the surreal moment when he met Fallon during a rehearsal for a game-show bit that often airs on the show.
“All of a sudden its rehearsal time, and he comes in and says, ‘What’s your name and where are you from?’… Someone I’ve watched on TV for so many years is just there right beside me, and it was such a bizarre moment.”
Gonshor’s role as a music intern included anything from standing in during rehearsals and preparing contracts for bands that appear on the show to working closely with the music co-ordinator on the set doing sound checks.
It’s not exactly a glamorous job, but Gonshor says people’s eyes open a little wider when he tells them where he’s been working.
The Toronto native knows opportunities like that don’t come often, so he hasn’t taken any part of the experience for granted.
The recent Ryerson University grad spent the last four years studying radio and television arts, and he’s always wanted to find a way to mix his love for television and music into a career.
“I’ve had these two ideas in my head – you can go into television [or] you can go into music,” he said.
He said at Ryerson he was taught that you couldn’t really do both at the same time. But one night, as Gonshor was surfing the Internet, he came across a band that had appeared on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.
“I said to myself, ‘Someone must book these bands that come on the late-night shows.’ So I started looking around at who books the music for Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, and I found this guy named Jonathan Cohen who is the music booker for the show.”
Gonshor said he Googled Cohen’s name, found his e-mail address and sent him a note saying he was interested in interning for the show.
“I heard back from him a month later, and he said he had forwarded my e-mail to the internship co-ordinator. I kept in touch with him for about a year, applied for the internship in November and here I am now.”
As a music buff, Gonshor says the entire experience has been invaluable and is something he’ll always remember. About two months ago, the show had a Bruce Springsteen week, which included performances from Springsteen himself, as well as other artists doing covers of his songs.
At the end of the week, Springsteen came back on the show to do a finale performance with The Roots, the show’s in-house band.
“You know they call [Springsteen] the boss, but I actually got to see him be the boss,” Gonshor boasted.
“When they were rehearsing [for that finale performance], he was telling the band… ‘This is what we’re doing and I’m going to jump off the stage at this time, and then we’re all going to move here, and then the crowds are going to come down,’ and if you watched the performance, that’s exactly what happened.
“It was really a spontaneous moment that I got to witness, and it was one of the best music performances in television history I’d say.”
Gonshor, who headed back home to Toronto earlier this month, said he’s hoping to use some of the contacts he’s made to find a job where he can again combine his love for television and music.
Reflecting on the entire experience, he now laughs about the nerves he was feeling the first time he met Fallon during the game-show rehearsal.
Though he has never had the chance to sit down and have a one-on-one conversation with Fallon, Gonshor says he was always “super nice” and made sure to say ‘hello’ if he passed you in the hallways.
“He’s just another employee [to me] now. You can’t really think of him as a celebrity. If you’re star struck all the time, you can’t really do your job.”