The Tonight Show with Jimmy and Cherri
By Maisha Nabila
Gorillaz is a virtual band consisting of four cartoon characters created by Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett. Their albums have a backdrop of the character’s personal “lives,” which are often ridiculous, violent, and as cartoonish as the band itself. This “interview” is a tribute to Gorillaz’s nonsensical ingenuity.
Jimmy Fallon: There have been a lot of stars rising from Gotham City these days, and our first guest tonight is one of them. Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome… Cherri!
(audience cheers. A young woman with red hair in pigtails steps onto the stage.) Cherri: Hey everyone!
Jimmy: So Cherri, last month you released your debut album and within a week your single, “Cherribomb,” climbed to the top 10 on the charts.
Cherri: Yeah. It’s exciting, but…also kinda disappointing, too.
Cherri: Yeah. I don’t think “Cherribomb” is the best song in the album. My favorite is “Iron Bars,” but I don’t think people like it! Like, I went on Spotify and, you know the little bars next to the song?
Jimmy: Yeah, the ones that show you the song’s popularity.
Cherri: Yeah, those. “Cherribomb” has full bars, obviously, but “Iron Bars” only has like, two or something. That’s kinda unfortunate given the story behind the song. Can I share it?
Jimmy: Um…we did agree on a script, but we don’t have to stick by it 100%.
Cherri: Cool, cuz I don’t wanna talk about “Cherribomb.”
(muttering from audience)
Cherri: So, as many of you know, I finished my jail time recently for an assassination attempt at the President of Mexico.
Jimmy: Ah yes, that got us a lotta backlash for having you here. (nervous laughter)
Cherri: Please, don’t tell me that after years of hosting this show, now you care about the haters.
Jimmy: No, but—
Cherri: This wouldn’t be the first time you interviewed a supervillain on this show.
Jimmy: Well I’m not sure how much of a supervillian the Joker was—
Cherri: Woah, woah, so you’re endorsing the Joker but not—
Jimmy: I’m not saying the Joker isn’t a villain. I’m just saying he’s not a super one. You can mind control seagulls. He can’t do anything. Joker is just like Batman. He can’t do anything by himself, so he’s a hero but not a superhero.
(audience mutters angrily)
Jimmy: We are getting incredibly off-track here. You were saying…?
Cherri: Yeah, yeah. So I got thrown in that nasty-ass jail cell where the tastiest thing they would offer me was the toothpaste. And guess who was running the prison!
Jimmy: Murdoc Niccals.
Cherri: No, Murdoc Niccals! I was baffled, but then it hit me. Obviously Murdoc was running the prison, it’s the type of thing someone who tricked the devil would manage to do! He was locked up himself, you know.
Jimmy: But…how would that happen?
Cherri: Sometimes it’s best not to ask? Anyway, he told me that if I could, and I quote, “Entertain him in this abysmal human bird cage,” then he’d lemme go.
Jimmy (shifts in his chair): So you… entertained him?
Cherri: Yes, with the miniature keyboard I keep in my pocket.
Jimmy: Oh, I—nevermind.
Cherri: I played something that sounded fun, made you want to get up and mutiny. He was so impressed that he got knocked unconscious by my unbridled talent. Although…that may have been the guard who hit him over the head with a shovel.
Cherri: Apparently, after Murdoc overthrew the old authority, some dissenters were there? Anyway, while the guard was distracted by Murdoc, I threw my keyboard at his head and knocked him out. I played varsity softball in college, so I had a lotta training in using small objects as weapons. So, what I did—this is what I did.
Jimmy: (leans in)
Cherri: I dragged Murdoc in my direction, unhooked the keys from his belt and opened the cell door. I got him outside with me, where I called an Uber.
Jimmy: That’s crazy. How did you feel?
Cherri: Oh I don’t know…
Jimmy: You don’t know!
Cherri: Well I know but like…I feel like I should have been overwhelmed by some, some euphoric freedom, but the thing I played for Murdoc just kept pinging around my head like the DVD logo.
Cherri: So when I got us two quaint motel rooms, I pulled out my phone and, using Garageband, added to the keyboard rendition I played for Murdoc. I’ve always been influenced by Gorillaz’s music, their mixing of an ever-changing, experimental style with that signature, drawling funk. I wanted “Iron Bars” to be a tribute to that. And when Murdoc woke up and heard the music, he barged in and insisted on playing bass.
Jimmy: Where’d he get the bass?
Cherri: I have no idea. Sometimes it’s best not to ask.
Maisha Nabila is a class of 2020 Girls Write Now mentee based in Queens, NY.